Booming Business Leads to Big Bump in Purses

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015) – Oaklawn, having just enjoyed strong across-the-board business in the month of January, announced it is raising overnight purses between $1,000 and $3,000 per race effective Thursday, February 12.  This increase gives Oaklawn the highest daily purse structure in America at this time of year.

“To be able to increase purses this early in the season is a testament to the quality racing we’ve been offering,” said Racing Secretary Pat Pope. “We have some of the top horses in the country in our barn area and I’m getting calls every day from horsemen seeking stalls.”

Oaklawn will head into the busy Presidents Day Weekend by increasing all overnight purses by at least $1,000 and some by as much as $3,000. Lower level claiming races and Maiden Allowance races will receive a $1,000 purse increase; Open allowance races and claiming races for horses running with a claiming price of $25,000 and up will receive an additional $3,000 each; and higher end maiden claiming races will increase by $2,000.

This will make the minimum Oaklawn purse $19,000. Maiden Special Weight races will offer purses of $61,000 and higher allowance races could offer purses as high as $68,000.

“We have a unique business model that features live racing, Instant Racing and Electronic Games of Skill,” said Director of Racing David Longinotti.  “And what we are seeing is that the total is greater than the sum of the parts.  It’s working.”

Oaklawn was recently named the “Best Racino in the Mid-South” by a national magazine.

Longinotti said it is too early to tell, but allowed that next week’s purse increase may not be the last increase this season.  “If the business trend we saw in January continues through February, there’s a very good chance we’ll be doing this one more time.”

The 2015 Oaklawn season continues through Saturday, April 11 when it culminates with the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1). The five-day Presidents Day weekend, Feb. 12 – 16, will be highlighted by the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 16, a major stepping stone for Oaklawn’s premiere race.

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