Oaklawn Horse Racing – Win Tickets
Listen to the Power Morning Show on Thursday for your chance to win tickets to the horse races at Oaklawn in Hot Springs.
We are giving away Special Passes which include two reserved seats, two special daily passes and special parking too!
You can use the tickets anytime between now and the end of the season. For more information about the races visit Oaklawn Park online.
We have some great history in our own backyard! According to Wikipedia:
Oaklawn Park officially opened on February 24, 1905. More than 3,000 people attended as a holiday had been declared in Hot Springs. During these early years the track only ran six races a day, similar to British cards. Political problems in the state forced the closure of Oaklawn in 1907. During this time of closure, the track was sold to Louis Cella as the original business partners had both died. The track reopened in 1916 under the auspices of Business Men's League of Hot Springs.
In 1918, Louis Cella died and the ownership of the track was transferred to his brother, Charles. Following this transfer the track was open and closed periodically because of vagaries in the state's political climate.
In the 1929 Arkansas legislative session, a bill to allow horse racing and parimutuel betting tied in the state House of Representatives. The only Republican member of the state House at the time, Osro Cobb of Montgomery County, had been out of the chamber when his name was called. Therefore, upon his return Cobb cast the tie-breaking vote to allow racing and betting at the track.
In the 1930s, the track and "Spa" combined attracted many horse racing fans. In 1935, Oaklawn increased purses to become competitive with the best tracks across the country. The first Arkansas Derby was run in 1936 for a purse of $5,000. By this time the track ran a thirty-day race meeting. On October 29, 1940, Charles G. Cella died and the presidency of Oaklawn transferred to his son, John G. Cella (1909-1968). In 1941, purses again hit a record for the largest purses in Oaklawn history. By 1943, the Arkansas Derby had a purse of $10,000. Unlike most American tracks Oaklawn stayed open in 1944, but World War II caught up with Oaklawn Park, and the track was closed in 1945. Following the defeat of Japan a 30-day late autumn and winter season was held at Oaklawn. After the end of the war the track hit unprecedented levels of prosperity. This financed a major clubhouse renovation and a resurfacing of the track. Throughout the 1950s the track continued to climb in handle, attendance and purses. In 1961, the track extended the season to 43 days. In 1962 the track had such a good year that it reached the five spot on the most profitable and successful tracks in North America.
By 1965, the Arkansas Derby was a $50,000 stakes and one that could attract top Kentucky Derby prospects.
When I was a member of the Arkansas Junior Chamber of Commerce, we were invited to Oaklawn Park each year to award the trophy to the winner of the Arkansas Derby. I think I only made it to one event though but that one time was pretty awesome.