HOT SPRINGS - Oaklawn will have a record stakes schedule in 2014.
Purse increasesto 19 of 31 stakes races and the creation of a Racing Festival of the SouthPreview Day are among the highlights of Oaklawn's 2014 stakes schedule. Theminimum purse for all open stakes races was increased from $60,000 to $100,000,while the minimum purse for state-bred stakes was increased from $60,000 to$75,000. Oaklawn begins its 57-day race meet Friday, Jan. 10, 2014.
The Razorback Handicap (G3) and Azeri Stakes (G3) eachreceived a $50,000 increase to $200,000 and the Razorback has been moved back aweek to March 15 where it will help create a Racing Festival of the SouthPreview card along with the Azeri and the $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2), whichfeatured a runner-up finish from eventual Preakness Stakes winner Oxbow in2013. These races are the final local preps for the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap(G2), $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) and $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1),respectively.
"The popularity of Instant Racing and Electronic Games ofSkills continues to grow in Arkansas, which is tremendous for our stakesprogram," said Director of Racing David Longinotti. "We don't think it's acoincidence that our purses have steadily grown over the last 10 years and inthat same period, 10 Triple Crown races have been won by horses that raced atOaklawn with Oxbow being the latest. We also expect our overnight purses to bea record for our track this coming season."
Additionally, Oaklawn is returning to a more traditionalRacing Festival of the South schedule with stakes races once again extendingover the final two weekends of the meet. The $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) for3-year-old fillies on the Kentucky Oaks path will now be held Saturday, April5, after anchoring a Wednesday program the last two years. The Count FleetSprint Handicap (G3) has had its purse increased from $250,000 to $300,000 andwill return to its traditional Thursday spot on April 10. The meet will onceagain culminate with the 78th running of the Arkansas Derby (G1)April 12 and the closing day card will also feature the Oaklawn Handicap,$100,000 Northern Spur Stakes and $100,000 Instant Racing Stakes.
For more information aboutOaklawn's 2014 race meet, visit www.oaklawn.comor call 1-800-OAKLAWN.