Race Tracks > Oaklawn Park
Oaklawn Park Track Facts
- Address: 2705 Central Ave., Hot Springs, AR 71901
- Phone: (800) 625-5296
- Website: www.oaklawnpark.com
- Main track (dirt): 1 mile, oval
- Length of stretch from last turn to finish line: 1,155 feet
- Width of stretch: 70 feet
- Width of turns: 80 feet
- Composition: 2″ sandy loam cushion, 3″ sandy loam cushion compacted, 10″ sand / silt, 30″ clay and natural soil
Oaklawn Racing & Gaming opened on February 24th, 1905. It is currently owned by the Oaklawn Jockey Club. The venue hosts a variety of Thoroughbred racing events and is located in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It is universally considered one of the best tracks in the country.
The 2021 season at Oaklawn Park will run from Friday, January 22nd through Saturday, May 1st. Typical race days are Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Though formally branded as Oaklawn Racing & Gaming, the facility is most often referred to as Oaklawn Park.
Major Oaklawn Park Race Events
|Apple Blossom Handicap||Rebel Stakes||Fantasy Stakes|
|Arkansas Derby||Azeri Stakes||Count Fleet Sprint Handicap|
|Oaklawn Handicap||Southwest Stakes||Smarty Jones Stakes|
|Razorback Handicap||Honeybee||Essex Handicap|
Oaklawn Major Race Event Dates for 2021
Currently, Oaklawn Park hosts two grade-I races. The Arkansas Derby is limited to three-year-old colts and serves as one of the major prep races for the Kentucky Derby. Oaklawn Park also hosts the Apple Blossom Handicap, a contest limited to fillies and mares ages four and up with implications for the Kentucky Oaks.
|1/22/21||Smarty Jones||1 Mile||$150,000|
|1/23/21||Fifth Season||1 Mile||$150,000|
|1/30/21||Martha Washington||1 Mile||$200,000|
|1/30/21||American Beauty||6 Furlongs||$150,000|
|2/6/21||King Cotton||6 Furlongs||$150,000|
|2/13/21||Razorback Handicap (G3)||1 1/16 Miles||$600,000|
|2/13/21||Dixie Belle||6 Furlongs||$150,000|
|2/15/21||Southwest (G3)||1 1/16 Miles||$750,000|
|2/15/21||Bayakoa (G3)||1 1/16 Miles||$250,000|
|2/27/21||Spring Fever||5 1/2 Furlongs||$200,000|
|3/6/21||Honeybee (G3)||1 1/16 Miles||$300,000|
|3/13/21||Temperence Hill||1 1/2 Miles||$150,000|
|3/13/21||Hot Springs||6 Furlongs||$200,000|
|3/13/21||Azeri (G2)||1 1/16 Miles||$350,000|
|3/13/21||Essex Handicap||1 1/16 Miles||$500,000|
|3/13/21||Rebel Stakes (G2)||1 1/16 Miles||$1,000,000|
|4/3/21||Fantasy Stakes (G3)||1 1/16 Miles||$600,000|
|4/3/21||Purple Martin||6 Furlongs||$200,000|
|4/10/21||Arkansas Derby (G1)||1 1/8 Miles||$1,000,000|
|4/10/21||Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3)||6 Furlongs||$500,000|
|4/10/21||Oaklawn Mile||1 Mile||$400,000|
|4/16/21||Rainbow Miss||6 Furlongs||$150,000|
|4/17/21||Oaklawn Handicap (G2)||1 1/8 Miles||$1,000,000|
|4/17/21||Apple Blossom Handicap (G1)||1 1/16 Miles||$1,000,000|
|4/24/21||Bachelor Stakes||6 Furlongs||$200,000|
|4/30/21||Arkansas Breeders’ Championship||1 1/16 Miles||$200,000|
|5/1/21||Oaklawn Invitational||1 1/8 Miles||$300,000|
Oaklawn Park Racing & Gaming History
Since first opening its doors in 1905, Oaklawn has gone through a variety of upgrades and changes. Like most tracks in the country, it has endured with the economic times suffering during times like World War II and The Great Depression, while thriving under normal circumstances.
Oaklawn Park has recently been credited as one of the top-10 racing tracks in the United States. Notable horses who have run over the course include Cigar, Paseana, Zenyatta, Smarty Jones, and Afleet Alex.
The clubhouse at Oaklawn Racing & Gaming was designed by Zachary Taylor Davis, who is the same architect responsible for both Old Comiskey Park and Wrigley Field. The casino was added in 2008 thanks to a $3M addition and was instantly the largest facility of its kind in Arkansas. Unlike most facilities, Oaklawn Racing & Gaming does not have a turf track.
Oaklawn celebrated it’s 100th anniversary by offering a $5 million bonus to any horse that could sweep the Rebel, Arkansas Derby and Kentucky Derby. Smarty Jones managed to accomplish this feat, and has since had the Smarty Jones Stakes named in his honour since 2008.
On February 24, 1905, Oaklawn presented its first racing card before a crowd of 3,000 that turned out after Hot Springs Mayor John Belding declared a half-day holiday for the city. The first race at the new track was won by Duelist, owned by John W. Schorr, a prominent Memphis sportsman, and since that time, Oaklawn has evolved into one of the premier race meets in the country. Best known as the home of the Racing Festival of the South and Arkansas Derby, the track has played host to some of the biggest names in the sport including champions Temperence Hill, Cigar, Curlin, Paseana, Azeri, Tiffany Lass, Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex, Rachel Alexandra, Lookin At Lucky, Blind Luck and Zenyatta
Between 1907 and 1916, Oaklawn Park faced some hardships as races were commonly cancelled because of the political problems in the state. The owners and bettors of Oaklawn would come to understand that political problems would continue to affect the track for the next 20 years.
By 1941, the total purse skyrocketed to $156,820 and was distributed in purses during the 30-day season, Feb. 24-March 29. Purse distribution continued to soar and in 1946 the track recorded a high of $283,180.
From 1951-75, many additions were made to Oaklawn’s already impressive track record. A new parking lot was built to hold 800 vehicles and steam heat was installed in all of the private boxes in the paddock to better suit the track’s elite clientele. Less than three years later an amazing dining room was added to the clubhouse and the main track was re-cushioned to allow for a more stable and breathable foundation.
In 1985, Oaklawn experienced its first year of reverse statistics. Wagering dropped by 8.1% and attendance dipped below 3.7% in comparison to 1984. Oaklawn Park Racetrack has seen its share of amazing and heart-stopping races. With the addition of “Instant Racing” – a pari-mutuel electronic system that allows players to wager on previously run races – Oaklawn Park ventured into the electronic gaming world and its offering was well received by visitors from around the world.