Following a successful opening month at Oaklawn Park, including record growth in the Instant Racing pari-mutuel wagering system, the track announced an across-the-board purse increase, beginning with the races of Feb. 24.
"We will be raising all of our purses from $500-$1,000, starting Thursday, in thanks to the many owners and trainers who have helped us to get off to such a great start by racing their horses in big numbers," said racing secretary Pat Pope.
Through the first 18 days of the 2005 season the average field size for races has reached 9.7 per race.
In addition, the Instant Racing system has registered an increase of 151% over the 2004 numbers and enjoyed its first $1 million day Feb. 21. The Instant Racing system is expected to produced over $1.5 million for purses this year.
The track also increased the purse of the Instant Racing Breeders' Cup Stakes, for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles April 16 to $100,000.
In addition, the Oaklawn Breeders' Cup is being renamed the Azeri Breeders' Cup in honor of the former Horse of the Year, who won the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn in three consecutive runnings in 2002, 2003, and 2004. The $175,000 Azeri Breeders' Cup, for fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and upwards, is scheduled for March 12.