Remington getting ready for opening

Saturday, November 5th 2005, 12:14 pm

By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Reporters in hardhats mixed with construction workers Friday as Remington Park rolled out its first casino games as part of a $35 million makeover at the Oklahoma City track.

As masons laid cut stone on massive columns, other workers placed the facility's first four gaming machines _ three ``Wild Dolphins'' and one ``Twin Win'' _ onto platforms. They are part of 650 machines expected to be in operation when the casino opens in late November.

``It's going to be awesome,'' said Brenda Sanchez, general manager of the racino, located on the 76,000-square-foot second floor of the pari-mutuel race track near Interstate 35 and Interstate 44 in northeast Oklahoma City.

She said Magna Entertainment Corp. is sparing no expense in building the gaming area, located in the former grandstand area. It will include dining facilities, an elevated stage and other entertainment amenities.

``I know when people walk in, their mouths are going to drop open when they see how beautiful it is,'' Sanchez said.

The gaming devices include video poker and several high-stakes games, she said.

Scott Wells, general manager at Remington Park, said horsemen are excited about the opening. He said racinos have been a savior to race tracks that have fallen on hard economic times in several states and countries.

Part of the profits from the gaming machines will go into building purses to improve racing at the track. Under a state question approved by voters last November, education will also benefit from the extra gaming.

Wells, who formerly headed race tracks in New Mexico and Uruguay, returned to Oklahoma City in March after 10 years working elsewhere in the racing industry. He said he could not believe the changes that have taken place, with developments such as Bricktown.

The new Remington Park casino is located in the ``Adventure District'' that includes the Oklahoma City Zoo, the Omniplex and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, he said.

Remington and three other race tracks were authorized by voters last year to have gaming devices similar to ones operated at about 80 Indian casinos around the state.

Wells said he was not worried about over saturation of gaming dollars. He said admission at Remington will be free and people can take part in gaming at the casino for no more than the price of going to a movie, when concession costs are considered.

He said horse racing will continue to be the feature event at the track.

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