Tulsa fair board defers action on naming rights; Horse racing may return in 2013
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
12/12/12 at 5:25 PM
The Tulsa County fair board on Wednesday deferred action on a new naming rights agreement with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and took steps to return live horse racing to Fair Meadows racetrack in 2013.
After rescinding its previous two votes approving naming rights agreements with the tribe — which included provisions ending live horse horse racing at the racetrack — the board deferred a decision on a new agreement at the request of Creek Nation principal chief George Tiger.
According to the proposed three-year naming rights agreement, the Creek Nation would pay the fairgrounds $140,000 a year — or one-tenth of what the fairgrounds was to receive under its original agreement with the tribe.
The $11,666 a month payment is substantially less than the $20,000 a month Expo Square was receiving from QuikTrip prior to making a deal with the Creek Nation.
The Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission earlier this year approved two licenses allowing Fair Meadows to hold live races in 2013.
However, Fair Meadows did not sign and return the documents.
On Wednesday, the fair board voted to sign the licenses and provide them to the commission.
"We will be having a special meeting next Monday, the 17th (of December) at 3 p.m. to accept the signed licenses under the 10-day window they issued under," Becky Goumaz, chairwoman of the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission, said after the meeting.
Goumaz said she was very confident the signed licenses would be accepted by the commission.
Wednesday's special meeting was called after the board learned that Fair Meadows officials had signed agreements with the state's two largest horsemen's associations stating that the racetrack would hold live races in 2013.
County Commissioner and fair board Chairman Fred Perry has said previously that fair board trustees did not know that Fair Meadows had signed agreements with the horsemen until a public hearing on the issue held last week.
In this 2011 file photo, jockey Curtis Kimes races at Fair Meadows. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World File