No Human or Equine Injuries in Small Oaklawn Fire

Dorm room fire has displaced several residents.

No people or horses were injured March 6 after a small fire in a dorm room on the Oaklawn Park backstretch.

Track spokeswoman Jennifer Hoyt said the fire occurred at about 5:45 a.m. local time Tuesday in a dorm above the Swaps barn on the backstretch of the Hot Springs, Ark. track. She said firefighters quickly responded and put out the fire before it spread.

Hoyt said about a half-dozen residents were displaced by the dorm fire. She said Tuesday morning that track officials were assisting them in relocation efforts.

About 40 horses were moved from the barn during the fire. They were able to return to their stalls in the same barn by about 7 a.m.

“It was impressive to see our horsemen working together, helping one another,” Hoyt said. “They’ll compete on the track but when somebody’s in need, they all just jump in.”

Track Superintendents to Meet in March at Oaklawn Park

Event is open to all track superintendents and staff.

Track Superintendents Field Day March 25-27 at Oaklawn Park.

Event founder Roy Smith said the event is open to all track superintendents and staff.

“We welcome and urge tracks to invest in sending your team,” Smith said. “The information shared and the industry networking are valuable resources relied upon long after the event concludes”

Featured speakers include: On Track Consulting with Javier Barajas, Dr. Kathy Anderson, DVM, Eric Jackson of Oaklawn Park, Dr. Scott McClure, DVM, Dr. Andy Roberts, DVM, Scott Dutile with Dale Carnegie, and a jockey panel (Gary Stevens, Alex Birzer, Channing Hill).

Attending Superintendents will be eligible to win prizes like the use of an Exmark Zero-Turn Mower and a John Deere Gator. Sponsors pay for the event; attendees only need to cover lodging and travel expense.

The superintendents are an independent group which meets annually to discuss best practices related to maintenance, safety, and operational issues for racing and training facilities worldwide.

“We look forward to welcoming all participants to Oaklawn for some Southern hospitality. We are honored to host the event and know it is a worthy investment attending, said plant superintendent John Hopkins.

All are encouraged to attend, whether it is a Thoroughbred track, Standardbred track or training facility.

The 2018 sponsors include host track Oaklawn Park, and the 2018 Title Sponsor is Equine Equipment.

Other event sponsors include: Toro, Exmark, Massey Ferguson, Farm Paint, Rhino AG, Horsemen’s Track and Supply, Double R Manufacturing, NTRA Advantage, Sherwin Williams, John Deere, Arbico Organics, Sun Coast Commercial, Clear Span, Stabilizer Solutions, Batts, Inc., On Track Consulting, Indiana Grand Racing & Casinoand Keeneland.

Sunday, March 25

1:00 PM            Day of Racing at Oaklawn Park

6:00 PM            Welcome Reception sponsored by Double R Stalls & Horsemen’s Track & Equipment

Monday, March 26

7:15AM            Breakfast sponsored by Duralock Performance Fencing

8:00AM            Welcome to Oaklawn Park – Moderator: Nancy Ury-Holthus

8:15AM            Oaklawn History, Eric Jackson

9:00AM            Dr Kathy Anderson, DVM

10:00AM          John Deere, Auston Till

10:30AM          Break sponsored by Rhino Ag

10:45AM          Dr Scott McClure, DVM

11:45AM          Group Photo

12:15PM          Lunch sponsored by On Track Consulting, Javier Barajas

1:15 PM           New Turf Courses, Glen Kozak & Irwin Driedger

2:15-4:15PM    Vendor Workshops & Equipment Demonstrations

4:15 PM           Load Trolleys

4:30 PM           Transportation to Dinner Cruise

5-8 PM    Dinner Cruise sponsored by Toro & eXmark; grand prize winner announced

Tuesday, March 27

7:15AM            Breakfast sponsored by Equine Equipment

8:00AM            Dr Andy Roberts, DVM

9:00AM            Harness Track Panel, Gary Wolfe & Greg Cardenas

9:45AM            Break sponsored by Indiana Grand & Keeneland Race Course

10:00AM          Scott Dutile with Dale Carnegie sponsored by Massey Ferguson

11:00AM          Racetrack Geometry, Dr Mick Peterson

12:00PM          Lunch sponsored by John Deere

1:00PM            Jockey Panel, Gary Stevens, Alex Birzer & Channing Hill

2:00PM            Track Superintendent Trivia & Cash Prizes!

