01/14/2002 12:00AM

Oaklawn adds color saddlecloths

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Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., will begin using color-coded saddlecloths when it opens for its 54-day meet Jan. 25. In other changes this season, the track will start its 5 1/2-furlong races at the same point as its six-furlong races and end them at the sixteenth pole, the same auxiliary finish line used for the track's one-mile races.

"As far as I'm aware, we're one of the last organizations to go to colored saddletowels," said Oaklawn spokesman Terry Wallace.

The new gate position for the track's 5 1/2-furlong races this meet will help protect the main racing surface, according to Wallace. Horses will now have a longer run down the backstretch than previously, and a shorter stretch run.