Two gaming parlors for off-track wagering on horse races celebrated their grand opening on Wednesday, Oct. 26. Two horsemen, one for each location, cut the ribbons for the Derby Club on Center Street and the Derby Club on Blackmore Road in Casper.
“We’re trying to offer an elevated experience with really nice locations, food, historical horse racing machines, and TVs for simulcasting,” CEO/President Jack Greer shared.
Horseman Jesse Villegas cut the ribbon at the Center Street location, which is housed in the old C85 Pump Room. This location is, as Greer described, a true fine dining experience. The chef from the Pump Room, Matt Grosvenor, stayed on and has “full reign of the restaurant,” Greer said.
Along with the restaurant, the Center Street location has its main feature, the innovative gaming parlor for off-track wagering, along with a bar, liquor store, and entertainment hub.
Another horseman, George Spiva, was also present at the ribbon cutting showing his support for 307 Horse Racing, the parent company of the Derby Club. Spiva is chairman of the Wyoming All Breeds Racing Association.
“The off-track betting and historic horse racing terminals support horse racing in Wyoming, and I race horses. They support us, so we support them,” Spiva said.
He continued: “They’ve gotten to be good friends, and they’ve done a nice job of opening the OTBs (off-track betting). These facilities are very attractive and they are very professionally run.”
Horseman Francy Martin, a longtime trainer and judge, attended the grand opening at both locations.
“I trained race horses here in Casper for about 35 years and I’ve been a judge and a steward at the horse races for the past 11 years. It’s part of my life, part of my game,” she said.
Martin has known Greer and his family since he was just a little kid.
“We need people like him that help support and back the horse racing industry,” she shared. “I’m all about having and supporting horse racing in Wyoming.”
Bonita Frisby has been involved in the horse racing industry for many years and had the honor of cutting the ribbon at the Blackmore Road location. She expressed how excited she was to be able to support the Greer family and the horse racing industry.
“I’m the biggest supporter of horse racing and I have been for years,” Frisby started. “We used to run quarter horses and when my partner (Ronald Cook Jr.) died, I got out of it. But I still support racing. 100%. It’s really good for the economy.”
This Blackmore Road location may be familiar to the Casper community as it used to be the Keg & Cork restaurant. According to Greer, this location “is like an Irish pub in terms of the menu and food.” They kept all of the staff and even kept the same menu.
Greer makes an effort to have horsemen be the ones holding the scissors during every one of 307 Horse Racing’s ribbon cuttings. This Gillette-based company has deep roots in the horse racing business and incorporating actual horsemen is an important part of the Derby Club. Greer’s family has a passion for the horse racing industry; in fact, they have been involved in horse racing for five generations.
Greer’s great-grandfather, Lloyd Shelhamer, and great-grandmother, Jane Ringling Shelhamer, were co-founders and owners of United Tote, which offered a mobile totalizer system that was cheaper and arguably better than the competition. Tracks in the U.S. were paying roughly 25% less for tote equipment because of United Tote’s affordable pricing.
Along with his great-grandfather and great-grandmother’s significant contributions on the wagering side of the business, Greer’s family has owned racehorses for generations and participated in many races, specifically ones at Energy Downs in Gillette.
Greer was even named after his grandfather, Jack Greer, who was very prominent in Wyoming’s horse racing industry. Greer’s grandfather grew up on a ranch and became very active in rodeo, winning his last buckle in bull riding when he was in his 40s. Perhaps one of his biggest accomplishments, he ran the largest thoroughbred stable in Wyoming for two decades and even raced horses all across the country.
“He was an amazing man, and I am honored to carry on his name,” Greer said.
Wyoming legalized historical horse racing in 2013 with the intention of generating more funds to go toward live racing in Wyoming. Since 2013, they have seen significant growth in the finances of the horse racing business.
In fact, 307 Horse Racing ran the first $100,000 horse race since the legalization of historical horse racing machines. This monumental occasion is an important milestone for both the business and the horse racing industry in Wyoming.
George Spiva shared, “The race track operators are asked to put a certain percentage of their overall handle into purses, and 307 (Horse Racing) has exceeded that percentage. They are very supportive of the races.”
The roots of this business were planted after Greer noticed that both of the existing operators were owned by out-of-state operators. He became concerned that they were less interested in supporting the local horse racing industry and more interested in generating revenue from the machines. Because of this, Greer and his family founded 307 Horse Racing.
“It was truly for the sole reason of being the only locally owned and operated horse racing operator in Wyoming, that was owned and operated by horse racing people,” Greer shared.
Wyoming Employee Resource Capital Group (WERCS), commonly known as 307 First, stepped in to help Greer out with the financial side of the business. 307 First is committed to keeping Wyoming monies in Wyoming. Greer is grateful they made the financial investment in his company so he can continue supporting Wyoming horsemen and the racing industry.
He added, “I always say, 307 Horse Racing was started by horsemen and is here for the horsemen.”
Visit the Derby Club at 739 N. Center St. or at 5371 Blackmore Road. Both locations are open 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday–Thursday and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Learn more at their website.
|PAID FOR BY 307 HORSE RACING
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