Live Thoroughbred Racing at Oaklawn Park

Zoie Clift
A familiar sight in
Hot Springs these days are riders exercising Thoroughbreds during morning
training hours at Oaklawn Park. The park is Arkansas’s only Thoroughbred racing
venue and is one of the top tracks in the country. The one-mile dirt oval track
features Thoroughbred races Jan. 14-April 16.The opening of the live racing
season is next weekend (Friday-Jan.14). Around 1,200 horses are stabled on the
grounds in preparation for the 56-day season, which lasts through April 16.
Racing starts with a four-day weekend including a Monday card Jan. 17
First post times on the
opening weekend will be at 1 except for Sunday, Jan. 16, which will begin at
1:30 p.m.  On Monday, Jan. 17, Martin Luther King Day, as long as supplies
last, customers receive a free bobblehead of the great mare Zenyatta. 
Also on that day the best of the local three-year-old crop race at one mile in
the $100,000 Smarty Jones Stakes.
American champion
Thoroughbreds such as Zenyatta, Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex, Curlin, Summer Bird,
Azeri and Temperence Hill have raced at Oaklawn. In addition to racing, the
track is open year-round for simulcasting and electronic gaming. The gaming
experience at Oaklawn dates to 2000. A recent grandstand expansion provides the
park more room for live racing, simulcasting and gaming. Since opening in May
2009, the new gaming facility features games of skill including cardless poker
and blackjack. Phase two of the expansion was recently completed and added more
games of skill including the state’s first electronic poker room, featuring
Texas Hold ‘Em. The park is located at 2705 Central Ave. For more information

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