10/07/2003 12:00AM

Oaklawn expects record average purses


A week after Oaklawn Park officials announced that a $5 million bonus would be tied to the Arkansas Derby for 2004, they are projecting that purses will average a record $250,000 per day for the upcoming meet, which will run 55 days from Jan. 23 to April 10.

Maiden special weight races have been set at $31,000, while open allowance races will be worth $40,000. Last meet, purses at Oaklawn averaged $240,000 a day, an increase over the season before, when they were $224,000.

The purse increase is the result of several factors. The track has had an excellent simulcast season, while handle on Instant Racing, a parimutuel game that plays like a slot machine, continues to be strong. Oaklawn also had a productive live meet earlier this year, when more than 60,000 turned out for the Arkansas Derby.

This year, the purse for the Arkansas Derby has been doubled in value to $1 million, and the 3-year-old who wins that race as well as the track's $200,000 Rebel and the Kentucky Derby will win a $5 million "Centennial Bonus" from Oaklawn.

The bonus was announced last week as part of a package of stakes changes made to celebrate the track's 100th birthday in 2004.

Scarberry stakes winners to Calder

Louisiana Downs-based owner and trainer Howard Scarberry is pointing a handful of his horses for upcoming stakes at Calder Race Course, including recent stakes winners Tincan Too and Due to Win Again.

Tincan Too is being pointed for the $200,000 Calder Oaks on turf Oct. 11. The filly won the $50,000 Lyrique Handicap at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 1.

Due to Win Again, winner of the $40,000 Old South Handicap last Saturday, is being pointed for the Grade 3, $100,000 My Charmer Handicap on Dec. 6. In June, she finished third to Breeders' Cup contender Bien Nicole in the $50,000 Honeymoon.

Scarberry, who plans to bring a string of five horses to Calder, said he began planning a trip to the Miami track, where he has never raced before, because of Due to Win, an older half-sister to Due to Win Again.

"I looked at it because she's a Florida-bred," he said. "The rest of my horses will go to the Fair Grounds."

Due to Win, a multiple stakes winner who was third last time out in the $75,000 River Cities, is being pointed for the $200,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap for statebreds on Nov. 15.

Scarberry is also taking recent allowance winner Took Out to Calder for a possible start in the $100,000 Frances A. Genter Stakes on Dec. 20, while Dyna Penny could start in the Grade 2, $200,000 La Prevoyante Handicap on Dec. 27.

Remington revives Oaks

Remington Park has brought back the Remington Oaks, which has not been run since 2001. The one-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies will be worth $35,000 when it is held Nov. 15.

The stakes is designed to complement the Grade 3, $150,000 Oklahoma Derby, which will be run Nov. 16. Nominations for the Oaks close on Nov. 6.

Front Nine, Herve could clash

Front Nine and Herve, who won stakes impressively on the Texas Hall of Fame program at Retama Park on Saturday, could both meet Nov. 15 at Sam Houston in the $50,000 Spirit of Texas Stakes.

Front Nine, who has won three stakes this year, used off-the-pace tactics to win the $35,000 Longhorn for 3-year-olds and up. He is trained by Tommie Morgan.

Herve won the $35,000 Tejas for 3-year-olds on turf. Earlier this year, Herve won the $50,000 Harold V. Goodman Sprint on dirt at Lone Star. His trainer is Andrew Konkoly.

* Bruce Fraser of Las Vegas, former general manager of the Tuscany hotel and casino, has been hired as the general manager of the forthcoming slots casino for Evangeline Downs. The track's racing operations will continue to be overseen by David Yount.

* Bedillion, who has won four of his last five starts, heads a full field in the 10th at Louisiana Downs, a $10,000 starter to be run over a mile on turf.

* Chuck Nuber, a former steward in Texas, will be available as a consultant to horsemen in a deal set up by the Texas Horsemen's Partnership.