02/28/2008 12:00AM

Oaklawn increases purses

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Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., on Thursday announced an across-the-board overnight purse increase that adds $1,000 per race to allowances, optional claimers, and maiden special weights, as well as $500 per race for all claiming and starter allowance races. The increase would be retroactive to Thursday's program, said officials at Oaklawn.

The boost is accountable to an increase in handle on Oaklawn's live races and an increase in play on its Instant Racing machines and other electronic gaming.

"Our overall business this season is up, and when the overall business is up, that's more money for purses," said Eric Jackson, general manager of Oaklawn.

"It's simply a reflection on our overall business for the first half of the meet."

Pat Pope, the racing secretary at Oaklawn, said the purse increase will add approximately $250,000 to purses over the final six weeks of the meet. Oaklawn races through April 12.