11/01/2005 12:00AM

Oaklawn appealing option


As a result of the two hurricanes that damaged tracks in Louisiana between August and September, the makeup of the backstretch this winter at Oaklawn Park will be more diverse. Fair Grounds regulars Tom Amoss, Bret Calhoun, and Al Stall Jr. are among those trainers that have indicated an interest in having stalls at Oaklawn, and all would be new faces to the meet, which opens Jan. 20.

Tim Ritchey, who trains Preakness and Belmont winner Afleet Alex, said he plans to return to Oaklawn with a division, while trainer Wayne Lukas, who was back at Oaklawn with a barn last meet for the first time since the late 1990's, said last month he also intends to race this season in Hot Springs.

"We will bring a full string," Lukas said. "We made that decision last year and we're committed.

"They won't have any shortage of horses," he added. "Stalls will be at a premium at Oaklawn with the situation in New Orleans."

Hurricane Katrina has forced the upcoming Fair Grounds meet to be run at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La. The abbreviated meet will run from Nov. 19 through Jan. 22. It is just a three-hour drive between Louisiana Downs and Oaklawn, and a number of trainers are expected to have divisions at both tracks, with the meet in Arkansas to continue through April 15.

Stall will have a division of horses at Louisiana Downs for the Fair Grounds meet, and said last month he has also talked to Oaklawn officials about racing at Hot Springs. He said he wants to base his entire stable in this region for the winter months.

Oaklawn is scheduled to open its stable area about a week earlier than usual this year, on Nov. 21. Stall applications are due Nov. 10.

Gaming election in Hot Springs

Oaklawn's electronic gaming options could expand after a local election next Tuesday. That is when residents of Hot Springs will decide whether the track can add more gaming machines its wagering lineup, which includes Instant Racing, a parimutuel game that plays like a slot machine. If the measure passes Tuesday, the new machines would be different than Instant Racing, with the types of machines allowed to be defined by the Arkansas Racing Commission.

Legislation passed last spring put expanded gaming in the hands of voters. If the measure passes, some of the revenue from the machines would go to a foundation that funds scholarships and senior health care. Oaklawn owner Charles Cella said he would put up $1 million to start the foundation.

Rose Hunter to Louisiana?

Rose Hunter, who won the $40,000 Houston Chronicle Stakes by more than five lengths during opening weekend at Sam Houston Race Park, could make her next start in Louisiana, said her trainer, Tony Richey.

Tuesday morning, Richey was just starting to look over the turf route options for fillies and mares during the Fair Grounds at Louisiana Downs meet. The most prestigious race for the division is the Grade 3, $200,000 Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap Jan. 14.

Blinkers on Generally Lucky

Generally Lucky, a quick colt who won his debut in wire-to-wire fashion Sept. 19, will add blinkers for his third career start Thursday night at Sam Houston. Generally Lucky enters the 5 1/2-furlong, entry-level allowance on the heels of a fourth-place finish in a six-furlong allowance at Remington Park that went in a quick 1:10. Trainer Bret Calhoun has given the mount to Quincy Hamilton, the defending riding champ at Sam Houston.

- Doug Supernaw, a country music recording artist, will have a concert before the Texas Champions Day program on Nov. 19. His show will begin at 5 p.m. Central, with the races to start at 7. The track hopes a large number of concert goers will check out Texas Champions Day, which is the richest night of racing at Sam Houston.