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28 days of racing concludes at Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs

8 December 2015

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Another successful fall quarter-horse race season has come to a close at Cherokee Casino - Will Rogers Downs.

The 2015 AQHA racing season has concluded for the sixth consecutive year.

The 28-day meet, featuring AQHA, Appaloosa and Paint stakes races, ran from Sept. 12 through Nov. 14. Each race day offered more than $100,000 in purses, with 12 races running per day.
Cherokee Casino - Will Rogers Downs saw increases both on and off the track this year. This year, $22.3 million was wagered during the fall and spring meets.

“I think part of the reason for the increase was that our average field size was 8.7, up from 8.4 in 2014,” said Jesse Ullery, racing secretary and simulcast manager for Cherokee Casino - Will Rogers Downs. “While that may not seem like a big deal, I believe that is the reason we saw the uptick in handle. Anything we can do to create more betting opportunities for our guests, both on and off track, lead to better payouts. And payouts are exactly what every horse player is after.”

Agustin Silva, from Jones, was the leading rider this year. Silva picked up 49 victories during the year, 14 better than his nearest competitor, Daniel Torres.

The leading trainer this year was Luis Villafranco, of Waupanucka. He won 29 total races. Finishing second was Dee Keener, from Inola, with 19 wins on the season.

There was a draw for 2015 leading owner this year. Brian Muse, of Sallisaw, and Bella Vista Farms, of Arcola, Illinois, both won five races for the year.

Major Mac, who was a perfect 3 for 3 at Will Rogers Downs in 2015, earned Horse of the Meet. Owned and trained by Brian Muse, the 5-year-old gelding earned $17,548 for the meet, capped off by a victory in the Green Country Handicap, a race that he also won in 2014.

“It was really a great meet,” said Ullery. “We had some major players, paid out some big wins and offered the most exciting horse racing entertainment in the region to our guests. Our goal for 2016 is to exceed that.”

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