Oaklawn To Purchase Turf Catering Assets

Oaklawn Jockey Club has purchased the assets of Turf Catering Inc., its longtime food service provider. Turf Catering, owned by the Wolken family of Hot Springs, Ark., has provided food service for Oaklawn since the track reopened in 1934.

The assets mostly amount to equipment. Turf Catering's liquor permit at Oaklawn expired at the end of June, but was recently renewed, Oaklawn general manager Eric Jackson said.

Jackson said he hopes the deal is a “win-win situation for all concerned.”

Turf Catering also handles food service for Keeneland in Lexington and the Hot Springs Convention Center. Larry Wolken retired as its president a few years ago. Son Brad Wolken took over and remains president.

“This is their request (to leave),” Jackson said. “They are not getting out of Oaklawn because they're making piles and piles of money. We know that when we take over the food and beverage business that we're probably going to lose money.

“We want to do what's fair for the Turf employees, as well as our own,” Jackson said. “Turf has a splendid reputation for food service in sports, and from square one we want to continue that.”

Patrons have bemoaned what they believe to be high concession prices at Oaklawn, but Jackson said they are no higher than those at Lone Star Park, Louisiana Downs, or Remington Park, all of which are located in the Mid-South region.