Charles Cella

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State High Court Upholds Oaklawn Park Gaming Devices

Oaklawn Park officials have no immediate plans to expand the racetrack's gambling-machine offerings, but they said a Sept. 27 ruling by the Arkansas Supreme Court to uphold a law that permitted electronic gaming devices at the track is a major step forward.

Meritorious Character

By James E. Bassett III -- When one thinks of Charles J. Cella, a myriad of descriptions flash by. "Indescribable" comes easily to mind, overshadowed by "indomitable" or perhaps "indestructible," followed by "unpredictable" or almost surely "unpersuadable." But lest we overlook the obvious, certainly it would be "unforgettable."

Bonuses and Purses

By Dan Liebman -- If Smarty Jones wins the Kentucky Derby it will be a great story...but it should not be allowed to distort Smarty Jones' earnings as a racehorse or his sire's place on the list of 2004 leading sires.

Crafty Shaw, Docent Expected for Saturday's Essex

The Essex Handicap (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park Saturday is expected to feature two previous winners of the 1 1/16-mile contest -- Crafty Shaw and Maysville Slew -- as well as 2002 Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Private Emblem, who is undefeated at Oaklawn Park.

Centennial (Cella)bration: Oaklawn Turns 100

Brainstorming for ideas to celebrate Oaklawn Park's centennial in 2004, track owner Charles Cella turned into the $6-million man late last summer. At the ripe old age of 67, Cella stunned his colleagues when he said he was going to offer a $5-million bonus to any 3-year-old that swept Oaklawn's Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby (gr. II) and then won the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). He also raised the purse of the Arkansas Derby to $1 million.

Clark or Cigar for Crafty Shaw?

Crafty Shaw's connections are weighing their options after the horse's recent Schaefer Mile win...Take Charge Lady could make her final start in the Nov. 27 Falls City.

Oaklawn Owner Says He'll 'Keep This Thing Going'

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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