When Global Gaming RP, a subsidiary of the Chickasaw Nation, took over Remington Park on Jan. 1, 2010, CEO John Elliott and his management team were confident they could re-shape Oklahoma’s largest track into a racing and gaming showplace. But even Elliott admitted last week that he was surprised at how far Remington has come in just one year.
“It was better than we expected — we were exceedingly pleased with the first year,” Elliott said. “I think what surprised me the most was how much stronger the bottom line was than we had predicted.
“That probably has a lot of variables involved in it,” he added. “We had a terrific thoroughbred meet with dramatic increases in handle (total handle for the Quarter Horse and thoroughbred meets combined was up more than 23 percent in an era when most U. S. tracks are experiencing declines) and (simulcast) export signals. A lot of that had to do with management, but I think a lot of it had to do with increased enthusiasm in the facility and in the amenities we added.”
By December, anybody who hadn’t seen Remington in 12 months wouldn’t have recognized the 22-year-old track. Elliott and his crew began making improvements — both cosmetic and administrative — from the very minute they “took the keys” to the building at midnight on Jan. 1, 2010; by year’s end, a facility that was state-of-the-art when it opened in 1988 but had become cold and a little drab in recent years had found some of its old-time energy and had gained some warmth that, while we old-timers didn’t realize it, was probably never there in the first place...