Oaklawn Horse Racing

Arkansas Derby
••• Wesley Hitt / Stringer/Getty Images

Oaklawn / Oak Lawn is a thoroughbred racetrack and gaming center located in Hot Springs National Park. Founded in 1904, Oaklawn is best known as the home of the $1 million Arkansas Derby, one of the country’s leading prep races for the Kentucky Derby and the other two Triple Crown races. In 2015, Oaklawn’s already proven 3-year-old stakes program produced the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, American Pharoah.

American Pharoah began his year winning Oaklawn’s $750,000 Rebel Stakes and $1 million Arkansas Derby. Other champions to come out of the Arkansas Derby in recent years include Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex, Curlin and Summer Bird.

Oaklawn hosts an annual live race meet between mid-January and mid-April, but is open year-round for world-class gaming and simulcast racing from around the country. 

Oaklawn Racetrack Basic Information

Oaklawn is located in Hot Springs, AR. It's about an hour drive from Little Rock. Oaklawn Park is located at 2705 Central Ave, Highway 7, just south of Historic downtown Hot Springs.

The live season starts Friday, January 12 in 2018. Gates open 2 hours before post time. Live racing is Thursday - Sundays on most days. Gates usually open at 11. See their website for more details.

Post Times
Weekdays & Sundays - 1:30 p.m.
Saturdays - 1:00 p.m.
Opening and closing day- 12:30

Children are allowed inside the park but you must be 18 to bet.

Children love to watch the horses, so children and families are a frequent sight at Oaklawn.

The price for parking depends on where you park. The average is about $5, but some free parking is available. Gate admission is $2. Racing programs start at $1.75. The minimum bet is $2. You don't have to bet to watch.

Remember, don't take the races too seriously, it's really about having fun. Winning money is just a bonus!

Special Giveaways and Post Times

Dawn at Oaklawn: Get a barn tour every Saturday morning.  It's a “behind the scenes” look at Thoroughbred racing.  This program is free to the public and complimentary coffee and pastries will be served.  There are also barn tours at 7:30, 8, 9 and 9:30 a.m. No advance reservations are necessary.  The last Dawn at Oaklawn of the season is on the Friday before Derby Day.  It's a special Derby Day edition, to check out the contenders.  There is no Dawn at Oaklawn on Derby Day. 

Here are some examples of special events often held during racing season at Oaklawn:

  • Corned Beef Day:  Oaklawn is world famous for its corned beef sandwiches and they are only 50 cents on Corned Beef Day.
  • Bobblehead Day: American Pharaoh Bobblehorses while supplies last.
  • President's Day: Progressive cash giveaway.
  • Rebel Stakes Day: $900,000 stakes.
  • Boat and Truck Giveaway
  • Racing Festival of the South
  • Arkansas Derby: The 2018 Arkansas Derby will be held on Saturday, April 14th.

Electronic Gaming

Oaklawn has a wide variety of electronic games. Their electric gaming is almost like a casino.

The gaming area features games including Wheel of Fortune, The Flintstones, Dragon Rising and Reel ‘em In. Oaklawn also features Black Jack with real cards, Poker and a High Limits area. They have video poker, instant racing and games similar to slots and blackjack. They play Plinko on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Simulcast

Oaklawn simulcasts races from tracks throughout the country on a daily basis. From April – December, the Post Time Pavilion is open offering a Vegas-style racebook with large screen monitors and carol seats with individual TVs. See the schedule on their website.

How to Bet

For individual bets, you can bet on your horse to win, place or show. A win bet is where the horse must come in first. A place bet is where the horse must come in first or second. A show bet is when a horse must in first, second or third.

Oaklawn also offers daily doubles, Pick3s and CLASSIX®, a Pick 6 wager, as well as exactas and trifectas. The daily double is a two horse bet. For the daily double, you must pick the horse that wins two consecutive races. Oaklawn has an early daily double for the first two races of the day and a later daily double. The daily double will be featured in the racing program. A Pick3 is where you must pick the winner for 3 consecutive races.

An exacta bet is a two horse bet. Your horses must finish 1st and 2nd in the exact order. A trifecta is a three horse bet. Your horses must finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the exact order. You can make exacta and trifecta bets in any race.

Oaklawn Anywhere

Oaklawn fans can now enjoy the races from the anywhere by logging into OaklawnAnywhere.com using any smartphone, tablet or personal computer. This site allows fans to track horses and bet on races, with the money staying in Arkansas. It’s free to open an account and members will have access to all the Oaklawn races as well as races from the most popular U.S. and international tracks. This is only available for Arkansas residents.