Oaklawn Announces Third Purse Hike of Meet

Latest increase of $25,000 to daily overnight structure due to strong February.

Oaklawn Park announced it is raising purses for the third time during the current meet thanks to double digit increases in wagering and Instant Racing revenue during the month of February.

The latest increase goes into effect with the nine-race card March 9.

On-track handle improved 30% in February compared to 2011, while off-track handle grew 33%. The Instant Racing/gaming operations saw similar increase during the same time period, track officials reported.

Daily overnight purses will increase by more than $25,000. The purse increase will be divided as follows: $4,000 for claiming races over $15,000 and starter allowances over $20,000. There will be a $5,000 increase on allowance races and maiden special weights, bringing total purses for these races to $52,000 and $51,000, respectively. Overall, purses for maiden and allowance races have grown 28% since the meet began Jan. 13.

In addition, the purses for the four remaining Arkansas-bred stakes -- the Rainbow, the Rainbow Miss and both divisions of the Arkansas Breeders’ -- will be increased from $50,000 to $60,000.

“We have enjoyed a very positive trend this meet,” said David Longinotti, Oaklawn’s assistant general manager of racing. “Good weather with no missed days of racing and only one missed day of training has led to large, quality fields and our fans have responded. Maiden races are now worth $51,000, which was hard to imagine just a few years ago.

"And we anticipate that soon we’ll be making yet another announcement about our remaining open stakes and our participation bonus, which has been very successful the last few years,” Longinotti added.