12/11/2009 12:00AM

Cherokee Nation purchases Blue Ribbon Downs


Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw, Okla., which was shuttered on Nov. 28, has been purchased by Cherokee Nation in a deal that closed Thursday. The tribe operates Will Rogers Downs near Tulsa, but said there are no immediate plans for use of its new acquisition.

"We had an opportunity to purchase property that is within our tribal jurisdiction so we always closely consider that and see it as a wise business decision to take advantage of that any time we can," David Stewart, the chief executive officer of Cherokee Nation Entertainment, said in a release issued Friday.

Blue Ribbon, which had been owned by Choctaw Nation, is situated on 100 acres. The purchase price was not disclosed Friday, but the sale included the land, the track's facilities, and equipment.

Choctaw Nation purchased Blue Ribbon in November 2003, and announced this past October that it was closing the track's doors because of lack of patron support. Blue Ribbon had operated 250 electronic gaming machines, in addition to a mixed race meet.

Will Rogers Downs, which also has electronic gaming, will open a 32-date Thoroughbred meet on March 6. Cherokee Nation also operates the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, as well as six Cherokee Casinos.