01/24/2005 12:00AM

Oaklawn opener dips from '04


Oaklawn Park drew 56,654 patrons over its three-day opening weekend, with $4,271,055 bet ontrack on the track's live races and $8,229,836 bet offtrack, bringing weekend handle on Oaklawn races to $12,500,891.

It was a strong opening weekend, but handle on the three days was down nearly 10 percent from last year, when Oaklawn celebrated its 100th birthday with a 10-year-high attendance of 62,982 over the three-day opening weekend. Total handle on the track's live races on opening weekend in 2004 was $13,852,278.

Oaklawn faced competition from the National Football League playoffs this year, unlike last year, and the temperature dropped into the teens on Sunday. Training was canceled because of the cold weather, with a high of 32 degrees reached before the races started Sunday.