Purses may be down across the country, but stakes purses at Oaklawn Park will be higher in 2010 than they were in 2009 according to report on Arkansas Sports 360.com (www.arkansasbusiness.com). According to the Web site, Oaklawn will offer a record $4.8 in stakes purses next season.
In all, Oaklawn will offer 30 stakes races during its run from Jan. 15-April 10, with 10 of them offering higher purses than in previous years. The meet’s highlight, the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) will be run on closing day and will again offer a $1-million purse.
"Rather than increase the number of stakes races, we thought it more prudent to increase the purses on as many of the events as possible," Pat Pope, racing cecretary, said in the release.
A three-race series of preps for the Arkansas Derby begins Jan. 18, with the $100,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at a mile, followed by the Feb. 15 Southwest Stakes worth $250,000, and the $300,000 Rebel Stakes March 13.
Heading the list of stakes races with increased purses in 2010 is the $75,000 Martha Washington Stakes, increased from $50,000; the $125,000 Honeybee, increased from $100,000; and the $300,000 Fantasy Stakes, increased from $250,000, all for 3-year-old fillies.Other stakes races that will offer more money in 2010 include the $75,000 Pippin Stakes (up from $50,000); the $60,000 Spring Fever, the $60,000 Mountain Valley, the $60,000 Hot Springs, the $60,000 Prima Donna and the $60,000 Carousel - all up from $50,000.
In addition to the increase in stakes purses, Oaklawn will also increase overnight purses. The minimum purse for 2010 will be $15,000, compared with $13,000 in 2009, and maiden allowance races will begin at $36,000, compared with $34,000 in 2009.