Courtesy Oaklawn Park

Good Weather Aids Business at Oaklawn Park

The Arkansas track will increase purses $5,000 per day effective Feb. 9.

Oaklawn Park said overnight purses will increase $5,000 per day effective Feb. 9 because of improved business aided by good weather.

Last year the Hot Springs, Ark., racetrack lost a record eight consecutive days of racing because of inclement weather. This year, through Feb. 5, attendance was up 42%, ontrack pari-mutuel handle had increased 40%, and total handle had jumped 47%, officials said.

Through Feb. 5 Oaklawn had raced 16 days; in 2011 for the same period, the track had raced 10 days because of the weather-related cancellations.

“We have not lost one single day of training or racing, which has led to competitive field sizes, and the nice weather has brought the crowds out that we don’t typically see until later in the season,” said David Longinotti, assistant general manager of racing at Oaklawn. “We are excited to share our good fortune with the horsemen and are hopeful these positive trends will continue as we head into our bigger races.”

Officials said $200 will be added to all claiming races, $1,000 will be added to all maiden special weight and starter allowance races, and $1,500 will be added to all allowance races. The live racing season continues through April 14.