It has taken almost four years, but "Instant Racing" machines have become an overnight sensation at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. In November, handle generated by the machines topped $1.2 million.
Arkansas' Oaklawn Park drew an average of 11,251 fans a day this season, down from last year's 12,428. Based on figures through the meet's April 14 close, wagering by Oaklawn patrons on races at the Hot Springs track was down 11.1%. But wagering on simulcast races was up 8%. Calvin Borel won the jockey title with 70 winners. Cole Norman won the training title by saddling 43 winners.
The 2001 season hasn't been kind to Oaklawn Park, and Arkansas in general. Wild swings in weather since December have made it tough for the track maintenance crew and the state's residents, who aren't coming to the races as much as they used to. Track owner Charles Cella said he will continue to overpay purses in the hope relief is just around the corner.
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