Oaklawn Park's 2013 live meeting will be the richest in the Arkansas track's 109-year history. Purses will total close to $20 million during the 56-day season, Jan. 11-April 13.
Oaklawn officials announced a record $5.7-million stakes schedule for next year several weeks ago.The most lucrative condition book in the track's history will feature maiden allowance races at $53,000; open allowance races as high as $56,000, and increases in key categories as high as 50% when compared to the first condition book of the 2012 season.
"We were thrilled last year when we were able to offer $40,000 for maiden allowance races," said Oaklawn racing secretary Pat Pope. "For that number to climb to $53,000 this year is just phenomenal."
The increases in purses can be attributed to the growing success of Instant Racing and Gaming machines as well as the growth in popularity of the Oaklawn racing signal. During the 2012 race meet, which benefitted from a mild winter and no cancellations, there were four purse increases and by the time the meet ended, maiden allowance races, for example, had grown from $40,000 to $51,000.
The other classes of races to receive significant increases over 2012 were claiming races with a claiming price of $15,000 and above. These purses were increased a least 31% over last year depending on the actual claiming price.
"Oaklawn has enjoyed a banner year and we have put that money right back into purses for the horsemen who support our racing program," said David Longinotti, Oaklawn's assistant general manager of racing. "We look forward to reviewing our stall applications at the end of October and to our stable area opening in mid-November."
Longinotti and Pope will begin recruiting trips shortly with planned stops in California, Kentuck,y and New York for starters. Stall applications for the 2013 meet can be downloaded off the Oaklawn website at www.oaklawn.com. They also can be obtained by calling Oaklawn's racing office at (501) 701-5570.