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Hot Springs welcomes racing legends thanks to Oaklawn



Little Rock, Arkansas – The second annual Hall of Fame Day was presented by Oaklawn Racing Casino to celebrate the contributions of racing jockeys and trainers.

People came from near and far to this Hall of Fame Day celebration to honor the achievements of racing jockeys and trainers.

Louis Cella, president of the Oaklawn Jockey Club, claims that once honorees were initially inducted into the Saratoga, New York-based National Hall of Fame of Trainers and Jockeys, he wondered how to honour them.

“How do we celebrate these athletes? How to we celebrate them after their event in August in New York and they said we really don’t do that… No one’s really had the ability to do that so I took it upon myself and Oaklawn to create a day. So we had our first one last year,” Cella said.

After the success of the previous year’s event, Oaklawn spent almost a year preparing to once again invite Hall of Famers to the state. This year, around 700 spectators came especially to observe the 20 racing VIPs present.

One previous Arkansas Derby and Kentucky Derby winner described what it was like to attend the race.

“Of course we got started telling stories and one thing led to another we just, it was a great time of reminiscing and fellowship and some incredibly good food. And then you know, and then this morning, the autograph session, met a lot of people that remembered from what I was riding here and reminded me of the times that we had and it’s just been great,” Retired Jockey/Hall of Famer, Pat Day said.

Day, who has a long list of achievements under his belt, declares that Oaklawn and Hot Springs will always hold a particular place in his heart.

“I believe that God blessed me with tremendous talent, and then horsemen gave me the opportunity to ride some really good horses and it equated to an incredibly successful racing career. Much of my time, well, 14 years right here in Hot Springs, Arkansas,” Day said.

After being inducted into the Hall of Fame and spending this weekend at Oaklawn, Angel Cordero Jr., Eclipse Award Winner for Best Jockey, Kentucky Derby victor, and more, says he feels like his dream has been realized.

“I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m enjoying seeing the people I haven’t seen in a long time. They have put on a beautiful beautiful party for us… Beautiful man. The food, the attention… The room next to the track. I got up in the morning and I wanted the horses, I mean it feels like a dream, ” Retired Jockey/Hall of Famer, Cordero Jr. said.

The reminder that their legacy will go on, according to Cordero, is one he appreciates.

“Very… It’s a good feeling to know that people know you and care. And some of them they don’t… Probably have never seen but they do their homework and they know the races that you win and all that,” Cordero Jr. said.

Despite the lack of an official date, Cella claims that preparations for the event the next year have already begun.

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