2:30PM            Oaklawn On-Track, Kevin Seymour

3:00PM            GRAND PRIZE WINNERS ANNOUNCED!  John Deere Gator

3:05PM            Superintendent Round Table (Track Supers only)

6:00PM            Dinner sponsored by Oaklawn Park


Hot Springs, Ark. (Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018) – The richest purses in the Midwest just got richer.

Effective Saturday, Feb. 17, Oaklawn is increasing all allowance and maiden special weight races by $3,000. Allowance races will range from $79,000 to as high as $83,000. Maiden special weight races will increase to $78,000 from $75,000.

In addition, all claiming races and maiden claiming races with a claiming price of at least $30,000 will receive a $2,000 per race boost.
These increases mark the 18th consecutive year that Oaklawn has increased purses.

“Our goal is to offer the best purses in the country along with the most competitive racing,” General Manager Wayne Smith said. “These increases are another step in that direction and our fans are responding. We are attracting some of the largest crowds in racing. And, our fans are getting to see some of the best owners, trainers and jockeys from all over the country competing for record purses. We couldn’t be more excited heading into the final two months of our season.”

Oaklawn’s Presidents’ Day card, Feb. 19, will feature the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds on the Kentucky Derby trail and the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3), which last year launched the Horse of the Year campaign of Gun Runner. The 2018 meet runs through Saturday, April 14.

Oaklawn Issues Ban Amid EHV-1 Positives

Horses from Belmont Park and Laurel Park will not be allowed on the grounds.


Following the news of equine herpesvirus-1 positives at both Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., and Laurel Park in Baltimore, Md., Oaklawn Park announced Jan. 21 that horses stabled at either track will be prohibited from entering the Hot Springs, Ark., grounds until further notice.

The first case of EHV-1 was reported by the New York Racing Association after an unraced 3-year-old trained by Linda Rice from Belmont’s Barn 44 tested positive Jan. 9.

NYRA placed the horse in an isolation barn immediately after the first positive test was revealed at the Cornell Ruffian Equine Hospital, where the horse was treated for a fever and what was described by officials as “a mild respiratory issue.”

All horses in Barn 44 were then placed under quarantine and barred from racing at Aqueduct Racetrack or training with other horses.

Subsequently, the Maryland Jockey Club issued a ban of three horses housed in Barn 44 that were scheduled to run in the Jan. 20 Fire Plug Stakes at Laurel.

A follow-up test of the initial affected horse returned positive Jan. 19, which resulted in an extension of the precautionary quarantine at Belmont.

Sal Sinatra, president and general manager of the Maryland Jockey Club, issued a statement Jan. 20 that a horse who shipped to Laurel tested positive for EHV-1.

The horse was removed from the grounds and the barn he was stabled in was placed under quarantine. A follow-up test is scheduled for Jan. 23. Plans call for quarantine restrictions to remain in place until Jan. 30 if the horse should test positive a second time.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture and University of Pennsylvania also reported a horse transported from a Baltimore County farm to the New Bolton Center was euthanized Jan. 18 after testing positive for EHV-1.

“(On Jan. 16) a horse that had been hospitalized for an unrelated medical issue developed signs compatible with equine herpes myeloencephalopathy and tested positive for equine herpesvirus,” a release on the New Bolton Center’s website stated.

The release also stated: “The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has traced and quarantined horses suspected of having been exposed to the virus that had already left New Bolton Center prior to the diagnosis of EHM at that location. In Pennsylvania orders of special quarantine have been posted at premises that received these potentially exposed animals to control the spread of this disease.”

The Maryland Department of Agriculture has urged caretakers to watch their horses for any neurological symptoms and to monitor for fever.


As a lasting tribute to the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, who began his historic campaign at Oaklawn, the track will unveil a life-size bronze statue of American Pharoah Thursday, Jan. 11 at 11 a.m. Oaklawn opens for its 114th live racing season Jan. 12 with a special 12:30 p.m. first post.

