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Opening day at Oaklawn 

PONIES: Run Friday.
  • PONIES: Run Friday.

Oaklawn Park’s opening weekend tradition of turning back the clock on soft drink and corned beef sandwich prices continues again in 2006 as the horse track begins its live racing meet on Friday, Jan. 20.

Gates open at 11 a.m. Friday for the live meet, with first post time at 1 p.m. Soft drinks will be priced at 10 cents and corned beef sandwiches will be 50 cents all weekend — past experience tells us that fans wanting sandwiches should arrive early. Simulcast racing from a variety of U.S. tracks is also available.

The meet expands with racing Wednesday through Sunday next month. Until then, the track is open for Instant Racing games every Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday and 11 a.m. to midnight Wednesday and Thursday.

Friday’s slate of races will be highlighted by the $50,000 Dixieland Stakes for 3-year-olds. Saturday’s racing, starting with a 1 p.m. post, will include the $50,000 American Beauty for older fillies and mares. Sunday’s post time is 1:30 p.m.

Oaklawn’s past two seasons have been highlighted by the phenomenal success of two horses: Smarty Jones and Afleet Alex. This year, such horses as Lawyer Ron, trained by Bob Holthus, Rodeo, and the John Servis-trained Round Pond and Rockport Harbor will race in Hot Springs. Stewart Elliott, who rode Smarty Jones in his run two years ago, will ride the entire meet at Oaklawn. For seating and dining reservations at Oaklawn, call 800-OAKLAWN or 501-623-4411, extension 130. Admission and parking on the grounds are both $2.


Theater watch

The Community Theatre of Little Rock, celebrating its 50th season, will present Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” for six performances this week and next. The show opens Friday, Jan. 20, at Woolly Auditorium at the Arkansas School for the Blind, 2600 W. Markham St.

“Our Town” takes a look at three periods in the history of a placid New Hampshire town. Fran Cunningham directs a class that includes Byron Taylor, Tricia Spione, Rachel Archer, Misti Ponder, Carol Pittman and Don Francis.

Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday Jan. 20-22 and Jan. 27-29. The Jan. 27 show will be signed for the hearing impaired. Admission is $10. Call 663-9494.

Meanwhile, the Weekend Theater presents an experimental musical revue of some of the classic songs of Belgian-born Jacques Brel in “Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris,” with four shows this week and four more next week. The opening performance is at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, and shows are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

The revue includes more than 20 songs Brel wrote about love, death and war. The cast includes Ralph Hyman, Alan Douglas, Kathryn Pryor and Mary Berry. Duane Jackson will direct; Lori Isner will lead the music.

Admission is $18 for adults and $14 for students and seniors. Call 374-3761.



‘Little Red’ at Wildwood

Wildwood Park will debut its Young Artist Tour production of Seymour Barab’s “Little Red Riding Hood” at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22, at the park on Denny Road. The opera stars three young professional singers: Arkansas native Andrew Buck, a baritone, soprano Susan Ruggiero from Michigan and Adriane Shelton (mezzo-soprano) from Virginia. Ruggiero has the role of “Red.”

Sunday’s show is suitable for audien-ces of all ages. In Barab’s adaptation of the fairy tale classic, the scary wolf is transformed into a comic character that helps teach children valuable lessons. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for students and children. Call 821-7275, ext. 232.



Going boating

Arkansas’s premier boat show is back at the Statehouse Convention Center Friday through Sunday. The 24th annual Marine Expo will have a complete assortment of boats and special pricing, plus vendors selling fishing tackle and other boating-related equipment. Admission is $4, with children 12 and under admitted free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Call 225-6177 or 765-1423.



Ragusa musicians

Winners from last summer’s Ragusa-IBLA International Music Competition in Italy will appear at the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall on Saturday, Jan. 21, as part of UALR’s Artspree series. The musicians will play a variety of instruments.

Showtime is 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 on the main floor and $17 in the balcony. UALR students are admitted free, while all other student tickets are $10. Call 569-3288.



Horticulture dinners

Horticulturalist and writer Janet Carson is teaming with wine expert Bruce Cochran for several wine dinners leading up to the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show scheduled for March 4-6. The first dinner is set for Acadia Restaurant in Hillcrest on Thursday, Jan. 26. The five-course meal will have a horticulture theme. The cost is $72. For more information on the Acadia dinner, call 603-9630. More information on the upcoming events can be found at www.brucecochran.com.



College basketball

Catch the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s women’s and men’s teams in a pair of basketball doubleheaders at the Jack Stephens Center Thursday and Saturday.

The men and women meet North Texas on Thursday, Jan. 19, with the women’s game starting at 5 p.m. The teams are back again on Saturday, Jan. 21, to play Denver starting with the women at 4:30 p.m. The men’s games start approximately two-and-a-half hours after the women’s tip off.

Ticket prices ranging from $8 in the end zone to $35 for the choice club seating will cover both games Thursday or Saturday. Call 565-8257 or visit www.ualr.edu.



Chamber trio

Twin sisters Emily and Julia Bruskin, along with Donna Kwong, make up the Claremont Trio, a nationally acclaimed group of violin, cello and piano that will perform for the Chamber Music Society of Little Rock at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

The Bruskins and Kwong met in 1999 at the Juilliard School. Their debut CD of the Mendelssohn Trios was a critical success.

Tickets are $15 and available at the door. The church is at 1000 N. Mississippi.

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