Oaklawn Park, established in 1904, has a history of growth and innovation and a reputation for displaying the finest in Thoroughbred competition. As the number one tourist attraction in the State of Arkansas, it draws patronage from throughout the mid-South during both its live and simulcast sessions. Oaklawn combines the most modern and comfortable facilities for the patron and a well-balanced purse and stakes structure for horsemen.
Springtime in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains is a most beautiful time of year and provides a spectacular backdrop for Oaklawn’s meeting. The racing season, which extends from January to April, offers 32 stakes races with guaranteed purses over $5.7 million.
Oaklawn’s meet is highlighted by the “Racing Festival of the South,” the most prestigious week of racing in North America. A major stakes event, with a purse of at least $100,000, occurs each day of the Festival, including the $1 million Arkansas Derby for 3-year-olds; the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap for 4-year-olds and up; the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap for fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up; the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes for 3-year-old fillies; and the $250,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap for 4-year-olds and up.
During the 2012 season, Oaklawn offered $18,811,364 in purses. Steve Asmussen won his fourth Oaklawn training crown, while Cliff Berry captured his second Oaklawn jockeys' title. Alternation was the star of the season, winning three stakes.
Total pari-mutuel handle for the 56 days raced was $155,532,790, for a daily average of $2,777,371. The total attendance for the season was 570,821.
Oaklawn also maintains one of America’s most successful and innovative simulcast operations in the nation from April-January. Simulcast fans are treated to a Las Vegas-style concept on the first floor of the grandstand. A 100-foot video wall includes four large projector screens and 12 additional 48-inch television monitors to follow the action from as many as 10 tracks at one time.
Oaklawn also has become the home of the Instant Racing System, racing’s first venture into the world of pari-mutuel electronic gaming. The Instant Racing System allows players to enjoy electronic games based on the results of previously run races. Fans may wager 5 cents or as much as $5 per play, with the results determined by the finish of one of nearly 100,000 historic races in the system’s library. Additionally, as a result of a 2005 city election, Oaklawn now also offers electronic games of skill to its patrons. In 2010 Oaklawn opened a multi-million dollar expansion. Electronic gaming has produced nearly $20 million in purses for the live meet in less than a decade.
Oaklawn is located in Hot Springs, Arkansas, long famous for its lakes and resort area accommodations. A year-round vacation resort, Hot Springs serves up six golf courses, five great lakes, excellent convention facilities and southern hospitality as warm as the thermal water in the famed bathhouses along Central Avenue.