Zayat Stables LLC.’s American Pharoah, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, began his 3-year-old season by winning the 2015 Rebel Stakes (G2) and then returned four weeks later to win the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) before capturing the Kentucky Derby (G1), Preakness (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1). He retired at the end of 2015 after also winning the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

“American Pharoah took a couple of detours on his way to the Triple Crown. But, running and winning twice at Oaklawn he found the stride, the resilience and the will to win that enabled him to power through the Derby, Preakness and Belmont,” Baffert said.

The bronze statue, by artist James Peniston, was commissioned by the late Charles Cella and is the focal point of a newly redesigned entrance to the Grandstand. The new, park-like setting will greet guests in 2018.

“We are extremely honored,” said Justin Zayat, son of owner Ahmed Zayat and Racing Manager for Zayat Stables. “Oaklawn has always been a track we love and have had great success at. Winning the Rebel and Arkansas Derby was a great foundation for American Pharoah and it was after his Arkansas Derby that we knew we had something truly special.”

“This statue is not only a lasting tribute to American Pharoah, but also to my father, Charles Cella,” Oaklawn President Louis Cella said. “His vision for the track was to have the very best 3-year-olds come through Hot Springs on their way to the Triple Crown races. His dream started coming true in 2004, the year Smarty Jones won the Rebel, Arkansas Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and came full circle when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown. We look forward to continuing my father’s legacy by attracting the top horses for years to come.”

The unveiling will be open to the public. For more information, visit

Wiggins Named Integrity Officer for Oaklawn Park

Former trainer will assume the role for 2018 season.


Oaklawn Jockey Club has named Hal Wiggins, one of the most respected horsemen and racing officials in the Midwest, to the newly created position of Racing Integrity Officer.

In this new position, Wiggins will serve as a liaison between Oaklawn Management, the Board of Stewards and key Arkansas Racing Commission staff, working to ensure Oaklawn’s racing program is conducted at the highest standards.

“The Oaklawn family is excited to announce Hal Wiggins as our Integrity Officer, a newly created position designed just for an individual such as he, who has the knowledge, experience and respect of his fellow horsemen,” Louis Cella, Oaklawn’s vice-president, said. “We strive to be forward thinking in all things racing and this is another example of our commitment to integrity.”

Arkansas Racing Commission Chairman Alex Lieblong agrees. “This sends an additional message that Oaklawn takes the integrity of the sport very seriously,” said Lieblong said. “I applaud them for creating this position and I applaud them for hiring Hal. I don’t think you could have asked for a better person. He’s been in racing a long time and knows when something doesn’t smell right. He also has a good way of communicating. If you can’t get along with Hal, then something else is wrong.”

For more than 30 years Wiggins was a successful horsemen, best known as the original trainer of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, who won both Oaklawn’s 2009 Martha Washington and Fantasy Stakes while under his care. Other top runners include multiple stakes winner Chorwon, Morris Code, Cielo Gold and Leo’s Gypsy Dancer.  In recent years, he has worked as a Steward as well as serving on the Board of Directors of the Texas Thoroughbred Association and as President of the Paddock Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to Thoroughbred aftercare.

“I don’t think Oaklawn could have found a better person to work with the horsemen in protecting the integrity of our sport,” Arkansas H.B.P.A. President Linda Gaston said.  “Hal’s a horseman first and we know he’ll do a wonderful job in this new position.”

“My hat is off to Oaklawn for creating this position,” Wiggins said. “The Oaklawn operation has a splendid national reputation and I’m honored to have the opportunity to be a part of it.  This is a new position, and we’ll all be learning together. But, I’m convinced we can make a difference, for the horsemen and the fan.  I’m really looking forward to it.”

Oaklawn opens for the 2018 live season Friday, Jan. 12 and the 57-day meet continues through Saturday, April 14. For more information, visit


Hot Springs, Ark. (Friday, July 28, 2017) – Oaklawn will offer fans the chance to experience the thrills of Thoroughbred ownership in a low-risk, low-cost fashion with the debut of the Oaklawn Racing Club just in time for the 2018 live racing season.

