Oklahoma Tornado Ravages Casino, Claims Lives of Three Horses


In an unfortunate twist of fate over the weekend, a relentless tornado swept across the grounds of Oklahoma’s Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs, leading to substantial damage and an unfortunate loss of animal life. The devastating weather phenomenon resulted in the demise of three equines and numerous other animal injuries, according to Horse Racing Nation.

The chaos didn’t end there, as five other terrified horses were whisked away to Oklahoma State University to receive prompt emergency care and attention from the capable hands of seasoned veterinarians. Colleen Davidson, an equestrian enthusiast with a stable at Will Rogers Downs, bore witness to the calamitous event – firsthand from inside her mobile home.

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“I woke up to the ferocity of the storm,” she recounted to Horse Racing Nation. “Glass shards and debris were hurtling through my home, irrepressibly potent. Trapped, I whispered a plea to the heavens, ‘I hope the good Lord’s looking out for me because this ain’t going to be good.’ Miraculously, the tornado tossed my trailer around without tipping it over.”

The tragedy struck close to home for Colleen and her husband, as they lost one of their eleven charismatic horses to the storm, necessitating euthanasia due to a broken neck. However, in the wake of the disaster, around 100 displaced horses from the Claremore, Okla. property found a temporary home at Fair Meadows in Tulsa, Okla.

Despite the loss and destruction, Danielle Barber, the executive director of the Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma, expressed her gratitude, conceding, “It could’ve been a lot worse.”

Most of the property bore the brunt of the tornado’s wrath. “We have about 14 barns and ten of them experienced extraordinary damage”, said Travis Noland, Director of Communications for Cherokee Nation Entertainment, the organization that owns the track, in a statement to Oklahoma TV station KTUL. “The grandstand and barn roofs have been devoured by the tornado, leaving trailers upturned and scattered debris across the field.”

The moment disaster hit; the racetrack was teeming with more than 200 horses, even though it is equipped to house up to 640 animals.

Adding insult to injury, the casino building bore noticeable scars from the wind’s rampage and was deprived of power and water due to the severity of the storm. Early this week, there was no information about when the utilities would be restored. The casino’s RV park and RVs therein didn’t escape the storm’s fury either.

Nonetheless, Noland was relieved of any significant human injuries, offering an assurance that their severe weather protocols, which include moving people to shelters before the onset of a storm, had worked effectively. “There was considerable activity at the casino and the RV park during the storm,” he observed. 

In light of the disaster, a fundraising campaign has been started to provide much-needed assistance to the afflicted horses. Furthermore, an impressive wave of volunteers have become involved, showing support and solidarity during this challenging time.