Commission approves order to allow horse racing at Blue Ribbon Downs

Thursday, November 20th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Oklahoma City-AP) -- Horse racing will resume at Blue Ribbon Downs next year.

The Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission approved an emergency order Thursday allowing the Choctaw Nation to offer horse racing at the track in Sallisaw in 2004. The racing dates are yet to be determined, but Sallisaw Mayor Shannon Vann says racing usually starts in February or March.

The track was bought earlier this month by Backstretch LLC, a private company owned by the Choctaw Nation. The purchase was made a day before the track was to be sold in a foreclosure sale.

Assistant Choctaw Nation Chief Mike Bailey says having racing at the track in Sallisaw is connected to every aspect of the community's economy.

State officials estimate the track provides 800 jobs in the Sallisaw are and has a $38-million annual impact on the local economy.