Oak­lawn sets record han­dle of $16M

The Sentinel-Record - - FRONT PAGE - BETH REED

Oak­lawn Park set an all-source record han­dle of more than $16 mil­lion Satur­day, sur­pass­ing a record set 18 years ago.

The to­tal sin­gle-day, all-source han­dle of $16,159,771.31 sur­passed the pre­vi­ous sin­gle-day han­dle record of $15.1 mil­lion set on Derby Day in 2000, Oak­lawn of­fi­cials said Mon­day.

Mag­num Moon wowed rac­ing fans as he crossed the fin­ish line and claimed his place as the win­ner of the 82nd Arkansas Derby, and will ad­vance to Churchill Downs for the Ken­tucky Derby on May 5.

Clear skies and cool tem­per­a­tures made for a pleas­ant day for the 64,500 fans in at­ten­dance, and de­spite cooler north­ern winds later in the day, Di­rec­tor of Rac­ing David Longinotti said “folks stayed around.”

Horse­men, he said, were also “very pleased” with the meet as a whole.

“Most of what you hear from the horse­men is it’s kind of like the last day of high school — it’s bit­ter­sweet,” Longinotti said.

Even with the an­nounce­ment Thurs­day of the new dates for the 2019 live meet, which will start later in the month, on Jan. 25, and end with the Ken­tucky Derby on May 4, Longinotti said Oak­lawn is “still in the process of putting this sea­son to bed.”

“As of right now, we know where the Arkansas Derby will be, and we know where the Rebel Stakes will be and the South­west (Stakes),” he said. “I imag­ine those talks will start very soon, but that’s pretty much what we know right now.”

The com­mu­nity sup­port of Oak­lawn and its fans, he said, is some­thing the track is al­ways proud of.

“I al­ways say if we can get some­one to Hot Springs one time, whether they’re a rac­ing fan or a horse­man, they’re go­ing to want to come back,” Longinotti said. “That’s al­ways true.”

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