The second half of Oaklawn’s record-setting season will feature a sizeable second purse increase.
Beginning Thursday, March 10, purses will be increasing by as much as $5,000 thanks to continued good weather and strong fan support both in racing and gaming.
With this second increase, maiden special weight races, which had been $68,000 at the start of the season, will now be worth $75,000 – the highest in the country this time of year. Open allowance races will be as high as $80,000. The minimum purse is $22,500.
Oaklawn’s first purse increase of the year took effect Saturday, Feb, 20, when maiden special weight races were raised to $70,000 and open allowance races went to a minimum of $73,000. Also at the time, Oaklawn raised the purses of three stakes by $50,000 – the Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 12, and the Razorback Handicap (G3) and Azeri Stakes (G2). The Razorback and Azeri (now worth $350,000 each) share the card with the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 19.
The nice weather this race meet has been a much welcome change over 2015 when the track lost seven days to winter weather and has led to across the board increases. Through Feb. 27, on-track handle was up 22% to $17,170,825 and total handle was up 9% to $82,553,112. The sun and unseasonably warm temperatures has led to a 31% in attendance with 237,650 people coming out to the races through the half-way point in the season.
“It’s exciting heading into the second half of our racing season with such strong momentum knowing that our biggest days of the meet are still ahead,” said Director of Racing David Longinotti. “The Rebel Day card March 19 will offer $1.6 million in stakes purses and there will be $2 million in stakes purses Arkansas Derby Day April 16.”
The 2016 Oaklawn meet runs through Saturday, April 16.