Oklahoma Tornado Kills Three Horses, Injures Others at Will Rogers Downs: Report

Posted on: May 28, 2024, 10:28h. 

Last updated on: May 29, 2024, 10:03h.

Three horses perished and other animals were injured after Oklahoma’s Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs was damaged by a serious tornado over the weekend, according to Horse Racing Nation.

Damage at Oklahoma’s Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs
Damage at Oklahoma’s Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs, pictured above. A tornado also killed and injured horses. (Image: Facebook)

An estimated five horses were taken to Oklahoma State University for treatment by veterinarians, according to initial reports.

Colleen Davidson, who has a stable at Will Rogers Downs, was in a trailer when the tornado struck.

“When I woke up, it was too late,” she told Horse Racing Nation. “The glass and stuff was smashing through my house and I couldn’t get out and I just went in there and said, ‘I hope the good Lord’s looking out for me because this ain’t going to be good.’ And luckily it lifted my trailer up and swung it side to side but it did not flip it.”

She and her husband owned 11 horses at the track. One of them was euthanized on Sunday after it suffered a broken neck, the report said.

Aome 100 additional horses at the Claremore, Okla. property were relocated to Fair Meadows in Tulsa on Sunday.

Could Have Been Worse

Danielle Barber, executive director of the Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma, told Horse Racing Nation she was “very thankful. It could’ve been a lot worse.”

“We have about 14 barns, 10 of them experienced significant damage. The others also experienced some damage, but not as significant,” Travis Noland, director of communications for Cherokee Nation Entertainment, which owns the track, told Oklahoma TV station KTUL. “The grandstand did experience some significant damage.”

Barn roofs were pulled off by the winds, trailers were overturned, and various property was spread over the grounds, according to BloodHorse.

When the tornado struck, there were 200 or more horses at the racetrack. It can fit some 640 animals.

Casino Lost Power

The exterior of the casino building was damaged by the heavy winds, according to KTUL. The electricity went off due to the storm, and water wasn’t working.

There’s been no word when power will be restored to the casino as of early this week. The complex’s RV park and RVs there also were damaged by Saturday’s storm.

It was a pretty busy night at the casino and the RV park,” Noland said. “There were no severe injuries reported. We were able to use our severe weather protocols — which was move people to shelter before the storm hit — the majority of them were moved to shelter. We really focused on life and safety of the guests.”

“It’s been an emotional day, yesterday, for a lot of these campers that were going through their belongings and stuff,” Noland was quoted by KTUL on Sunday. “But one of the most important things is no severe injuries were reported. It’s really just been an unfortunate situation for those guests.”

A fundraising effort was launched to assist the horses. Numerous volunteers came out to assist all who needed help, too.