Just two days after announcing a unique participation incentive designed to increase field size during the final 11 days of the racing season, and less than a month after an initial bump, Oaklawn purses are on the rise again.
Set to go into effect March 27, the second purse increase of $2,000 in all claiming races and $4,000 in all allowance and maiden special weight races will once again take Oaklawn purses to record levels. When the 2010 season began, Oaklawn offered maiden special weight purses of $36,000 and no purses lower than $15,000.
The first purse increase, which went into effect March 4, raised those levels to $38,000 for maiden special weight races and no purses lower than $15,500.
This latest bump increases the levels to $42,000 and $17,500, respectively. Coupled with the participation incentive that went into effect March 27, those levels could swell to as much as $46,000 and $21,500, depending upon field size.
The purse increase can be attributed to the popularity of Oaklawn’s newly expanded Instant Racing and Gaming Center, which opened in May of last year and underwent an expansion the week prior to opening day of the 2010 Live Season.
“We continue to have wonderful cooperation from our horsemen.” Oaklawn racing secretary Pat Pope said. “Our fans have been very supportive of our racing product throughout the second half of the season. There’s some excitement in the air about the upcoming Racing Festival of the South, and the racing fans of Arkansas are responding. We’re happy to be able to reward our horsemen at this time.”
Oaklawn’s Racing Festival begins April 2, and runs through April 10. During the Festival, which features at least a stakes race per day, Oaklawn will distribute more than $4 million in total purses.
Key stakes include the $300,000 Fantasy Stakes (gr. II), April 2, the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) April 3, the $500,000 Apple Blossom (gr. I) April 9, and the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. I) April 10.