Oaklawn Park-Coady Photography
HOT SPRINGS, AR (Thursday, March 22, 2012) - Oaklawn, which has already announced three purse increases this meet, is increasing the purses of the April 14 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) and Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) by $50,000, bringing them to $400,000 and $250,000, respectively. Additionally, the track will offer a participation bonus for the fourth consecutive year on all non-stakes races that attract more than eight wagering interests for the final three weeks of the season (March 29 - April 14).
As a reward to horsemen who continue to race at the track through closing day, Oaklawn will add $1,000 to the purse for every horse that gives a race more than eight separate wagering interests. For example, a nine-horse field will have its purse increased by $1,000, while a full 12-horse field will have its purse increased by $4,000. This means that the minimum purse level for claiming races would be at least $18,000 for a nine-horse field receiving the participation bonus and a 12-horse maiden special weight race could be worth as much as $55,000.
"When we close the books on the 2012 meet, Oaklawn will have offered the highest amount of purses in track history," said Racing Secretary Pat Pope. "It's exciting to be able to bolster the Arkansas Derby Day card by bumping the purses for the Oaklawn Handicap and Count Fleet and we are confident that horsemen will respond. We fully expect that the positive business trends we saw earlier in the meet thanks to the good weather will continue over the remaining few weeks of the meet."
In addition to the Oaklawn Handicap and Count Fleet purse increase, it was previously announced that the purses for the remaining four Arkansas-bred stakes would be raised from $50,000 to $60,000. These are the Arkansas Breeders' Female Division March 25, the Rainbow and Rainbow Miss both on March 31 and the Arkansas Breeders' Open Division April 1.
The 2012 race meet will conclude with the Racing Festival of the South April 11 - 14 featuring at least one stakes race each day. It culminates with the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1), $400,000 Oaklawn Handicap, $250,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap and $100,000 Northern Spur Stakes.
(Copyright 2012 Oaklawn Racing/Gaming)