HOT SPRINGS, Ark. &ndash; The record rainfall during the early part of Oaklawn Park&rsquo;s meet has hardly dampened wagering. Average daily handle from all sources is up 12 percent over the first half of the meet a year ago, according to figures Oaklawn provided at the request of Daily Racing Form. The first half of the Oaklawn meet ran 27 dates from Jan. 12 through Feb. 25. During that period the track handled an average of $3,342,675 a day from all sources. A year ago, average daily handle during the first half of the meet was $2,972,256. This comes despite 16 inches of rain in February. &ldquo;We did not have a fast track from Feb. 9 through Feb. 25,&rdquo; said Wayne Smith, Oaklawn&rsquo;s general manager. During the first half of the meet Oaklawn ran 245 races, and the track was muddy or sloppy for 92 of those races, according to statistics from track spokeswoman Jennifer Hoyt. The wet weather led to scratches, and Oaklawn was down from 9.43 starters per race over the first half of the meet a year ago to 9.24 through Feb. 25. But the scratches did not affect the bottom line for Oaklawn and there are several reasons for that, Smith suggested. &ldquo;I truly believe it&rsquo;s because of the horse colony that we have, the horsemen that we have, and the quality of races we put together,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;When you&rsquo;re looking at that type of field size, during that time of year, with this bad weather that we&rsquo;ve most recently had, and yet we&rsquo;re still maintaining over nine field size &ndash; nobody in the country&rsquo;s doing that. You look at the owner, trainer, jockey colony we have here &ndash; it&rsquo;s second to none. That is really what&rsquo;s driving it.&rdquo; Smith said Oaklawn also has seen an increase in handle on its signal in California. &ldquo;That is one area that has taken an uptick,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We do see more of California and we&rsquo;re seeing that, I think, mainly because of the California guys who came out here, Doug O&rsquo;Neill and Peter Miller. I think that has a lot to do with it.&rdquo; O&rsquo;Neill and Miller both have stable divisions at Oaklawn for the first time, and on Wednesday a plane was expected to bring in horses from California. Trainer Bob Baffert, who is based in Southern California, also regularly runs in the 3&#45;year&#45;old stakes at Oaklawn. Purses for the first half of the meet have averaged $446,796 a program, compared to $424,586 during the first half of the meet a year ago. Maiden special weights were worth $78,000 during the first half of the meet, compared to $72,000 during the same period in 2017. The record purse structure of this meet is fueled by handle and a gaming center that has 1,400 player positions. Claiming activity has remained robust. There were 216 claims during the first 27 dates of the meet this year, for $3,346,000 in transactions. Last year, there were 231 claims during the same period, but just $3,036,250 in transactions. The bottom claiming price this meet has been raised from $5,000 to $6,250. On more than one occasion there have been 20 claims in for a single horse. Oaklawn&rsquo;s biggest days are ahead, with the running of the Rebel on March 17 and the Arkansas Derby on April 14. &ldquo;If we get some good weather days, things are setting up really nicely for the remaining six weeks of the meet,&rdquo; Smith said.