Throughout the history of baseball in Hot Springs players and owners alike have loved to play the ponies and spent much of their off time at the track. Established in 1904 racing began at Oaklawn Park on February 24, 1905 and continues to this day.
Babe Ruth supposedly came to Hot Springs to get in condition and lose weight but he always seemed to have more fun than sweat while he was here. It has been written that Ruth left most of his paycheck from the 1915 season at Oaklawn!
In 1930 future Hall of Famer Satchel Paige and Pittsburg Crawford teammate Double-Duty Radcliffe were hanging out at the track playing the horses for fifty cents and a dollar when a Coca-Cola salesman came up and told them about a player down in Rome, Georgia that could really hit the ball. They got in touch with him and picked him up for the 1931 season. His first year in the Negro Leagues, according to Double-Duty Radcliffe he hit 75 homeruns and in 1939 he hit 84. The players name was Josh Gibson, the greatest power hitter in Negro League baseball, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
Cardinal great Stan Musial was also a frequent visitor to Oaklawn Park and was a close friend of the Cella family, the owners of the track.