03/16/2015 1:15PM

Muckleshoots granted license to operate Emerald Downs

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The Washington Horse Racing Commission on Friday approved a license request for a company owned by the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe to operate Emerald Downs in Auburn, according to the Muckleshoots.

The license approval was the last step to close a deal the tribe reached in November of last year to buy the track from Northwest Racing Associates, a company controlled by owner-breeder Ron Crockett. The Muckleshoots had acquired the land under the property in 2002, six years after the track opened, and since 2004 the tribe has provided $11 million in purse subsidies to the track.

The Muckleshoots, which operate a casino near Emerald Downs, said that Crockett will remain a consultant on the operation of the track.

Emerald also announced last week that out-of-state horses will receive a $400 bonus for their first start at the track’s meet this year, which begins on April 15. Bonus payments for starters from out-of-state have been used in other jurisdictions to boost purse size.