After getting the meet off to a bumpy start due to inclement weather, Oaklawn Park reported that improved weather led to larger crowds in February, resulting in the second purse increase.
Effective with the March 5 card, purses will be increased approximately $10,000 a day and four stakes races are getting at least a $15,000 increase. Oaklawn announced the first purse increase of $10,000 a day Feb. 5.
The daily purse increase is for overnight races only. Purses will be increased a minimum of $500 for claiming races and a minimum of $2,000 for non-claiming races. In addition, the purse of the March 19 Azeri Stakes (gr. III), a stepping tone for the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) April 15, will be increased from $100,000 to $150,000 and three other stakes – the March 20 Hot Spring, the March 26 Prima Donna, and the March 27 Carousel – will have their purses bumped from $60,000 to $75,000. Oaklawn had previously announced a purse increase for the March 12 Razorback Handicap (gr. III) from $100,000 to $125,000.
“Oaklawn has been fortunate to have strong on-track handle as well as increased business on the Instant Racing and gaming side despite challenges with the weather early in the season,” said assistant general manager of racing David Longinotti.
“We are very encouraged to see Oaklawn prosper as is demonstrated in this purse increase,” said Bill Walmsley, president of the Arkansas Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.
The live racing season continues through Saturday, April 16.