State Menu

Pari-Mutual wagering didn't become legal in Oklahoma until 1982, making it one of the last States in Union to legalize such wagering. It might have been one of the last, but it didn't take long for Oklahoma to realize the value of the gambling dollar.

The first track to open was Blue Ribbon Downs, in Sallisaw in 1984. This was a logical choice as the track there had existed as a non betting site for years. Blue Ribbon Downs was also the first track to open a casino in 2005, but it's biggest claim to infamy is the fact that it is the only racino, or at least the first to go out of business. This may not sound true, at least not yet, but if you drive through Oklahoma you'll find that wherever two major roads intersect, there's a casino. One of which is in Sallisaw about eight miles from the track.  

In 1987 a second track, Will Rogers Downs opened in Claremore. Before casino gaming was legalized the track went out of business in 2001. In 2004 the track was purchased by the Cherokee Nation when it was approved for gaming. The track was remodeled and live    racing returned in 2006.

Oklahoma Racing went major league when Edward J. DeBartolo, built a multi level, state of the art plant in Oklahoma City. Remington Park named for Frederic Remington, a painter, sculptor and writer of the old west. Right out of the gate, Remington Park started off with The Remington Park Derby, which is now the Oklahoma Derby, with a purse value of $150,000. Remington Park also added casino wagering in 2005.

The last track to debut in Oklahoma was Fair Meadows in 1989. Run at the fairgrounds in Tulsa, it does not have a racino format. Although Fair Meadows may be the newest, it could be the one in the most danger of failing.

On May 23,2013, over 150 horses were killed in Moore, Oklahoma by the devastating tornado that touched down in that area.

The glory day's of racing in Oklahoma, are long gone. Back in the late eighty's before racing was again legal in Texas, or even in the nineties before the casinos crept in, racing in Oklahoma was a vibrant industry. Like most tracks with casino's the purses are still good, even better than before but how long can you play to an empty house.