Commission OK's live horse racing at Fair Meadows for 2013
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Monday, December 17, 2012
12/17/12 at 5:17 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission on Monday voted unanimously to permit live horse races at Fair Meadows in 2013.
Earlier this year, Fair Meadows declined to sign the licenses required to run the live races in anticipation of a naming rights agreement with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
The Horse Racing Commission on Monday agreed to accept the signed licenses after the commission’s deadline for returning them.
Fair Meadows Racing Director Ron Shotts said Fair Meadows would “absolutley” have a live horse racing meeting in 2013. The races are typically run over 34 days in June, July and August.
Last week, the fair board rescinded the naming rights deal after learning that Shotts had signed contracts with the state’s quarter horse and thoroughbred associations promising to hold live races in 2013.
“We are very pleased that the commission was able to take such prompt action on the 2013 license,” Debbie Schauf, executive director of the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association. "Now we are cautiously optimistic the fair will work with us to produce the best meet we can have.”
The fair board’s naming rights agreement with the Creek Nation outraged horsemen across the state, who said it would devastate their industry.
As part of its agreement with the state to hold live races at Fair Meadows, the track received $2 million a year from local Indian tribes in lieu of having gaming machines.
Fair Meadows was required to run 400 live races a year to receive the money.
The agreement also provides $5 million to $8 million a year to the horsemen’s purses at racetracks across the state.
The naming rights deal called into question whether tribes would continue to have to pay into that fund.
Horses round the curve at the Fair Meadows racetrack back in June 2011. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World File