Oaklawn increases purses for second time this meet

HOTSPRINGS (KATV, Source: Oaklawn) After a picture-perfect Presidents Day Weekend,Oaklawn has announced it will increase purses for the second time this meet. Overthe three-day holiday weekend, total handle was up nearly 30% over 2013 andalmost 60,000 fans turned out to enjoy the gorgeous weather and highlycompetitive racing.

A seasonhigh 25,622 fans were in attendance Monday, Feb. 17 to see Tapiture jump to thehead of the 3-year-old class with his victory in the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3).

Thissecond purse increase will be effective starting Thursday, Feb. 27 and willcover all overnight races.{} Races with a claiming price of $20,000 or lesswill receive another $500 purse increase, up $1,000 from the beginning of therace meet. All other overnight races will increase by $3,000, up $5,000 sinceopening day. This means open allowance purses will increase from $60,000 to$63,000, maiden special weights will jump from $57,000 to $60,000 and theminimum purse will increase from $17,500 to $18,000.

Since2005, Oaklawn purses have nearly doubled. That year, maidenspecial weights were worth $31,000, allowance races were worth $32,500 and theminimum purse was $9,000.

"I don'tthink anyone ever expected to see our purses double in just 10 years thanks toInstant Racing, gaming and good racing," said Director of Racing DavidLonginotti. "We ended the first half of our meet with tremendous momentum inboth racing and gaming and there is every indication that we're headed into aneven stronger second half. We are celebrating this good fortune with ourhorsemen as we head into the final seven weeks of our season. We came throughthe bad weather in excellent shape and are looking forward to seeing some ofthe best horses in the country competing for these unbelievable purses."

Still tocome this season at Oaklawn is the Racing Festival of the South Preview DayMarch 15 featuring the $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2), $200,000 Azeri Stakes (G2)and the $200,000 Razorback Stakes (G3) and the Racing Festival of the SouthApril 5 - 12 culminating with the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1).