Oakland Park’s opening day was postponed on January 14 due to an ice track caused by six inches of snow and five days of freezing temperatures, a disaster for the town’s tourism, and an incredibly rare incident in the 106-year history of the track. But the next day, more than 20,000 people showed up, which isn’t bad for a town of 40,000 people.
“This was a social gathering. Experienced track commentator Terry Wallace commented, “It’s like they were all liberated from jail.” “In this case, the ‘prison’ could have been the cabin fever from earlier in the week’s snowstorm.”
The Oaklawn crowds are having a good time.
Wallace, who has been calling the races at Oaklawn since 1975, said the audience “had a good time.” They appear to take both winning and losing in stride and then move on, and they’re even taking their time leaving.”
Smarty Jones was a competitor in this race.
Oaklawn is regarded as one of the sport’s more prestigious racing tracks, having undergone multiple restorations throughout the years. It has drawn top jockeys like Pat Day and a slew of horses seeking to utilize the Arkansas Derby as a stepping stone to the Kentucky Derby as Smarty Jones did in 2004. During the 1980s, when thoroughbred racing was at its pinnacle, Oaklawn Park drew crowds of up to 70,000 people.
There are various eateries on the track, three of which are attractions in and of themselves.
The Oaklawn Club, a 39-year-old private club with a Southern flair, is located on Oaklawn’s fifth floor. It has a large collection of original equine art on exhibit.
Lagniappes is a laid-back eatery noted for its $8.50 hot corned beef sandwich and weekend late-night brunch buffet.
The Carousel Terrace is a relaxed but sophisticated restaurant with vintage carousel horses and music boxes.
Horse Racing Isn’t Everything.
But there’s more to Hot Springs than racing. It has some of the country’s most famous bathing waters, and its downtown area is a genuine historic district.
The hot springs area was designated as a federal reservation by Congress in 1832, making it “the first federally protected place in the national park system” and giving it the moniker “America’s First Resort,” according to the National Park Service.
Fordyce Bathhouse is a bathhouse in Fordyce, England.
The Hot Springs National Park Visitor Center, which is housed in the Fordyce Bathhouse, is the best spot to start a tour of the town. On the historic bathhouse row, the Fordyce was the most popular hangout. Fordyce closed in 1962 and was eventually turned into a museum to recreate the bathhouse as it was in the early twentieth century, complete with marble walls, statues, and stained glass ceilings. The steaming baths that were supplied there were depicted in movies.
The Magic Springs amusement park, Crystal Falls water park, modern spas, and Lake Hamilton riverboat cruises all serve as reminders of the town’s close relationship with water, particularly the natural thermal springs that previously served bathhouse row.