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Opening day at Oaklawn

Life is back at the Oaklawn. After nine long months, the main hall is noisy again. But faithful fans tune it out, betting on the best horse and jockey team.
Opening day at Oaklawn (Dustin Barnes/FOX16)
Opening day at Oaklawn (Dustin Barnes/FOX16)
Opening day at Oaklawn (Dustin Barnes/FOX16)
Opening day at Oaklawn (Dustin Barnes/FOX16)
HOT SPRINGS, AR - Life is back at the Oaklawn. After nine long months, the main hall is noisy again. But faithful fans tune it out, betting on the best horse and jockey team.

Dale Dixon has been coming here for more than 20 years.

“I just cannot miss opening day and I have to put a lot of things aside to get over here but I do.”

During the off season, Dixon keeps tabs on the horse and jockey so he won’t lose out when they come to Arkansas.

“It’s pretty much luck, but there’s a skill to it if you plan on doing good,” he says.

Oaklawn officials hope to capitalize on last season’s success – a season where didn’t have to cancel not a single race. In 2011, they canceled 8 of them due to rain.

“We’re starting to see more people," Jennifer Hoyt with Oaklawn says. "We’re hoping the weather holds out and we’re going to have a record breaking season.”

Here’s one indication things might go well: the Oaklawn Jockey Club – where the exclusive pay a hefty price to watch the races – is booked already.

Aside from betting and those staple corned beef sandwiches, Dixon looks forward to seeing friends who also come every year.

“Everybody is on a first name basis and it’s like a family gathering over here.

As they gear up for what they hope turns out to be a profitable season.
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