12/01/2009 12:00AM

Oaklawn lowers show minimum


The Arkansas Racing Commission on Tuesday approved Oaklawn Park's request to change its longstanding minimum payout scale.

In the event of a minus pool the minimum payout on a $2 wager will now be $2.10 for the meet that opens Jan. 15. It had been $2.20, which made Arkansas one of the last states with that high of a minimum.

The new minimum payout is more in line with other jurisdictions that take Oaklawn's simulcast signal, said Byron Freeland, an attorney for the commission. As a result, it makes for cleaner simulcast contracts.

In other action, the commission approved an increase in losing mount fees for jockeys, which has been done in many states over the past several months. As part of the new Arkansas scale, the losing mount fee in races with a purse of $15,000 to $25,000 will increase from $55 to $70.

Also on Tuesday, the commission passed a rule that clears the way for external, non-invasive treatments on race day, such as chiropractic work, massage therapy, and magnetic blankets. The commission had adopted an amendment approving such treatments last February, and it became a rule Tuesday.

As part of the rule, all electrical or mechanical devices used must be approved by the commission.

The issue of race-day chiropractic work was first raised at Oaklawn in late January, when a horse trained by Larry Jones was scratched after a backstretch monitor observed the horse receiving such a treatment. Jones, who faced no sanctions as a result of the scratch, addressed the commission last meet and sought clarification on its policies, which led to the amendment.