Thoroughbred trainers have begun official workouts and pumping up the grain to have their spring prospects ready for the upcoming Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs meet that begins Monday.
The Thoroughbred spring meet runs through May 17. Races begin at 12:30 p.m. every Monday, Tuesday and Saturday. Each day features 10 races.
“Saturdays will be busy with the live crowd coming to watch our races, as well as the simulcast of the Kentucky Derby prep races,” said Jesse Ullery, racing secretary for Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs. “This is the first time in two years we haven’t held races on Wednesdays, which have been successful simulcast days for us, but I think the trade will be worth it.”
During the spring of 2013, a record $23.3 million was wagered on live racing at the Downs, which was an increase of $1.75 million year-over-year.
Will Rogers Downs, which is in its eighth year of operation, had six days surpass $1 million in wagering during the 2013 spring meet.
Stakes races begin March 24 and 25 with the running of the Wilma Mankiller Memorial and the eighth running of the Clem McSpadden Memorial Route 66. April 14 and 15 feature the sixth running of the Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs Classic Distaff Sprint and the second running of the TRAO Classic Sprint.
“We’ve revamped our stakes race calendar this year,” said Ullery. “The Wilma Mankiller and Clem McSpadden races have been moved up to March. This assures they are after the major stakes races at Sam Houston and before Lone Star Park, which will draw the competitors we’d like and offer higher quality fields to those events.”
The third running of the Oklahoma Stallion Colts and Geldings Division Stakes and the Oklahoma Stallion Fillies Division Stakes run on May 3. Closing out the spring meet on May 12 and May 13 are the third annual RPDC Classic Distaff and the third annual Cherokee Nation Classic Cup. All stakes races carry a purse of at least $50,000 guaranteed.
Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs is located three miles east of Claremore on Highway 20. For more information, visit www.cherokeecasino.com or call 918-283-8800.