HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KARK) — Oaklawn Park is preparing for the 2020 live season which kicks off on Friday.
First posts for the opening three-day week of racing are 12:30 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
Oaklawn, which made history last year when it split the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) into two $750,000 divisions, is kicking off the season with another significant stakes split. On Saturday, Jan. 25 (the day after the live meet begins), Oaklawn will split the 31st running of the $100,000 Fifth Season into two $100,000 races due to the large number of four-year-olds and above wanting to run.
“We are thrilled to be able to start the 2020 season with a bang by splitting a stakes race so early in the meet,” said Oaklawn President Louis Cella. “We are honored to have so many older horses wanting to compete and look forward to a great day of racing.”
The two $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes races will each feature eight-horse fields for an impressive 16 horses expressing interest in one stakes race. The day will also be highlighted by the $100,000 Pippin Stakes, which drew a full field of 11 horses.
Also, on Saturday, guests will enjoy the ever-popular Oaklawn tradition of Corned Beef Day where the public can purchase $.50 corned beef sandwiches and $.10 soft drinks.
“Saturday of opening weekend is always a huge hit,” Oaklawn General Manager Wayne Smith said. “Our race fans love being able to join us in honoring the history of Oaklawn on the day we offer our famous corned beef sandwiches for just 50 cents. We hope to see everyone here this weekend with the $150,000 Smarty Jones on Friday and big races on Saturday and Sunday.”
The $150,000 Smarty Jones kicks off the live meet on Friday with a nine-horse field. It is also the first Kentucky Derby prep race of the season offering 17 total points (10/4/2/1) towards eligibility in the May 2nd Kentucky Derby.
“With our initial races filling up so quickly, we are confident that we have an amazing season ahead,” added Smith. “We recently completed an unprecedented completion of six new barns in addition to a multitude of improvements, enhancements, and refurbishments in the grandstand, which the fans will love. We are kicking off ‘a new level of racing’ with everything we’ll be offering this year, and the full fields right off the bat show that the horsemen and the racing industry as a whole are as excited as we are about being at Oaklawn.”
Oaklawn’s 2020 live meet continues through Saturday, May 2.
Click here for the full schedule.