Feb. 7, 2014

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Oaklawn Handicap & Apple Blossom Bumped by $100,000 Each

HOT SPRINGS, AR (Feb. 7, 2014) – Oaklawn Racing and Gaming has announced it will increase all overnight purses by as much as $2,000 per race starting with the Saturday, Feb. 8 card. Additionally, the purses for both the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 12 and the Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 11 have both been increased by $100,000 to $600,000 guaranteed.

Races with a claiming price of $20,000 or less will receive a $500 purse increase. All other overnight races will increase by $2,000. This means open allowance purses will increase from $58,000 to $60,000, maiden special weights will jump from $55,000 to $57,000 and the minimum purse will increase from $17,000 to $17,500. 

Oaklawn had already planned the richest purse distribution schedule in the track’s history when it began the 2014 racing season Jan. 10. Racing Secretary Pat Pope said that the purse increase is a result of strong overall business in January and a redistribution of purses from the days Oaklawn had to cancel due to weather.  Oaklawn’s January business enjoyed increases in Instant Racing/gaming and on wagering around the country on Oaklawn’s races.  

“We have enjoyed consistent purse increases for ten straight years now,” said Pope.  “The purse schedule planned for this season was our most ambitious ever.  So it’s extremely gratifying we can make these increases so early in the season. .It’s always exciting to start a meet and have the fans and horsemen respond so enthusiastically. It’s even more exciting knowing that racing in Arkansas is only going to get better from here.”

The Oaklawn Handicap, a race likely to attract champion Will Take Charge, and the Apple Blossom, which helped produce back-to-back Horse of the Years in 2010 and 2011 in Zenyatta and Havre de Grace, are two of the top races in America this time of year for older horses. Both are part of the Racing Festival of the South that highlights the final week of the meet April 5-12.