Live racing returns to Will Rogers Downs

More than 270 races will be featured in the 2021 Spring Thoroughbred meet at Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs from March 22 to May 26. 

CLAREMORE – For the 12th consecutive year, top thoroughbred contenders will compete at Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs for the lead position in more than 270 races scheduled between March 22 and May 26.

Those 270 races include eight stakes races with six exclusively for Accredited Oklahoma-Breds. Races begin at 1 p.m.

“As one of only a few tracks running last spring, we are now very rehearsed in conducting a safe race meet under pandemic restrictions and CDC guidelines,” said John Lies, WRD racing secretary, announcer and oddsmaker. “We broke new ground with the extended audience we reached last spring and look forward to keeping their attention with another exciting meet.” 

Stakes races begin April 12 with the $50,000 guaranteed Wilma Mankiller Stakes, followed by the $50,000 guaranteed Highland Ice Stakes on April 13. A purse of $55,000 is also guaranteed for the Miranda Diane Stakes on May 3, the TRAO Classic Sprint on May 4, the Cinema Stakes on May 24, and the Will Rogers Stakes on May 25.

Closing out the spring meet stakes races on May 26 are the More Than Even Stakes and the Cherokee Nation Classic Cup. Both races carry a purse of $55,000 guaranteed.

“We worked with the Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma to adjust purses and to create the most competitive racing program possible,” Lies said. “Our hope is that the heightened class levels help us retain the stronger collection of shippers we enjoyed last year, while also providing richer opportunities for the local stock.” 

Cherokee Casino WRD is located 3 miles east of Claremore on Highway 20. For information, visit or call (918) 283-8800.