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Arkansas Derby Helps Oaklawn Meet Recover

The 2003 Oaklawn Park meet started with cancellation of the opening weekend's cards due to terrible weather, but ended its 49-day run with an outstanding crowd of 61,752 for the Arkansas Derby program April 12.

Illness Forces Remington Rock to Miss Oaklawn 'Cap

Trainer Richard Jackson on Wednesday declared Remington Rock a non-starter for Saturday's Oaklawn Handicap (gr. I) due to sickness. The defection of Remington Rock from Oaklawn Park's Saturday co-feature leaves an expected field of eight for the 1 1/8-mile race.

Oaklawn and Turfway Increasing Purses

Good weather and higher handles are driving up purses at Oaklawn Park and Turfway Park. Oaklawn will increase purses by $1,000 per race starting Saturday, while Turfway Park will increase purses 7% beginning with Friday's card. Both purse increases exclude stakes races.

Here and There

Bits and pieces from around the industry...

Oaklawn Cancels Racing Wednesday

In the interest of the safety, Oaklawn Park has cancelled both live and simulcast programs for Wednesday, Feb. 6. The decision was made Wednesday morning following a four-inch snowfall overnight in the Hot Springs area.

Positive Momentum as Oaklawn Meet Opens

It may be the last major winter meet to get underway, but it won't be the least on a number of fronts. Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., is looking forward to a strong 2002 season because of higher purses, an increase in on-track business, and plenty of interest by horsemen.

'Instant Racing' Handle Now $1M a Month

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.

Oaklawn On-Track Numbers Dip, Off-Track Gain Slightly

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.

Oaklawn Park Report: Balto Star Repeats

Oaklawn Park Report: Balto Star Repeats

Those who thought Balto Star's romping win in the March 24 Spiral Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park was a fluke better think again. It appears Balto Star is indeed a star. Under Mark Guidry, Balto Star danced away from what was thought to be a competitive field of 11 3-year-olds April 14 in the $500,000 Arkansas Derby (gr. II). Finely tuned by trainer Todd Pletcher, Balto Star went fast early and late and drew off to a 4 1/2-length win in the slop. He covered the nine furlongs in a solid 1:49.04.

Gourmet Girl Upsets Apple Blossom

Gourmet Girl Upsets Apple Blossom

Gourmet Girl tracked pacesetter Asher through the early going en route to a 4 1/2-length win in Sunday's $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park. Lu Ravi finished second in the race for the second consecutive year, this time finishing a half-length ahead of Lazy Slusan. Last year's winner and this year's 8-5 favorite Heritage of Gold finished in tenth place, with Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) winner Spain fourth.

Mr Ross Upsets Graeme Hall in Razorback

Mr Ross Upsets Graeme Hall in Razorback

Don C. McNeill's homebred Mr Ross earned his second graded stakes win on the year Saturday when the Donnie Von Hemel trainee upset favored Graeme Hall in the $125,000 Razorback Handicap (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park. Under a well-timed ride from jockey Donald Pettinger, Mr Ross rallied down the center of the track to catch Graeme Hall -- winner of last year's Arkansas Derby (gr. II) -- with a furlong to run in the 1 1/16 mile race.

Mr Ross Splashes Home with Essex 'Cap Victory

Mr Ross settled in sixth-place after the opening half mile before launching a wide rally to win the $75,000 Essex Handicap (gr. III) by 1 3/4 lengths on a sloppy track at Oaklawn Park on Saturday. Remington Rock finished second, followed by Maysville Slew, Gatewood, Mister Deville, and Lights On Broadway. Dust On the Bottle dumped rider Tim Doocy after breaking awkwardly from the gate.

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