'Saratoga of the South' | Arkansas Blog

'Saratoga of the South'



There's still time to get down to Hot Springs for the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. Looks like a splendid day for outdoor activities -- drinking beer, eating, cheering ponies.

Timed for the big day is a very warm feature on the track in today's New York Times. Headline: "Arkansas's Oaklawn is a sure winner in uncertain times."

It's a "charming" track with a focus on horses, the article says. But it also says Oaklawn's continued fiscal power rests on machine gambling, both Instant Racing and newer gambling machines. Noted: the article refers to the "casino" portion of Oaklawn, a no-no in track PR nomenclature. And, note, too, other Arkansas journalists, that nowhere does the New York Times fall prey to the PR locution of "electronic games of skill." They are just games and gambling.

But the article also lauds Hot Springs as a "great racing town" and, yes, the fabled corned beef sandwiches get a plug. If I didn't have other obligations, I'd be sorely tempted to fire up the car and point it toward the Spa.

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