Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism

A premier thoroughbred racetrack since 1904, Oaklawn draws more than a million visitors each year to the Spa City. This iconic track hosts the richest winter racing in North America and one of the most prestigious annual thoroughbred meets. In 2021, the live racing season runs from late January to early May. Its 33 races, with purses totaling $11,800,000, make Oaklawn increasingly attractive to world-class competitors, especially the Arkansas Derby, which is a steppingstone to the Triple Crown.

Beyond the track, Oaklawn's adjacent casino offers live blackjack and craps, roulette, electronic card game tables, a high-limit area and hundreds of slot machines.


The future of Oaklawn is looking bright with a huge expansion underway—costing more than $100 million—making it one of the largest hospitality investments in the history of Arkansas. The project includes a seven-story hotel, multi-purpose event center, larger gaming area and additional on-site parking.

The hotel will have 200 rooms with views of the racetrack on one side and the lakes on the other, an outdoor swimming pool, luxury spa, fitness center and restaurant.

Next to the hotel will be a 14,000-square-foot multi-purpose events center for concerts, meetings, banquets and weddings.

Newly opened is Oaklawn's signature restaurant, The Bugler, which offers a fine dining experience. The Bugler overlooks Oaklawn’s legendary racetrack and features American cuisine and carefully selected fish and steaks.

The new hotel will feature 200 rooms, views of the racetrack and nearby lakes, a luxury spa, a new restaurant, and an adjacent 14,000 square-foot multi-purpose events center for concerts, meetings, weddings and more.


Construction began in 2019 and the casino expansion was completed in early 2020. Oaklawn aims to have the luxury hotel, spa and event center completed in 2021.

After a particularly rainy season in 2018, Oaklawn announced it would shift its racing season later in the calendar and now, racing “Stays Until May.” Typically, the season ended after the Arkansas Derby on the second Saturday of April. This extended schedule is the biggest change to Oaklawn's racing season since World War II.

Oaklawn recently ranked fifth among the best thoroughbred racetracks in North America, according to the Horseplayers Association of North America.


• Live racing runs from late January to early May. Gates open at 11 a.m.
• This year’s Arkansas Derby will be held on April 10, 2021.
• The casino is open from 9 a.m. to 5 a.m. daily.
• Visit for current COVID-19 safety protocols.

Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism


visitors to Oaklawn each year

races worth a total of $11,800,000 in 2021

years of racing at Oaklawn

days of racing each year

horse stalls in Oaklawn’s barns

$1 million
Oaklawn’s biggest purse, which is awarded for the Rebel, Arkansas Derby, the Apple Blossom Handicap and the Oaklawn Handicap

first year of the Arkansas Derby. Held every year since, with the exception of 1945, when Oaklawn was forced to cancel racing because of World War II.

the year American Pharoah won the Arkansas Derby and moved on to win the Triple Crown (the first horse in 37 years to win in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes)


CHALK OR CHALK HORSE: The favorite or most heavily played horse in a race.

POST POSITION: A horse’s position in the starting gate from the inner rail outward which is decided by a drawing.

OVERLAY: A horse whose odds are higher than its actual chance of winning, as determined by the player. Overlays are good, underlays are bad.

MORNING LINE ODDS: The odds set by the track prior to the opening of the pools.

MAIDEN: A horse that has never won a race; or a race for horses that have never won a race.

IN THE MONEY: To finish in the top four; this generally entitles the owner to a share of the purse. In betting terms “in the money” means to finish in the top three.

EXACTA: A bet in which the player attempts to pick the 1st and 2nd place horse on one ticket.

GOING: The condition of the racing surface. Dirt courses are generally rated Fast, Good, Muddy, or Sloppy. Turf courses are generally rated Firm, Good, Yielding, Soft, or Heavy.