Blue Ribbon Downs Gets Emergency License for '04

By Associated Press

The Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission approved an emergency order Thursday allowing the Choctaw Nation to offer horse racing at Blue Ribbon Downs in 2004. The racing dates are yet to be determined, but racing at Blue Ribbon usually starts in February or March.

The track was bought earlier this month by Backstretch LLC, a private company owned by the Choctaw Nation. The purchase was made a day before the track was to be sold in a foreclosure sale.

State officials estimate the track provides 800 jobs in the Sallisaw are and has a $38 million annual impact on the local economy.