01/26/2004 1:00AM

Strong opening for Oaklawn


Ontrack business at Oaklawn Park was strong during its three-day opening weekend that ran from Friday through Sunday. A crowd of 25,137 turning out opening day, followed by 25,780 who braved rainy weather Saturday. Total attendance for the weekend was 62,982, while ontrack handle on Oaklawn's races was $4,678,966.

Last year, a total of 46,304 patrons attended the three-day opening weekend and bet $4.2 million ontrack.

Oaklawn handled another $9,173,312 on its races offtrack last weekend. That figure was down from $11.4 million in 2003, when the track opened a week later than scheduled because of snowstorms.

This year, a promotion helped push ontrack handle and attendance figures to what, according to Jackson, was a 10-year high for Oaklawn. In celebration of its 100th anniversary, the track reduced the prices of its corned beef sandwiches to 50 cents, and hot dogs and sodas to 10 cents.

"Of all the promotions we've done over the years, this may be the most successful ever," said Eric Jackson, Oaklawn's general manager, noting the track will consider running the promotion again.

Jackson estimated that as much as six tons of corned beef and 20,000 to 25,000 hot dogs were sold between Friday and Sunday.