Oaklawn Park a Favorite With Fans and Horsemen

The Life

As a track with a 112-year history, Oaklawn Park is a destination for top jockeys, owners, trainers and ardent fans from Arkansas and beyond. Here, supporters share why they love Oaklawn Park.

“I love the history at Oaklawn. It’s like Wrigley field. It’s like the track says, ‘We’re Oaklawn. We are what we are. You’re going to love it. So come on.’”

-Toby Keith, country music star and owner of Dream Walkin’ Farms

TOBY KEITH AT OAKLAWN

“It was amazing. There were license plates from everywhere. People came from all over to have fun at this quaint little track in this quaint little city.”

-Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron at the 2015 Oaklawn Kickoff Banquet

"I've been coming to Hot Springs since 1984 or 1985. I don't think I've ever been anywhere where people love racing as much as they do in Arkansas. It's a dead heat between Arkansas and Kentucky. The racing is quality, and we're excited to come back. I'm sending 30 really good horses."

-Multiple Grade 1-winning trainer Kenny McPeek

“I like the overall atmosphere of the racing here. The fan base is very appreciative and very strong. I also like the program here. The racing department has set up a schedule that lets you develop a 3-year-old and get ready for a classic. Historically, the horses that have left here have done well in the classics.”

-Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas

D. WAYNE LUKAS

“I began to schedule my cases for the mornings during the racing season, just so I could be at Oaklawn every afternoon—in fact, the doctors and nurses used to joke, ‘God help the patients after the bugle blows.’”

-Virginia Kelley, a nurse anesthetist and mother of President Bill Clinton in her book Leading with My Heart

“People just love the horse races at Oaklawn. You don’t find a fan base like that anywhere else. People are so excited about racing. There’s lots of tradition there and great horse racing.”

-Recently retired jockey Cliff Berry, the all-time leading rider at Remington Park and Lone Star Park and two-time Oaklawn riding champ

“Oaklawn is home. I appreciate the increased purses that have attracted a higher quality of Thoroughbreds.” 

-Willis Horton, owner of champion racehorses Will Take Charge and Take Charge Brandi

WILLIS HORTON AND WILL TAKE CHARGE

“The racing is really good at Oaklawn. It’s a great track for Vegas with its full fields and prep races for the Triple Crown.”

-Johnny Avello, Executive Director of Race and Sports Operations at Wynn Las Vegas

“There’s a lot of energy here.”

-Ahmed Zayat, owner of American Pharoah, on the day of Pharoah’s Rebel Stakes win

“You’re talking about A+ racing right here. The racing just stays exciting throughout the meet.”

-Jockey Jon Court, who has one Oaklawn riding title and two Arkansas Derby victories on his resume, in an interview with Horse Racing Radio Network

“We love it here.”

-Justin Zayat, racing and stallion manager for Zayat Stables

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