Despite Loss of Holiday Weekend, Oaklawn Hikes Purses

Edited press release
Oaklawn Park raised overnight purses $700 per race effective March 1 because of an increase in Instant Racing revenue and overall handle.

Despite cancellation of live racing for the three-day President's Day holiday weekend and a 22% decrease in total attendance, total handle on the live product was up 12% and Instant Racing play up 62% through Feb. 26.

"We are gratified for the support of Oaklawn racing in spite of losing such critical days as the President's Day holiday weekend," Oaklawn general manager Eric Jackson said. "If you exclude the three days we lost, we actually show a 36% increase in mutuel handle on live racing and an increase in Instant Racing at 86%. This has been an unusual year for us, but we have built great momentum and are working to sustain it through the rest of the meet, thanks in large part to the horsemen who have brought the best horses to Oaklawn in our history."

Instant Racing machines resemble video lottery terminals but are pari-mutuel in nature. Revenue from the devices now accounts for thousands of dollars in purse money per race at Oaklawn.