Tornado Hits Racetrack Leaving One Horse Dead and Damaging Tribal Casino

  • The Will Rogers Downs Cherokee Casino & Hotel remains closed
  • Most of the people staying at the property were evacuated in advance
  • One horse was euthanized and another five got treatment for injuries
A tornado has caused serious damage to a casino in Oklahoma. [Image:]

An unfortunate incident

A tornado ripped through Oklahoma on Saturday night, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. The Will Rogers Downs Cherokee Casino & Hotel was directly hit during the storm, along with the property’s racetrack and RV park.

the casino lost access to water and power

While no people reportedly suffered severe injuries, the casino lost access to water and power. People are now working to clean up the mess and management didn’t provide a timeline for the reopening.

The aftermath

The 140 or so people who planned to stay at the RV park overnight were mostly evacuated to a storm shelter in advance of the tornado hitting the Claremore area. The aftermath saw camper vans strewn around the property upside down or on their sides, with broken windows and peoples’ possessions spread across the area.

The National Weather Service classified the storm as a level EF-3 and the property’s staff followed its severe weather protocols.

Cherokee National Entertainment Director of Communications Travis Noland explained how it was a “pretty busy night” at the facility and the staff focused on the “life and safety of the guests.”

Impact on the horses

The grandstand area of the racetrack and the accompanying stables suffered the worst damage. The roofs of numerous barns are now missing after taking a major hit.

At least 200 horses were staying at the facility at the time of the storm, which was significantly lower than the capacity of about 640. The lower occupancy rate was due to the track’s spring meeting ending ten days previously.

horse had to be euthanized as a result of its injuries

One horse had to be euthanized as a result of its injuries and five received treatment at Oklahoma State University for minor injuries. Most of the other horses went to the Fair Meadows Race Track in nearby Tulsa on Sunday.

Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma Executive Director Danielle Barber was glad that the number of fatalities wasn’t worse. She thanked the people in the wider equine community who donated resources and time to help look after the impacted horses.

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