02/23/2012 1:41PM

Oaklawn Park: Purses raised $100,000 per week through end of the meet on April 14


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Oaklawn Park announced on Thursday that overnight purses will be increased approximately $100,000 a week for the remaining eight weeks of the season that runs through April 14. The boost was to begin with Thursday’s program.

With the increase, Oaklawn’s purse distribution is projected to be nearly $18 million this meet, an average of more than $320,000 a card. The increase is the second of the season at Oaklawn.

The latest purse increase will provide a $5,000 boost to all maiden special weight and allowance races. There will also be a $3,000 increase to claiming races over $20,000, and a $1,500 increase for claiming races under $20,000. The move brings the purse for maiden special weight races to an all-time high of $46,000.

Oaklawn has had favorable weather patterns this meet, unlike last year when the track lost a record eight cards to inclement weather. The season reached a pinnacle on Monday, when 29,313 patrons turned out for a holiday card that featured two divisions of the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest Stakes. Handle on the 10-race program from all sources Monday was more than $5 million. Oaklawn has also seen record business in its gaming center.

“As we learned last year, weather can be the difference between a good meet and a great meet,” said David Longinotti, assistant general manager of racing at Oaklawn. “We’ve been very fortunate that everything has fallen into place this season. It’s very exciting to work for a company that puts as much effort into racing as gaming.”

Oaklawn opened its meet Jan. 13.