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 Park in Hot Springs, Ark., saw significant decreases in attendance and on-track handle for its 52-day meet that ended April 15.
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.
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.
Bonapaw went to the lead and never looked back Thursday, capturing the grade III Count Fleet Sprint H. in convincing fashion by 4 3/4 lengths at Oaklawn.
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.
Ogden Phipps' 4-year-old homebred Traditionally earned his first stakes win Saturday, upsetting 6-5 favorite Wooden Phone and Sir Bear in the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park. The win marks the third in four starts on the year for the regally bred Traditionally, a son of leading sire Mr. Prospector and broodmare of the year and champion Personal Ensign.
Crafty Shaw charged along the rail in deep stretch Saturday at Oaklawn Park to win the $100,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. III) by three-quarter lengths. Arctic Boy finished second, a half-length in front of Strike It Smart. It was a neck farther back to 3-2 favorite Son of Rocket.
Son of Rocket attempts rare hat trick in Saturday's Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Heritage of Gold began her 6-year-old campaign the same way she started her 5-year-old season – defeating Lu Ravi in the Oaklawn Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III). The one-two finishers from last year's renewal of the $200,000 race duplicated their performances Sunday at Oaklawn Park. This year the exacta returned $9.60.
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.
Graeme Hall will face eight challengers in Saturday's $125,000 Razorback Handicap (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park. The son of Dehere is highweighted at 120 pounds for the mile and a sixteenth feature, and will get the services of jockey Robby Albarado.
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.
K One King, who beat Almutawakel, Cat Thief, and Budroyale in winning the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. I) in April, has been purchased by Graham J. Beck's Gainesway Farm and will stand for $6,500 in 2001 at that Lexington nursery.
An Arkansas judge today dismissed a lawsuit aimed at shutting down an electronic racing game offered at Oaklawn Park.
Oaklawn Jockey Club has purchased the assets of Turf Catering Inc., its longtime food service provider.
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