CLAREMORE, OK – The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) has once again filled the stables as fall racing returned to Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs this week.
The 2022 Will Rogers Downs racing schedule features 27 AQHA, Appaloosa and Paint stakes races through Nov. 15, worth a total of $660,000.
“Our hair testing program requires every horse to provide a negative hair test prior to entry into any race at Will Rogers Downs and was largely successful last year,” said John Lies, racing secretary and track announcer for Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs. “We now have an even stronger show of interest in this year’s meet from out of state. The OQHRA has agreed to purse increases at most class levels, and we will aim for the same average field size of eight starters per race that we achieved last fall. Our joint effort with Lone Star Park to honor reciprocal hair test results only bolsters our position and shows that regional tracks can work together to help each other.”
The season kicked off Monday with the Oklahoma Horsemen’s Association Mystery Futurity Trial that features the top 2-year-old Quarter Horses in the country going 350 yards. The 10 fastest qualifiers will then compete in the futurity finals on Monday, Sept. 26.
Races will post at noon every Monday, Tuesday and Sunday thereafter, until the final weekend of the season.
On Sunday, Oct. 2, the AQHA Juvenile Challenge Final will include a 350-yard race for 2-year-olds and guarantees $30,000 in the purse, while the AQHA Distance Challenge Final and AQHA Distaff Challenge Final offer a $25,000 purse each.
Tuesday, Nov. 15, will close out the season with a final schedule that will include the $15,000 Speedhorse Paint and Appaloosa Futurity Championship Final and the Don Drake Memorial, which offers a 350-yard race and guarantees a $15,000 purse.
The final weekend will also feature the Oklahoma Horsemen’s Association Mystery Derby Final, the $120,000 Black Gold Futurity Championship Final and the $120,000 Black Gold Oaks Championship Final.