Updated on 09/17/2011 10:50AM

It's opening day! This time for real.

Reed Palmer Photography
Hannah's Royalrock, a two-time stakes winner, goes in the Dixie Belle on Friday.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Welcome to Oaklawn Park, take 2.

A week after winter temperatures left the local racing surface frozen and forced the cancellation of the first three days of the meet, Oaklawn is set to begin on Friday a 52-day meet that will run through April 12.

Temperatures should be agreeable, with forecasters calling for partly cloudy skies and a high of 60 degrees.

Oaklawn will not make up the days that were lost last week, but has brought back the stakes that were canceled, with the $50,000 Dixie Belle - which drew 11 3-year-old fillies - to highlight the Friday card, and the $50,000 Mountain Valley for 3-year-olds set for Sunday. The $50,000 King Cotton will run as scheduled on Saturday.

There will also be one race added to the Friday and Sunday programs, bringing the total number of races for each opening weekend card to 10. Post time each day will be 1 p.m. Central.

Last week's cancellation seems to have created a heightened anticipation for the meet, which could help Oaklawn match its strong opener from a year ago, when 18,142 patrons turned out, and handle on the nine-race card topped $4.7 million.

The quality of racing should draw them in. Oaklawn has increased purses to a record $235,000 to $240,000 a day, and as a result has lured 27 new trainers to town, and more than a dozen new riders, including 2000 champ Jon Court.

"There's a lot of new faces here," said trainer Joe Petalino, who won the 2000 title at Oaklawn.

John Veitch, Noel Hickey, Blackie Huffman, and Robert Klesaris are among the new trainers at the meet, which has also drawn regulars Cole Norman, who is seeking his third straight title; Stanley Roberts, runner-up last year at Oaklawn; and Steve Asmussen, who led the nation in wins in 2002.

Among jockeys, James Lopez, who won his first Oaklawn title last year with 59 wins, takes on a colony that includes newcomer Jamie Theriot, here at the request of Norman; and Terry Thompson, who was leading the standings here last March when he fractured his thumb.

Blinkers for Explosive Beauty

In the six-furlong Dixie Belle, the question is, will lightning strike twice?

Explosive Beauty will be making her first start in the race for Norman, who two years ago won the $100,000 Middleground Stakes for 2-year-olds with her full brother, Explosive Truth.

"They look just alike," said Norman.

The race, which had drawn eight fillies last week, picked up three more starters when it was redrawn Wednesday, including stakes winners Wildcat Annie, Hannah's Royalrock and Mekko Hokte, as well as the promising Jodys Deelite.

For the Dixie Belle, Norman plans to put blinkers on Explosive Beauty. "Just so she could be more focused," said Norman. "The couple of times we've worked her, she was looking around. And watching the tape of her last race, I don't think her mind was 100 percent on business."

In her last start, Explosive Beauty finished third to the undefeated Perfect Wave in an entry-level allowance at Fair Grounds. Theriot has the mount on Friday for owners K.K., and Vilasini Jayaraman.

Shane Sellers will travel from New Orleans to ride Jodys Deelite, who last year finished third to Atlantic Ocean in the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies at Turfway Park. She shortens up to the distance of her maiden win for the Dixie Belle, and has been working sharply at Fair Grounds for trainer Dallas Stewart.

Another who ships in from out of town is Wildcat Annie, who two starts back won the $50,000 Gowell at Turfway Park for trainer Bernie Flint. A front-runner, she should be on the pace under Lopez.

Hannah's Royalrock, a two-time stakes winner, should be tracking the leaders before making her move in the stretch for jockey Glen Murphy and trainer Steve Asmussen.