SALLISAW — The Choctaw Nation has entered a contract to sell the Blue Ribbon Downs racino. Gambling machines can remain at the track, even if it’s not owned by a tribe, a state racing official said.
A May 28 letter from the Choctaw Nation to the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission says the tribe has entered into a contract with Furlong Perfecta LLC for the sale. Furlong Perfecta was incorporated in April, and its incorporation papers list Benita Bowen of Fayetteville, Ark., as its manager. Bowen is the co-owner of Bowen Arrow Farms, which owns race horses. The tribe’s letter says the contract will require the commission’s approval and that "an application for the approval will be submitted as soon as it can be prepared.” Tino Rieger, the commission’s executive director, said the tribe requested an extension to apply for its 2010 racing license, which was due June 1. The commission will review the extension request at its June 18 meeting. Blue Ribbon Downs is one of only three racetracks in the state approved to have gambling machines on its premises. Although it’s owned by the Choctaw Nation, Blue Ribbon Downs is within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Cherokee Nation, which had expressed an interest in buying the track before the Choctaw Nation bought it. Choctaw Nation spokeswoman Judy Allen said the tribe hopes to sell the track so it can concentrate on gambling operations within its own jurisdictional boundaries. "It’s not been a business that fits with the tribe,” she said.