American Quarter horses return Sept. 9 to WRD

08/24/2017 04:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Horsemen prepare barns full of equine athletes as American Quarter Horse Association racing returns Sept. 9 to the Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, Oklahoma. COURTESY
CLAREMORE, Okla. – The stables are filling up once again with the stocky build of some of the top American Quarter Horse competitors as fall racing returns Sept. 9 to Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs.

The horses are set to contend for the lead position in high-paying races to be held on the grounds.
The 2017 WRD racing schedule features 28 AQHA, Appaloosa and Paint stakes races through Nov. 12.

Races post at noon every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with each day featuring 12 races.

“Will Rogers Downs put on an excellent meet for Quarter Horses, Paints and Appaloosas last year, and we only hope to grow that in 2017,” John Lies, WRD racing secretary, announcer and oddsmaker, said.

Seventeen stakes races worth more than $650,000 are included in the program, a significant increase from the 2016 Quarter Horse racing season in added Oklahoma-bred purse money for all overnight races.

“Rick Robinson was a standout in the trainers division last fall and is back in full force with a large stable,” Lies said. “Other top barns such as Clint Crawford and Dee Keener will help make this another competitive season, one we hope to continue developing into one of the top Quarter Horse and Mixed race meets in the country.”

The Black Gold 350 Championship Futurity Trials on opening day features the top 2-year-old Quarter Horses in the country going 350 yards. The 10 fastest qualifiers will then compete in the futurity finals on Sept. 24, guaranteeing an added $133,500.

The following day the third annual Miss Ellen Stakes offers a 350-yard race for fillies and mares 3 years old and up and guarantees $18,000 in the purse. Nov. 4 showcases the Jerry Jaggars Memorial for 3 year olds and up, competing at 350 yards for the $35,000 prize.

“The Black Gold nominations are deeper than last year and set us up for a strong night of trials right from the start,” said Lies. “We also shifted the dates of a couple stakes races to help create our best overall racing program.”

On the final day of racing, racing fans can enjoy the $133,500 Black Gold 440 Championship Futurity Finals along with the Oklahoma Horsemen’s Association Mystery Derby Finals, worth $25,000, and the $75,000 Oklahoma Horsemen’s Association Mystery Futurity Restricted Grade III.

Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs is located 3 miles east of Claremore on Highway 20. For more information, visit and click on the WRD tab, or call 918-283-8800.


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