A Preview of the Oaklawn 2019 Meet

I enjoy going to Oaklawn Racing and Gaming on warm, sunny days when it’s nice to be outside watching the horses run. This was not one of those days. It was 39 degrees and the wind was whipping my hair around as I stood just outside the trainers’ stand. But the early morning sun was streaming low across the track and horses are beautiful creatures in any weather. Cold or not, I was excited to be here. It was just before Christmas – over a month before opening day of the 2019 racing season – but 807 horses, nearly half of those expected, were already on the grounds. I’d arrived at 7:30 a.m. to watch them run and discuss some highlights of this 115th year of Oaklawn – a year to go down in the history books for sure.

“There is definitely a buzz in the air going into this season,” said Media Relations Manager Jennifer Hoyt.

Some big announcements have been coming out of Oaklawn in recent months, most notably a $100 million-plus expansion. One of the largest hospitality investments in Arkansas’ history, it will include the construction of a high-rise hotel, an event center, and an expanded gaming area. Work on the project will begin following the completion of the 2019 racing season but there are several exciting things to look forward to this season as well, including three new stakes races and a shift in the 2019 racing schedule…