Winter thunderland

19,633 bask at track’s earliest opening

Posted: January 12, 2013 at 2:44 a.m.

Fans stood shoulder to shoulder on the Oaklawn Park apron Friday in Hot Springs as horses broke from the gate to start the 2013 live racing season, the track’s earliest opening. Track officials said 60-degree temperatures, after last month’s winter storm, might have helped lure a crowd of 19,633, an 8.5-percent increase in on-track attendance over a year ago. On-track wagering was $1,119,168.50, a 10-percent increase over last year’s opening.

The numbers were like old times.

Oaklawn's Opening Day

Horses rumble down the track during Oaklawn Park's opening day in Hot Springs. (By Stephen B. Thornton)
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Mild weather with a high of 63 helped contribute to an opening-day crowd of 19,633 spectators Friday at Oaklawn Park in Hot S... (By: Stephen B. Thornton)

Patrons, jockeys and officials flocked to Oaklawn Park on Friday for the first day of the 2013 season. While fans saw is as the beginning of the racing year in Hot Springs, officials breathed a sigh of relief as months of preparation was put into action.


Oaklawn Park opens for 2013 season


Congenial (1) and jockey Robby Albarado charge out of the gate to start Friday’s first race, which Congenial won by 2 1/2 le... (By: Stephen B. Thornton)


Now and Zen, with jockey Alex Cintron aboard, pulls ahead on the home stretch to win the fifth race at Oaklawn Park on Friday... (By: Stephen B. Thornton)


Eric Resendiz, 10, of Malvern, watches the races Friday in Hot Springs. He has two uncles who are professional jockeys. (By: Stephen B. Thornton)

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Sports, Pages 19 on 01/12/2013


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