Edited press release
Oaklawn Park projects record daily average purses of $290,000 for its 2007 meet, up from $275,000 a day this year because of increased revenue from Instant Racing.
The 56-day meet runs from Jan. 19-April 14. It features 27 stakes headed by the $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) on closing day. The total stakes schedule is valued at $4.5 million.
Stall applications for the 2007 live season are due in the office of racing secretary Pat Pope by Nov. 8. The stable area and racing surface at the Hot Springs, Ark., facility are scheduled to open Dec. 1.
The minimum purse for a claiming race will be $11,000, the highest ever at Oaklawn. Maiden special weight races will be carded for $32,000.
Racing in 2007 will begin with a three-day weekend, Jan. 19-21, and move to a four-days-per-week schedule until March, with the single exception being Monday racing on Presidents Day, Feb. 19.
"This has the makings of another great year for us," Pope said. "Oaklawn is so different from the majority of racetracks in America. There is great love and support for the track, and people annually build their vacations around the live racing season. The incredible success of our Instant Racing business, plus our addition of games of skill to the mix, should continue to provide a great source of purse funds for some time to come."
Instant Racing machines are pari-mutuel in nature--they used recycled races--but have the look and feel of video lottery terminals. Games of skill for Oaklawn were approved by referendum, and the Arkansas Racing Commission recently approved rules for their operation.
The traditional Racing Festival of the South will be held April 6-14. The major races for 3-year-olds are the $250,000 Southwest Stakes Feb. 19, the $300,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. III) on March 17, and the Arkansas Derby.