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Early Claiming Activity Robust at Oaklawn

There have been 80 horses claimed for $1,241,000 in first 10 days of Arkansas meet.

Oaklawn Park racing secretary Pat Pope predicted that claiming activity would be "very robust" during the 2015 meeting that began Jan. 15. So far, Pope is right.

Through only 10 days of racing, 80 claims have totaled $1,241,000 at the Arkansas track, figures well ahead of the corresponding period last year.

"It's not surprising at all, really," said Brad Cox, normally one of the most active trainers at the Oaklawn claim box. "It's just good money and people want horses. It's as simple as that."

Oaklawn's minimum purse is $18,000, meaning $5,000 claimersthe track's lowest levelearn $10,800 with a victory.

Oaklawn had 64 claims totaling $973,500 during the first 10 days of the 2014 meeting. Last year may have been the most active claiming meet in Oaklawn history, with 423 claims totaling $6,253,000 during the 53-day stand.

Cox has already claimed four horses at the 2015 meeting and lost five through claims. Federico Villafranco, who trains for 2014 Oaklawn leading owner Danny Caldwell, has claimed a meet-high nine horses, including multiple stakes winner Stachys for $62,500 Jan. 25.

Steve Asmussen has claimed seven horses, winning a five-way shake Jan. 29 for Copse, winner of Thursday's first race, for $10,000. Trainer Robertino Diodoro won recent 11-way and eight-way shakes.

"It's pretty hard to get a horse, because (for) everyone you see, so do five others," Cox said.