Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Live racing returns to Hot Springs with the opening of Oaklawn’s 2014 live meet Friday, Jan. 10 and greeting fans will be some of the most competitive racing in the country, especially in the 3-year-old ranks. Overall, the 57-day meet will offer more than $20 million in purses and 31 stakes, highlighted by the 78th running of the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 12.
Oaklawn’s 3-year-old stakes program is one of the most successful in the nation and last year, it produced likely Champion 3-year-old Will Take Charge and Oxbow, whose victory in the Preakness Stakes was the 10th Triple Crown race won by an Oaklawn-raced horse in 10 years. The four-race program offers 289 points based on the qualifying method for the Kentucky Derby and these race days also help anchor some of Oaklawn’s most popular promotions. The series starts Monday, Jan. 20 with a special Martin Luther King Jr. card that features the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes and a free baseball cap giveaway with paid admission. It continues Monday, Feb. 17 with a Presidents Weekend card that includes the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) and $55,000 Progressive Cash Giveaway.
Next to Arkansas Derby Day, the most anticipated day during the Oaklawn meet is Rebel Stakes (G2) Day, Saturday, March 15. In addition to this $600,000 race for aspiring sophomores, the card now includes the $200,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) and $200,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) and one lucky fan will walk away with a new boat and truck, courtesy of Bradford Marine. The meet will begin with the traditional $.50 corned beef sandwiches opening Saturday, Jan. 11 and end with the Racing Festival of the South which starts Saturday, April 5 with the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) and concludes Saturday, April12 with the Arkansas Derby and three other stakes April 12.
Back by popular demand, Oaklawn will open its Infield, complete with a Beer Garden, live music and family-friendly activities, every Saturday from Rebel Stakes through Arkansas Derby. The popular “Dawn at Oaklawn” program sponsored by Westrock Coffee returns Saturday, Feb. 15 and will allow guests to get up close and personal with the horses and top racing personalities from 7:30 – 9:30 a.m. every Saturday through the end of the meet. Visitors can also take barn tours as part of the Saturday morning program.
Post times will be 1:30 p.m. Central on weekdays and Sundays and 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Some exceptions are Opening Day, Jan. 10, Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 2 and the two holiday Mondays, Jan. 20 and Feb. 17, when first post is 1 p.m. For more information, visit www.Oaklawn.com or call 1-800-OAKLAWN.
2014 Special Events
Friday, Jan. 10: Opening Day
Saturday, Jan. 11: $.50 Corned Beef sandwiches and $.10 soft drinks
Monday, Jan. 20: Free Oaklawn Cap Giveaway/$150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes
Monday, Feb. 17: $55,000 Progressive Cash Giveaway/$300,000 Southwest Stakes
Saturday, March 15: Boat & Truck Giveaway/$600,000 Rebel Stakes Day
April 5 – April 12: Racing Festival of the South