Oaklawn Park will open for the 2017 live meet with record purses that include Maiden Special Weights at $72,000 and Open Allowance Races as high as $80,000.
The 2017 season will mark the ninth consecutive season the Hot Springs track has opened with purses higher than the previous year. Maiden Special Weight purses, which have doubled since 2011, are $4,000 higher than 2016, Allowance purses are up by as much as $5,000 and the bottom purse of $23,000 is $2,000 higher than last year and has increased more than 50% since 2011.
Stall Applications and Condition Books are now available online at www.oaklawn.com. Horsemen wanting a Condition Book or Stall Application shipped to them can call the Oaklawn racing office at 1-800-OAKLAWN or 501-701-5570 or send an email to email@example.com. Stall Applications are due Thursday, Oct. 27.
“Oaklawn continues to benefit from ownership that is 100% dedicated to racing, a thriving gaming operation and steadily growing handle thanks to better and better racing quality,” Director of Racing David Longinotti said. “It’s exciting that year after year we continue to attract the horses the caliber of American Pharoah and Creator and obviously our fans have responded in a big way.”
Creator is set to run in Saturday’s Travers Stakes at Saratoga.
“Oaklawn has become the Saratoga of the Midwest,” said seven-time Oaklawn leading trainer and recent Hall of Fame inductee Steve Asmussen, who used Oaklawn’s 3-year-old program for both two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and Belmont Stakes winner Creator. “There is no place that the better races go for better purses at that time of the year.”
“Oaklawn got Creator to where he is today,” WinStar President Elliott Walden said. “The 3-year-old stakes program at Oaklawn is as good as anywhere in the country. That means something, not only financially, but from a progression standpoint. Horses have run extremely well in the Triple Crown races from that program. Bob Baffert has used it for a decade. It’s a good place to get on to the next trip, which is the Triple Crown races.”
“Our industry should view Oaklawn as a model of what is working,” Eric J. Hamelback, CEO of the National HBPA, said. “Oaklawn and the Arkansas HBPA are a testament to racetracks and horsemen working together to overcome tough times, the result being world-class racing year after year.”
Oaklawn, which earlier this year announced a historic $8.25 million stakes schedule, opens Friday, Jan. 13, 2017. The stable area opens Monday, Nov. 14 and the track will open for training Monday, Nov. 21.
(from Oaklawn news release)