Oaklawn, Turfway Increase Overnight Purses

Both racetracks have had some cancellations and field sizes are healthy.

Aided by cancellations and healthy purse accounts, Oaklawn Park in Arkansas and Turfway Park in Kentucky have increased overnight purses.

Effective Feb. 26, Oaklawn will raise purses $1,000 to $3,000 per race, officials said Feb. 22. Maiden special weight and allowance races will increase by $3,000 to $64,000 for maiden events and up to $69,000 for allowance races.

Oaklawn officials credited increases in off-site wagering on its signal and "strong business" in its recently expanded gaming room for the purse hike. The track, which has canceled four programs because of weather and track conditions, raised purses earlier in the meet.

"Despite some unfortunate winter weather, I wouldn't trade places with any other racing secretary right now," Oaklawn racing secretary Pat Pope said. "I'm really excited about our racing program heading into the later part of the season."

Through the first 25 days of its meet, Oaklawn has averaged $348,400 per day in purses and has averaged 9.62 horses per race, according to The Jockey Club Information Systems.

Turfway, effective Feb. 27, will add $2,000 in association money to each purse. Earlier in February, purses for each race went up $500.

An open $5,000 claimer will go for $11,000, the highest figure in years. Maiden special weight events will increase to $26,500, which includes $13,500 from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund. Entry-level allowance purses will jump to $28,500, which includes $14,500 from the KTDF.

Turfway, which races three programs a week, has lost three full cards because of weather cancellations.

Purses through 22 days of the meet averaged $109,027, with average field size at 8.78 horses per race, according to TJCIS.