Creek Entertainment Gretna unveiled its state-of-art barrel racetrack at Creek Entertainment Gretna on Wednesday during the first trials at the facility’s newly constructed barrel racing track.
The track is the first competitive barrel-racing track of its kind in Florida and operators of the facility said Wednesday the plan is to begin competitive barrel racing and wagering as early as December 17.
“Our plan is to open Gretna Racing in December and begin hosting competitive barrel racing events,” said James Dorris, President and CEO of PCI Gaming Authority. “Today, some of the best racers and horses in the world are on our track making our vision for bringing a state-of-art racing and equestrian pari-mutuel facility to North Florida a reality,” Dorris added.
Florida regulators have issued licenses to Gretna Racing and to the North Florida Horseman’s Association to conduct of horse racing at the Gretna site. The principals of Gretna Racing have expended nearly $20 million to make this project a reality that will serve horsemen of all breeds and disciplines year round.
At the unveiling of the track, 11-time World Champion Barrel Racer Charmayne James was joined by other barrel racers to test out the track and conduct a series of trial runs.
“This is an exciting opportunity for barrel racers and the entire equestrian community in Florida,” James said. “We have waited a long time for a facility like Gretna Racing.”
Florida law allows seven types of horses to race under a Quarter Horse permit, Quarter Horses, Paints, Appaloosas, Arabians, Crackers, Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds. In addition, these horses are able under Florida law to race at all type of distances and on all types of courses.
“Thousands of horsemen who train, raise and race horses, including Quarter Horses, to compete at the highest levels of competitive barrel racing call Florida home,” Wesley Cox, chairman of the North Florida Horsemen’s Association. “Gretna Racing wills first facility in Florida that recognizes the excitement, passion, popularity and economic opportunities competitive barrel racing can provide for the state.”
Creek Entertainment Gretna plans to begin racing in December with 20 racing performances.
Each of the first nineteen racing performances will feature eight riders and horses competing through a bracket of 11 races. The races will feature two riders racing head-to-head in side-by-side arenas and spectators are seated in stadium seating with views of both arenas.
Additionally, the association and Creek Entertainment Gretna have agreed to 20 more performances in January with even larger purses.