Oaklawn's Cella dies; track boss recalled as 'bigger-than-life' figure


Photographs by AP file photo

In an announcement in Hot Springs in February 1998, Oaklawn President Charles Cella announces “America’s Million Dollar Dare,” a $1 million prize for the winner of the Oaklawn Handicap. The race, on April 4 of that year, was won by Precocity, a Bob Baffert horse. Cella helped introduce a number of innovations that have helped draw many top thoroughbreds as well as racing fans to the track.

An icon of Arkansas thoroughbred racing for half a century died Wednesday.

Charles Cella, president of the Oaklawn Jockey Club in Hot Springs, is shown in this file photo.

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