OAKLAWN’S FIRST CONDITION BOOK NOW AVAILABLE
HOT SPRINGS, AR (Sept. 6, 2017) – The track with the highest purses in the Midwest has released its first condition book for the 2018 live season that begins Friday, Jan. 12. Condition books can be found at www.oaklawn.com or obtained by calling 501-501-5570.
As part of its rich purse structure, Oaklawn will place a greater emphasis on the upper claiming races and has proportioned the purses accordingly. Races with claiming prices of $16,000 and higher in 2018 will see purse increases of between 16 and 30 percent over the 2017 purses.
The overall $30 million in purses also includes Maiden Special Weights worth $75,000 and Open Allowance races worth as much as $80,000.
“This sends a very good signal,” Hall of Famer and eight-time Oaklawn leading trainer Steve Asmussen said. “It tells horsemen they are going to get rewarded for doing a good job rather than just for being aggressive. I really think this will work. It’s going to make for more competitive, better betting races.”
“This is a positive move,” Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. “It’s going to entice more $25,000 and $30,000 horses. It’s going to make a difference because there will be more action in the middle.”
“This is a great idea,” said longtime Oaklawn trainer Steve Hobby, a member of the Arkansas H.B.P.A. Executive Board. “The money stays within the claiming ranks, which is good and it’s what’s best for the horse.”
Oaklawn has also made changes to the eligibility rules. Starting in 2018, horses must have started for more than $5,000 or have finished first through fourth in a $5,000 claiming race to be eligible for a stall or to enter. Oaklawn has also raised the minimum claiming price from $5,000 to $6,250. Maidens must have started for more than $7,500 or finished second through fourth in a $7,500 maiden claiming race to receive consideration for a stall. In addition, 6-year-old maidens and horses 10 years or older will not be allowed to start unless approved in advance by the Racing Secretary and Stewards.
Oaklawn previously announced a 31-race stakes schedule worth $8.525 million. The 2018 Live Meet runs through Saturday, April 14.