Successful Oaklawn Park Meet Ends on High Note

Oaklawn Park posted gains in attendance and both on-track and total handle during the Arkansas track's 52-day meet which concluded Saturday, when 52,122 fans attended for Arkansas Derby day.

For the meet, attendance rose to 622,983, up 6.5 percent from a year ago. On-track handle and total handle increased 2.3 percent and 11.3 percent, respectively. Handle for the track's "Instant Racing" was $6.5 million during the race meet, up 283 percent from a year ago when the electronic pari-mutuel game took in $1.7 million.

The on-track crowd on Arkansas Derby day wagered $3,429,241, with total handle for the day reaching just over $9 million.

The track raised purses on four occasions during the meet.

"Momentum is so important," Pat Pope, the track's racing secretary said. "We started fast with full fields and great weather, and we kept going while bucking the national trend, and we were delighted to be able to reward the horsemen for their support. ... And look at closing day. Despite losing horses toward the end of the meet, we had 127 horses entered for our 12 races on closing day. That is remarkable."