Photo Courtesy: Oaklawn (Coady Photography)
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (Oaklawn) - Purse increases to 19 of 31 stakes races and the creation of a Racing Festival of the South Preview Day are among the highlights of Oaklawn's 2014 stakes schedule. The minimum purse for all open stakes races was increased from $60,000 to $100,000, while the minimum purse for state-bred stakes was increased from $60,000 to $75,000. Oaklawn begins its 57-day race meet Friday, Jan. 10, 2014.
The Razorback Handicap (G3) and Azeri Stakes (G3) each received a $50,000 increase to $200,000 and the Razorback has been moved back a week to March 15 where it will help create a Racing Festival of the South Preview card along with the Azeri and the $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2), which featured a runner-up finish from eventual Preakness Stakes winner Oxbow in 2013. These races are the final local preps for the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2), $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) and $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1), respectively.
"The popularity of Instant Racing and Electronic Games of Skills continues to grow in Arkansas, which is tremendous for our stakes program," said Director of Racing David Longinotti. "We don't think it's a coincidence that our purses have steadily grown over the last 10 years and in that same period, 10 Triple Crown races have been won by horses that raced at Oaklawn with Oxbow being the latest. We also expect our overnight purses to be a record for our track this coming season."
Additionally, Oaklawn is returning to a more traditional Racing Festival of the South schedule with stakes races once again extending over the final two weekends of the meet. The $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies on the Kentucky Oaks path will now be held Saturday, April 5, after anchoring a Wednesday program the last two years. The Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) has had its purse increased from $250,000 to $300,000 and will return to its traditional Thursday spot on April 10. The meet will once again culminate with the 78th running of the Arkansas Derby (G1) April 12 and the closing day card will also feature the Oaklawn Handicap, $100,000 Northern Spur Stakes and $100,000 Instant Racing Stakes.
For more information about Oaklawn's 2014 race meet, visit www.oaklawn.com or call 1-800-OAKLAWN.