10/16/2003 11:00PM

Blue Ribbon may be auctioned off


Blue Ribbon Downs, a small track in Sallisaw, Okla., is scheduled to be auctioned at the Sallisaw courthouse on Nov. 4, but that could change if the State Supreme Court grants a request by the track to stop the sale. Blue Ribbon's case was heard this week, and a decision is pending.

Blue Ribbon owes the Sallisaw Municipal Authority repayment of a more than $2 million loan. Foreclosure proceedings were taken against the track, which has been appraised at about $2.9 million. The auction, which requires a minimum bid of two-thirds of the track's appraisal value, will be conducted by the sheriff's office in Sequoyah County.

Blue Ribbon, a seven-eighth-mile track with a grandstand that accommodates 3,500 patrons and barn space for 1,200 horses, was the first parimutuel track in Oklahoma when it opened in 1984.

For next season, Blue Ribbon has been granted 49 days of Thorough-bred and Quarter Horse racing. In an amended request approved by the Oklahoma Racing Commission during a meeting Thursday, the track will run a 22-date spring meet from March 6 to May 1, and a 27-date fall session from Sept. 3 to Oct. 31.

In other action, Blue Ribbon was given more time to reinstate the transmission of its simulcast signal to tracks in Oklahoma. A state rule requires tracks receiving full-card simulcasts from out of state to make their own signal available to all tracks in the state.

Blue Ribbon has been unable to fulfill that requirement because it does not have an uplink truck. Track officials told the commission they are attempting to engage a service provider and would have more details in the near future. The commission deferred consideration of any possible disciplinary action to its next meeting, Nov. 20.

Also on Thursday, Fair Meadows in Tulsa received approval from the commission for a revised racing calendar for 2004. The track will race nine days, from May 27 to June 19, and 21 days, from June 20 to July 24. Both meets will include Thorough-breds and Quarter Horses.

* Jockey Shane Romero picked up career win 2,000 on Friday when he took the first race at Louisiana Downs with Winning Fever ($18.80).