Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43
Fair Meadows 4145 East 21st St Tulsa, OK 74114
Route 66 Racing
Fair Meadows offers live racing in Tulsa, Oklahoma for only two months of the year (June and July), so while a great venue, you don’t have much time to see it.
Food & Beverage 3
Fair Meadows has some decent food options, enough to cover you for a few hours, but not as much as some other racetracks. There are a couple of stands outside that sell beer, bottled water, bottled soda, and snacks such as hot pretzels, peanuts, nachos, and cotton candy. The only substantial items (think burgers, pizza, etc.) must be purchased inside, which is fine, as the venue is not that big. Prices seem typical as sports venues go, with bottled water at $4 and pizza at $5.50, for example. The only branded stand is a Dippin’ Dots cart inside the clubhouse near the parade ring; the other stands are all generic.
There are several different seating areas around the facility – the parade ring where you can watch the horses walk around before the race is indoors, while most of the other seating is outdoors. Racing usually starts at 6 pm here, though, so you don’t have to worry too much about escaping the sun, as most of the outdoor seating will be under shadow by then.
Some of the races here are very short, e.g. 300 yards, so those races will literally be over in a flash.
Probably the coolest attraction in Tulsa is Route 66 – a few miles from the track, but well worth driving down; you can even stop at an actual Phillips 66 gas station ON Route 66!
While there aren’t really any hotels or restaurants within walking distance of Fair Meadows, there are plenty within a short drive, closer to the river and to downtown. Downtown Tulsa really impressed me with how clean and well kept up it is, with none of the worn-down areas (at least that I could find) that you will find at many big cities in America.
Bok Center is also located downtown, home of both minor league hockey’s Tulsa Oilers and indoor football’s Tulsa Oilers – this is not a typo, they both have the same name. Note that the hockey season doesn’t overlap the horse racing season, but the indoor football season does.
The venue gets fuller as the evening wears on, as people get off work and make their way over, so by the 3rd or 4th race you will see a lot more folks. Watching a horse race is not like most sporting events, though, where people cheer throughout the event – you will hear a few scattered cheers for certain horses near the end of each race, but mostly people are here for the atmosphere…and the betting.
There are practically no issues in term of access at Fair Meadows – you can park for free right next to the track, and getting in and out is a breeze. There are also plenty of different seating areas to choose from, so you can sit (or stand) as close to or as far from the action as you want.
You can’t really watch the racing from the indoor seating, as that is just a few tables for people to eat at, or sit and peruse their programs, so it isn’t really designed for outdoor viewing. But there is plenty of covered seating outdoors, and moving around the concourse is not a challenge. There are betting windows on both ends of the concourse, and multiple food and beverage vendors, so lines will never be too long.
Return on Investment 5
It costs almost nothing to go to the races at Fair Meadows – parking is free and there is no cost to get in, so the only thing you might have to pay for is a program (if you want to bet), and food/drinks if you want them. Otherwise it is free, so from a return on investment standpoint this is a stellar way to spend an evening.
There aren’t really any extras to speak of; the indoor parade ring is a nice feature, and Fair Meadows is a clean, well-kept venue. But nothing else stands out – people are here for the ponies, and that’s it.
I would absolutely recommend a visit to Fair Meadows – this is a nice little venue where you can see the horses and racing up close, without having to fight the crowds. The only thing to remember is that many of the races are very short here, which closes the door on some of those thrilling come-from-behind victories certain fans may crave.