Racino to host 58 live racing dates spanning six months
CLAREMORE, Okla. – A busy year is ahead for Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs as it prepares to run not one, but two racing meets spanning six months for a total of 58 live racing dates.
The 2010 season kicks off March 20. Traditionally, Will Rogers Downs has featured live racing only in the spring, but this year the racino expands its racing schedule to include a fall meet. The racing meets are scheduled for March – May and September – November.
“We’ve been hearing a lot of great feedback from horsemen all over the region. So far, we’ve received applications for 1,200 horses for 506 stalls,” said track operations manager Kelly Cathey.
“It takes a lot of hard work from our staff and a lot of support from the communities, but Will Rogers Downs is making a name for itself. We’re really excited about 2010.”
The spring thoroughbred meet originally was announced to begin March 6, but the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission recently granted a request by Will Rogers Downs to push back the start date to later in the month. The request was made to allow horses to become better fit for the start of racing season after inclement weather cut the amount of training days in half.
“Not being able to train as much could be a safety issue for the horses. We want fit horses and full and competitive fields,” said Cathey.
In addition to racing every Saturday, Monday and Tuesday beginning March 20 through May 18, Will Rogers Downs will add four Wednesday race days on April 14, 21 and 28 and May 5 to maintain the 32-day schedule. The racino will still host the special Mother’s Day race day on May 9.
Mark your calendars and begin making plans for two Saturdays in May.
Derby Day returns to the track on May 1. While a lot of attention will be paid to the 136th Running of the Roses, the Downs features two heart-pounding live stakes races that will create a buzz in the grandstands, as both the Clem McSpadden Route 66 Memorial Stakes and the Wilma Mankiller Stakes return for the third year.
To conclude the spring meet, the track will host the third running of both the Oklahoma Thoroughbred Association Classic and the Will Rogers Downs Classic on May 15, when the racino will also feature the live simulcast of the Preakness.
While final details are still being made on the 25 fall dates, it is official the Claremore track’s second meet will be comprised of appaloosa, paint and quarter horse races. The additional season starts Sept. 4 and concludes on Nov. 14. The fall races will run every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“Each year it seems like our relationship with Claremore and the area communities continues to grow, and with that support, we’re able to grow and provide more live racing. Those dates bring hundreds more horsemen and fans to the communities, which is beneficial for all of us,” Cathey said.
Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs is located three miles east of Claremore on Highway 20. For more information, visit www.cherokeestarrewards.com and click on the Will Rogers Downs tab, or call (918) 283-8800.