Only seven years after the Southern California Equestrian Center just on the edge of Temecula’s Wine Country was saved from bankruptcy by local businessman Ken Smith, Galway Downs has “jumped” back to its historical roots as an internationally known equestrian event center.
But more than that, with a three-year $9 million investment by SFT Realty, Galway Downs, owned by the Smith family, is a 242-acre equestrian ranch that sparkles with acres of green fields, thousands and thousands of new trees, lily-coated ponds, waving grasses, a small rivulet passing by a rejuvenated barn now called the Carriage House restaurant complete with a bar and picture windows overlooking a grassy oval outdoor entertainment field and many, many other amenities.
This is only the beginning of what is being affectionately called, “Galway Downs, A Legend Reborn,” that announces not only the revival of what made Galway an international favorite for some of the top dressage and hunter-jumper equestrians, but what is has become a multifaceted event facility that will be featuring some of the top recording artists in concert, major sporting events and festivals.
Kicking off “Galway Downs, A Legend Reborn,” are county music legends themselves Clay Walker and LeAnn Rimes who will be arriving soon to put on unforgettable performances. The concert series, “Country at the Downs,” begins Sunday, Aug. 27, with Clay Walker. Then LeAnn Rimes, award winning songwriter and entertainer, will walk onstage set up on Galway’s grassy Polo Field No. 1 on the Track, Sept. 27. Tickets for these performances are going to go fast, Jon Dellaria, Coordinex Worldwide entertainment promoter, said. He has teamed up with Ken Smith for the country music series.
Dellaria has brought major entertainers to Temecula Wine Country wineries and other events across the nation. He said he is really excited about the new entertainment venue coming to Galway Downs that has the capacity to seat up to 5,000 concert goers comfortably on Polo Field No. 1 on the Track.
“Galway Downs has the potential to become a major venue,” Dellaria said in a telephone interview. “It is one of the biggest outdoor venues we have ever run.”
He said they are already reaching out to other major artists to come to Galway Downs during the year.
Ernest Clayton “Clay” Walker’s performance at Galway Downs is bound to help the country music star continue his rise again to the top of the country music charts since 1993 when he made his debut with the Billboard Hot Country Singles song “What’s it to You.” He hit the charts again in 2010 with his song, “She Won’t Be Lonely Long.” Certain to charm the family-focused Temecula Valley fans will be songs from his 1999 “Live, Laugh, Love” album.
Walker is a multiplatinum country artist with four platinum, two gold albums and 11 No. 1 top singles. This concert is a single one-night west coast concert and not to be missed.
The unforgettable, and always popular country singer and songwriter, Leeann Rimes is a two-time Grammy award winning and multiplatinum selling acclaimed singer and American Society of Composers award-winning songwriter. She will be appearing Sept. 27 at Galway Downs. Rimes, whose given name is Margaret LeAnn Rimes Cibrian, 35, has sold more than 44 million units; released over 40 charted songs, won 12 Billboard Music Awards, two World Music Awards, three Academy of Country Music Awards and countless other awards.
Couples attending the Leann Rimes concert will more than likely walk away with her beautiful long-running hit song “How Do I Live,” still warming their hearts. Then she might sing her latest song from her “Remnants” LP, “Love Is Love Is Love” that bring to mind the question of greater tolerance for each other… a plea going out in today’s tumultuous world.
It will be a night of pleasant surprise and fond memories that only Rimes can bring to song.
Tickets for the first ever “Country at Downs” performances of Clay Walker and LeAnn Rimes are now on sale online at www.galwaydowns.com, Ticketmaster and other major ticket vendors.
The two concerts and other special events planned at Galway Downs provide large parking areas with easy access and regress with its many entrances and exits off Los Corralitos and Pauba Roads off State Route 79. Smith said adding to the country flavor of the entertainment venue will be horse-drawn carriages, a hay wagon and trolley rides to and from the concert areas.
But there’s more
The entertainment venue at Galway Downs continues with the “New Year’s Eve Carnivale” benefit that will bring in the New Year with fun, food and entertainment to be announced. Ken Smith said Galway Downs will continue its sponsorship of charitable events like the One Thousand Cranes Foundation who will receive all the proceeds from the “New Year’s Eve Carnivale,” Dec. 31, 2017.
The One Thousand Cranes Foundation is a philanthropy, volunteerism and grant making foundation with the mission to raise awareness of fundamental problems regarding health, hunger and illness and help to eradicate many different forms of toxic chemicals and pesticides harmful to plants and animals.
Another nonprofit agency helped by Ken Smith and the Galway Downs family is Manzanita Ranch where “horses are the therapy” for helping disabled veterans and those suffering traumatic illness or injury. Their volunteers will be helping with the parking at the special events and have their own special event for veterans and their families, Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
The equestrian facilities
Smith said the new entertainment venue is only a part of the coming “Galway Downs, A Legend Reborn.”
In his ambitious plan for Galway Downs is yet another $6 million investment in improving the equestrian and sports venues now offered at the facility.
The thousands of equestrians and equestrian groups that have used ranch for everything from international events put on by the United States Eventing Association each year to dressage, racing, working horse and hunter-jumper training are already seeing the first phase of the Equestrian Venue plan being completed.
Smith pointed out that many of the facilities 25 meadows ranch houses, 400 permanent stables and 200 temporary stables have been repaired or are under repair. New water lines have been installed with thousands of trees from spruce to magnolias planted, and the ponds improved. The old jockeys’ paddock has been converted and improved for special parties and events.
The one-mile race track and 5/8-mile training track has been improved and re-landscaped. The large polo field can be used for concerts, special community events, corporate events and weddings. For the equestrians, Galway Downs has 14 different arenas for training and competitions. The jumping fences and other competitive race obstacles are being upgraded along with the clocking and timing equipment.
Overseeing the needed improvements and the planning of the equestrian venues is Robert Kellerhouse, Galway Downs’ longtime equestrian facility manager who knows well the needs of horseman and their four-legged charges.
There are many plans and ideas coming through Smith’s “Galway Downs, A Legend Reborn.” Look for more on the rebirth and hope of Temecula’s own Galway Downs in coming editions of the Valley News and interviews with the Galway Downs team.