Get your bets ready, Oaklawn Racing opens Friday

HOT SPRINGS (KATV)--It's one of the most anticipated days of the year in Arkansas, tomorrow marks the opening season for one of the best premier racing venues in the country.

Oaklawn in Hot Springs expects to see thousands of visitors throughout the season.

"Opening of Oaklawn is like something no where I've ever seen in the United States, including some of the most prestigious tracks," said Track Announcer Frank Mirahmadi.

15,000 on Friday and 25,000 people on Saturday are expected to pack Oaklawn's racing tracks for this year's opening weekend.

"We have literally the best racing in the country, we had our champion three year old for the United States running here last year and will take charge, and it's competitive fields," added Mirahmadi.

Something new to expect this year is the 16th pole beer garden featuring craft beers.

But if you're stuck at home, no worries, you can now place bets through Oaklawn Anywhere using a smartphone or tablet.

Besides the betting and drinking, many say it's all about the corn beef with stacks of bread waiting.

"The corn beef sandwich is what Oaklawn believe or not is what it's best known for, if you can bring one quarter in each hand, 50 cents, you can get yourself a beautiful corn beef sandwich and believe me, those things are filling," said Mirahmadi.

While patrons will be filling up on food, Rod's Pizza Cellar employees will be filling up their pockets.

"When Oaklawn is open for the race season, that's when most of my bills get caught up, I look forward to racing season because of all the tourists in town we get better tips," said waitress Tiffany Lemons.

But it's not just about the extra money for Lemons; it's about seeing familiar faces year after year.

"We have repeat customers every year during race season, it's hard for me to remember their names, but once they say hey Tiffany, I get to talk to them.. their name will come to me," said Lemons.

"The interest is now coming from all across the country and around the world, because they know the road to the Kentucky Derby goes through Hot Springs, Arkansas," added Mirahmadi.

The track opens at 11 a.m. on Friday, and the first race is at 1:05 p.m.

If you plan on getting that 50 cent corn beef sandwich, you'll have to wait until Saturday.

Oaklawn's season runs from January 10th through April 12th.