Oaklawn News

Following the news that Southland Racing and Gaming in West Memphis plans to phase out dog racing over the next few years, Louis Cella, President of Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, made it clear there are no such plans at his facility.

“Racing has been Oaklawn’s DNA for 115 years and I plan to continue the legacy my family began in 1904,” said Cella. “As the fourth generation of my family to be at the helm of Oaklawn, I can unequivocally state we are completely dedicated to the great sport of Thoroughbred racing.”

Although Oaklawn is in the midst of a hundred million dollar expansion project that will include a hotel and multi-events center, Cella points out Oaklawn is simultaneously spending millions on racing.

“Since 2015, we have built 14 new barns and have plans to build several more next year,” Cella said. “We’ve also built a new Track Kitchen and stable gate this year for the benefit of our horsemen. Plus, we have implemented a rigorous maintenance program for our track, to make it one of the best in the country.”

Oaklawn is also adding 1,000 tons of air conditioning to the grandstand. That project will be complete by the end of 2019.

Cella noted Oaklawn has increased purses for 12 consecutive years and expects over $35 million purse distribution in 2020. In another first for Oaklawn, that distribution will feature four $1 million stakes races starting in 2020.

“Our goal is for Oaklawn to become a destination casino and resort that ensures our status as the number one tourism attraction in Arkansas,” Cella said. “And, at the very center of the entire enterprise will be one of the premier racing programs in all of North America.”

Oaklawn’s 57-day live meet begins Friday, Jan. 24, 2020 and continues through Saturday, May 2.