The Oaklawn Racing Club will offer up to 200 shares at $500 each in a horse that will be purchased privately and trained by multiple stakes-winning Oaklawn trainer and native Arkansan Ron Moquett. The plan is for Moquett to identify and purchase an unraced 2-year-old with the goal of starting one or two times this fall in preparation for its 3-year-old season at Oaklawn. The 2018 season runs Jan. 12 – April 14.

“Oaklawn has one of the greatest fan bases in the country and we know there will be a lot of interest in our Racing Club,” General Manager Wayne Smith said. “There’s nothing more exciting than having the opportunity to be involved in Thoroughbred racehorse ownership. We’re looking forward to working with Ron and hopefully offering that thrill to Oaklawn Racing Club members.”

“I’m really excited to be part of the Oaklawn Racing Club,” said Moquett, who has trained major contenders in Oaklawn’s 3-year-old stakes program the last three years with Far Right, Whitmore and Petrov. “This is a great way for a racing fan to get the experience without all the risks that can come with owning a Thoroughbred. We look forward to having a lot of fun with the group and their horse.”

Benefits of membership include regular email updates on the horse, access to a member only Facebook page for regular pictures, videos and updates on the horse, exclusive club events during the 2018 Oaklawn live meet and two free reserved seats every time the Oaklawn Racing Club horse runs (excluding Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby days).

The Oaklawn Racing Club was formed with the intention of being a 501(c)(7) not-for-profit social club organized for pleasure, recreational and other non-profitable purposes. Members should not join with any profit motive or expectation of profit.

Membership shares can only be purchased through the Oaklawn website,, beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9. Only one membership per person will be allowed and all participants must by at least 18-years-old to participate.

For more information, visit or email

Registration is Open for Trainers’ Exam Prep Class at Remington Park

The Elite Program, Inc. will present their Trainers’ Exam Prep Class at Remington Park, Oklahoma City August 17-19. Registration is open and interested persons may register and guarantee a spot in that class at or
Click here for more information and to register

Trainer Programs


  • Focus on information important to both new and experienced trainers
  • Trainer’s Elite 301 prepares aspiring trainers for a state’s trainers licensing exam.
  • Trainer’s seminars on a single topic of current interest to trainers
  • Offered at times and locations convenient to trainers


Trainer Elite 301


Short Course on principles of training and rules of racing preparing students to take state trainers licensing exam. (State licensing exams administered by respective state and completion of this class does not guarantee licensing.) A complete list of topics is available from the left hand menu. Tuition: $250 (includes loose-leaf bound handout materials, refreshments and CD of materials).
For more information contact
C. Reid McLellan, PhD 859-321-4377



Hot Springs, Ark. (Sunday, March 12, 2017) – One of the richest racing seasons in the country just got richer.

Oaklawn, which already has the highest purses in the country for this time of year, is increasing purses as much as $8,000 per race effective Saturday, March 18, thanks to strong business across the board and good weather.

Purses for Maiden Special Weights will increase from $72,000 to $80,000 and Allowance races will be as high as $84,000 after the starting the season as high as $76,000.

Saturday’s card was already going to be the second richest of the meet with the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2), $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) and the $250,000 Essex Handicap included in the 11-race card. With the purse increase, the total purses for the day should exceed $2 million.

“The Rebel Stakes is no longer just a stepping stone to the Arkansas Derby,” Assistant General Manager Wayne Smith said. “It stands on its own merit as one of the leading preps for the Triple Crown races. When you add in the Azeri and the Essex, you get one of the strongest days of racing anywhere – and it just gets better with these purse bumps that will have a positive impact on the under card races and the rest of our season.”

Also impacted by the purse increase will be all starter allowance races; claiming races with a claiming price of $30,000 or higher;  and maiden claiming races with a claiming price of $30,000 or higher – all with a $2,000 per race bump.

The popular Trail’s End, the 1 ¾-miles starter allowance race that traditionally ends Oaklawn’s season, also will receive a boost, from $50,000 to $55,000.

“For 113 years, Oaklawn’s motto has been ‘racing comes first,’” Smith said. “Our gaming operation exists to create a vibrant racing product. This year, we have benefited from strong business in racing and gaming, which is allowing us to increase purses during the season for the ninth consecutive year – that’s an exceptional run.”

The 2017 Oaklawn meet runs through Saturday, April 15.

Back to top