After a picture-perfect Presidents' Day weekend, Oaklawn Park has announced it will increase purses for the second time this meet.
Over the three-day holiday weekend, total handle was up nearly 30% compared with 2013, and almost 60,000 fans turned out to enjoy the gorgeous weather and highly competitive racing. A season high 25,622 fans were in attendance Feb. 17 to see Tapiture jump to the head of the local 3-year-old class with his victory in the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (gr. III).
This second purse increase will be effective starting Thursday, Feb. 27, and will cover all overnight races. Races with a claiming price of $20,000 or less will receive a $500 purse increase, up $1,000 from the beginning of the race meet. All other overnight races will increase by $3,000, up $5,000 since opening day. This means open allowance purses will increase from $60,000 to $63,000, maiden special weights will jump from $57,000 to $60,000, and the minimum purse will increase from $17,500 to $18,000.
Since 2005, Oaklawn purses have nearly doubled. That year, maiden special weights were worth $31,000, allowance races were worth $32,500, and the minimum purse was $9,000.
"I don't think anyone ever expected to see our purses double in just 10 years thanks to Instant Racing, gaming, and good racing," said director of racing David Longinotti. "We ended the first half of our meet with tremendous momentum in both racing and gaming and there is every indication that we're headed into an even stronger second half.
"We are celebrating this good fortune with our horsemen as we head into the final seven weeks of our season. We came through the bad weather in excellent shape and are looking forward to seeing some of the best horses in the country competing for these unbelievable purses."