Horsemen fill the barns with equine athletes as AQHA racing returns to Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs on Sept. 7.

The stables are filling up once again with some of the top American Quarter Horse competitors as fall racing returns to Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs.

The 2019 Will Rogers Downs racing schedule features 28 American Quarter Horse Association, Appaloosa and Paint stakes races Sept. 7 through Nov. 9. Overnight purses will equal $2.4 million for Quarter Horses and $365,000 for Paints and Appaloosas.

Races post at noon every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“The AQHA finals to be conducted at Will Rogers this September enhances the existing stakes schedule,” said John Lies, racing secretary, announcer and oddsmaker at Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs. “We expect them to spice up the race meet in the areas of on-track presence and field quality, even at overnight levels. We are also optimistic about maintaining the attractive average field size achieved at this meet last fall.”

A total of 17 stakes races worth more than $650,000 are included in the program, a significant increase from the 2016 Quarter Horse racing season in added Oklahoma-bred purse money for all overnight races.

The Black Gold 350 Championship Futurity Trials on opening day 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 Sept. 22.

The AQHA Juvenile Challenge Finals on the same day offers a 350-yard race for 2 year olds and guarantees $30,000 in the purse, while the AQHA Distance Challenge Finals and AQHA Distaff Challenge Finals offer a $25,000 purse each.  

On the final day of racing Nov. 9, fans can enjoy the $20,000 Speedhorse Paint and Appaloosa Futurity Championship Finals, the $15,000 Don Drake Memorial, the $25,000 Oklahoma Horsemen’s Association Mystery Derby Finals, the Black Gold 440 Championship Futurity Finals, worth $139,875, and the $75,000 Oklahoma Horsemen’s Association Mystery Futurity Restricted Grade III.

Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs is located 3 miles east of Claremore on Highway 20. For more information, visit www.cherokeecasino.com and click on the Will Rogers Downs tab, or call (918) 283-8800.