Will Rogers Downs hosts weekend of events surrounding the Kentucky Derby
CLAREMORE, Okla. – Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs is the place to be in Claremore April 30 – May 1.
To put a festive wrap on Destination Claremore week, the racino is bringing in the Billboard chart-topping performers Wade Hayes and Ricochet for two great nights of live entertainment, plus hosting many Derby Day activities to celebrate the simulcast of the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 1.
“We are really proud to be able to participate in Destination Claremore and help bring awareness to the many events and attractions found locally in Claremore. In addition to hosting the benefit dinner with Patti Page on Wednesday night, we are concluding the week with some great live entertainment and our annual Derby Day celebration,” said David Stewart, CEO of Cherokee Nation Entertainment, which operates Cherokee Casinos and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.
On April 30, guests can enjoy the traditional country sound of the ‘90s country music chart-topper Wade Hayes at 10 p.m. Hayes is known for his Top 10 hits, “Old Enough to Know Better,” “On A Good Night” and “The Day That She Left Tulsa (In a Chevy).” Come a little early and catch local performer Nick Gibson at 7 p.m. Both performances are free to attend.
The chart-topping super group Ricochet returns to Will Rogers Downs May 1. Ricochet reached the Top 10 charts on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs with the singles “What Do I Know,” “Love Is Stronger Than Pride” and the No. 1 single, “Daddy's Money.” The group is also among the most requested to perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” across the nation and is the only country music artist to chart the national anthem.
Ricochet will perform at 10 p.m. with local performer Joe Worrel kicking off the night’s free entertainment at 7 p.m.
Stewart said Will Rogers Downs sees one of its biggest crowds for its annual Derby Day, which includes multiple stakes races and the simulcast of the Kentucky Derby. Last year, the annual event brought in nearly 5,000 people.
The Kentucky Derby post time is approximately 5:15 p.m. The day’s events begin at 9 a.m. with Breakfast on the Rail, a handicapping lesson and discussion with track announcer Jesse Ullery. The breakfast buffet is $4.99, and participants will receive a free Derby Day T-shirt while supplies last.
Derby Day is also one of the track’s biggest live race days, hosting two major stakes races. Live racing begins at 1:35 p.m.
Exuberant race fans with the most creative or traditional Derby hat will be awarded with cash prizes in Will Rogers Downs annual Kentucky Derby hat contest. Judging is at 3:30 p.m. The top three winners will receive $300, $200 and $100, respectively. Registration is from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Race fans can also participate in Bet the Derby at the Downs. For a chance to win a $500 wager to bet on their horse of choice in the Kentucky Derby, guests can enter their name in a drawing from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The drawing will take place at 4 p.m.
Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs races every Saturday, Monday and Tuesday until May 18, with an additional race day on Wednesday, April 14. Live racing will resume Sept. 4 – Nov. 14 for the Downs’ first ever fall meet featuring quarter, paint and appaloosa horses. Simulcast racing opens daily at 10 a.m. every day of the year.
Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs is located three miles east of Claremore on Highway 20. For more information, visit www.cherokeestarrewards.com or call (918) 283-8800.