Casino brings hope for future - Wednesday 30th of November 2005

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Normally many folks at Remington Park would be packing up, shipping out and planning their holidays. Today is the final day of the fall thoroughbred season, but it’s really only the beginning of a new Remington Park, General Manager Scott Wells said.

The grandstand will not go dark, as it normally does when a season concludes. Plenty of action remains, thanks mainly to the addition of the $35 million casino which opened Nov. 21.

“We’re definitely ending 2005 on an upsurge virtually in all departments,? Wells said. “It was improving even before the casino opening. We had already seen some increases in attendance and mutuel handle.?

Remington will host a grand opening for the casino at 10 a.m. today, and the final racing program of the season will begin at 6:30 p.m.

“Well have 12 races, with 12 horses in every race,? Wells said. “I cant remember ever seeing that at any racetrack.?

Horsemens purses will surge in 2006, Wells said: “Its hard to predict because purse projections are hypothetical, but I believe wed be very successful if we had $100,000 in purses per day for quarter horses and $200,000 per day for thoroughbreds.?

High purses draw better racing, he said. “We will have some very successful outfits here.?

Remington owes its future to voters who gave their approval for alternative gaming. And lately it hasnt been business as usual for Remington – its been better.

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“Until people actually see something in operation, there will be some naysayers,? Wells said. “What weve created here is a fabulous, multifaceted facility of the highest level.?

Remingtons final attendance and mutuel handle numbers for this season will not be released until after the season concludes.

Wells said Remington and parent company Magna Entertainment Corp. are happy to continue to be part of the sports and entertainment scene in Oklahoma City.

“I was gone from Oklahoma City for a few years and Ive come back to see it surging as a sporting city,? Wells said. “Its about as diversified a city as you can find on the map right now. Its a sport fans dream, and from our end, well make it even better. Some big-time trainers and jockeys will be coming back to us and this bodes well for the city.?

Remington is scheduled to have 118 racing days in 2006. The Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission gave the track preliminary approval for a 50-day quarter horse mixed season from March 10 to June 4 and a 68-day thoroughbred session from Aug. 4 to Nov. 28.

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