Year Inducted: 2012
Heritage Place holds many distinctions in the world of horse racing and with its inclusion to the Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame at Remington Park, is the first property or place to be inducted.
The location “Where Champions Are Sold” went from an imaginative thought, to a working idea, to conception and then reality in an extremely short period of time in the late 1970s. Heritage Place was founded by a collection of horsemen who yearned for a sales property for American Quarter Horse racing similar to the major venues utilized for Thoroughbred horse sales. The group included some of the all-time greats in racing and breeding: Mrs. Ruth Crosbie Bunn, Bruce Gentry, Robert Gentry, Dr. Charlie Graham, John Hastie, Melvin Hatley, Johnny T.L. Jones, D. Wayne Lukas, Walter Merrick, Bob Moore, George “Buddy” Suthers and Carl Swan.
Graham, a veterinarian, was at a sale in Kentucky to examine horses for a client. He mentioned in passing to Hatley at the same sale that having a facility like Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky would be great for Quarter Horses and would allow those events to ‘move out of the tents where we held our sales.’ Hatley agreed and a few weeks after the conversation in Kentucky a meeting was organized in Oklahoma City.
Hatley leased property in southwest Oklahoma City and had the option to buy it. During the meeting of the founders, it was decided this property would be perfect for their new venture and it was large enough to build what they envisioned. Another plus, it was just minutes away from Will Rogers World Airport, making it convenient for travelers attending their future sales. The group had their property, now they needed a sale.
At the time, Quarter Horses were sold at the Haymaker Sale in Oklahoma City, held at the state fairgrounds. The founders purchased the sale name and rights and in 1977 the work began at the site of 2829 South MacArthur Boulevard. In record time the construction was complete and in 1978 the first sale would be held at Heritage Place, a name selected by the group for the history that would be written by the success of horses sold at the venue.
Heritage Place sits on 40 acres and boasts the distinction of having 4-1/2 acres under one roof with a unique plan that includes: a 1,000 seat air-conditioned auditorium, an arena, nearly 700 horse stalls, and a club and a restaurant. Outside there is another arena and bleacher seating for events along with a fully-lighted parking lot.
History has been made at Heritage Place many times throughout the years. Hundreds of millions of dollars in sales have occurred there. While the high closing bid always draws immediate attention, it is the bargain price that some horses bring that make for great stories after they outperform their sales stature.
Refrigerator brought a bid of just $3,800 when he went through the ring at Heritage Place. He went on to win the 1990 All American Futurity and be named AQHA World Champion in 1992 and 1993 as well as sitting atop the sport’s all-time earnings list until 2010. While the majority of the horses sold at Heritage Place are Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds are also sold. Belle’s Good Cide, brought a price of just $2,800 in 1994. The broodmare would produce 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Funny Cide who earned more than $3.2 million in his career.
The all-time record sales price took place in 2013 during the Fall Mixed Sale when the stallion and former 2-year-old champion Tempting Dash brought a whopping $1.7 Million.
The current Heritage Place is still owned by four of the original founding members in Robert Gentry of Lubbock, Texas, Dr. Graham of Elgin, Texas, the family of Bruce Gentry of Lubbock and the family of Bob Moore from Oklahoma City. Heritage Place regularly holds a Quarter Horse Yearling Sale in September, a Thoroughbred Sale in October, a Fall Mixed Sale in November and a Winter Mixed Sale in January that coincides with the American Quarter Horse Association’s yearly Racing Champions Ceremony.
Heritage Place also sponsors the richest race held annually in Oklahoma, the $1,000,000 Heritage Place Futurity. The race is the marquee 2-year-old event of the Remington Park Quarter Horse Season.