Oaklawn 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 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.
Hours of Operation / Promotions / Contact:
The live season starts Saturday, January 13 in 2018. Gates open 2 hours before post time. Live racing is Thursday – Sundays on most days.
Gates usually open at 11.
Weekdays & Sundays – 1:30 p.m.
Saturdays – 1:00 p.m.
Opening and closing day- 12:30
Special Giveaways and Post Times
- Every Saturday: 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 will also be barn tours at 7:30, 8, 9 and 9:30 a.m. No advance reservations are necessary. The last Dawn at Oaklwan will be on Friday, April 15. It’s a special Derby Day edition, to check out the contenders. There will not be a Dawn at Oaklawn on Derby Day.
- January 13: Corned Beef Day: Oaklawn is world famous for its corned beef sandwiches and they are only 50 cents today.
- January 15: Bobblehead Day: American Pharaoh Bobblehorses while supplies last.
- February 12: President’s Day: Progressive cash giveaway.
- March 16: Rebel Stakes Day: $900,000 stakes.
- March 20: Boat and Truck Giveaway
- April 6-13: Racing Festival of the South
- April 13: Arkansas Derby
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!
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.
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.
Children are allowed inside the park but you must be 18 to bet. I often see children and families when I visit Oaklawn. Children love to watch the horses.
More about Hot Springs:
Looking for Hot Springs information? My Hot Springs travel planning guide has attractions, places to eat and more.
The website features a schedule, betting information, seating charts and more.
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 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.