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4:05 pm
Thu October 22, 2009

Blue Ribbon Closing

Sallisaw, OK – Tribe to shutter Oklahoma pari-mutuel track

SALLISAW, Okla. (AP) Blue Ribbon Downs, the first pari-mutuel horse racing track in Oklahoma, will shut down for good next month because of a lack of patron support.

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, which owns the eastern Oklahoma track, announced the decision Thursday. The track will close after the current racing season ends Nov. 28.

Blue Ribbon Downs began running in the early 1960s and in 1984 became the first track in Oklahoma to offer pari-mutuel bets. The track has a history of financial struggles. The Choctaw bought the track in November 2003 after its previous owner filed for bankruptcy.

Tribal spokeswoman Judy Allen says the Choctaws invested a lot of money in the track but that there wasn't enough support to continue.

The tribe has tried to sell the track at least twice.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.