Fans entered Oaklawn Park's grandstand on opening day.

Fans entered Oaklawn Park's grandstand on opening day.

AP/Danny Johnston

Oaklawn's Opening Weekend Considered Strong

Oaklawn Park's three-day opening weekend lured more than 45,000 patrons for what officials at the Hot Springs, Ark., racetrack said was one of the strongest meet kick-offs in the past 10 years.

On Jan. 25, attendance was 18,142, followed by 17,406 on Jan. 26, and 10,751 on Jan. 27, according to Equibase. On-track handle on the live product only was $1.6 million, $1.7 million, and $978,000, respectively, for the three days. Total handle on Oaklawn races topped $14.1 million for the three-day weekend.

In addition, $273,800 was wagered on "Instant Racing," pari-mutuel video lottery terminals that feature recycled horse races. The Instant Racing handle for Jan. 27 was a one-day record $102,435 even though the crowd was the smallest of the weekend.

For the same opening weekend in 2001, $103,508 was handled on the electronic gaming machines.