Will Rogers Downs opens as a 'racino'

Friday, December 9th 2005, 10:20 am
By: News On 6

They're off and running at the state's latest racino near Claremore. A racino, in case you don't know, is a combination horserace track and casino.

News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg visited Will Rogers Downs just outside of Claremore Friday morning.

If you were ever been to Will Rogers Downs before, you wouldn't believe this is the same place. They totally gutted the building and made $2-million worth of renovations.

Some of the features include a gaming floor with 250 slot machines. The simulcast rooms feature row after row of big TV monitors. There's a dance floor and a bar and restaurant.

They've also made extensive renovations to the racing track itself, as well as improvements to the barns and training areas.

They expect some quality racing here too. They say it's all about money when it comes to attracting the best horses and they say the purses here will be better than anything in the region, including Arkansas and Texas. Joe Lucas with the Oklahoma Thoroughbred Racing Association: "With the gaming revenue, added in to the pari-mutuel wagering, hopefully we can build a circuit where we can stay home and hopefully not live out of suitcase half the year."

With four tracks in Oklahoma, the horse racers say they can create a true Oklahoma circuit and not have to travel around the country as much.