08/21/2012 3:47PM

Oaklawn Park will offer record purses in 2013

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Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., will open its 2013 meet in January with a record purse structure that includes maiden special weight races worth $53,000 and allowance races worth as much as $56,000. The track announced on Tuesday that it plans to pay out close to $20 million in total purses during the 56-date meet, up from $18 million during the same number of dates in 2012.

Oaklawn’s purses are projected to average more than $350,000 a day, including $5.7 million in stakes, in 2013. The racing program is funded in part by an electronic gaming operation at Oaklawn.

Oaklawn began the 2012 meet with purses averaging about $320,000 a program and maiden special weights worth $40,000. By the final weeks of the season, maiden special weight purses had swelled to $51,000.

“We were thrilled last year when we were able to offer $40,000 for maiden allowance races,” said Pat Pope, racing secretary at Oaklawn. “For that number to climb to $53,000 this year is just phenomenal.”

Oaklawn also has made notable increases to races with claiming prices of $15,000 or greater for 2013.

Pope and David Longinotti, assistant general manager of racing at Oaklawn, will soon be making stable recruiting trips to California, Kentucky, and New York. Longinotti said stall applications, which are available at www.oaklawn.com, would be reviewed at the end of October, while the stable area will open in mid-November.

Oaklawn races from Jan. 11 through April 13.

W.G. More than 1 year ago
A really novel idea would be for Oaklawn to put a much greater emphasis on Allowance and stakes races by leaving claiming purses where they are and solely increasing allowance purses. Then, Oaklawn could go with purses of potentially $65,000 going short and $70,000 going long for maiden specials with N1x Allowance races being $70,000 going short and $75,000 going long and all stakes races being worth at least $125,000. That to me is something that is needed to be done as by capping claiming purses, it would artificially increase the claiming prices to where they should be and eliminate a lot of trainers dropping horses below where they should be.
Steve More than 1 year ago
Instead of putting all the electronic gaming money into the purses, most of which goes to wealthy owners (most are well off financially), here's a novel idea...why not give some financial incentives to the HORSEPLAYERS, the people who drive the handle and have to put up with unreasonably high takeouts. That's only if the racing industry is interested in growing the handle, growing the business and growing the number of racing fans. If not, then put it all in the purses and in a few years when gaming stops giving money to horse racing you will have blown a great opportunity to promote the sport
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
Over the last 25 years, I've hear so much about "take out". It's all BS. The "take out" funds the physical operation, purses etc. It should be viewed by the player as a fixed cost of playing the game. We have no say in it. Also, for the last 20 years I was 100% sure that the race-ino structure at low level tracks was BS. The excitement about better horses racing at low level tracks with slot funding was an unrealistic exptation. Now we see the same low level nags running for higher purses. Only in NY has it changed, and brought in new barns. Basically, if you play the game, don't complain about the 'take out", it's the tracks deal, not yours.
jg777 More than 1 year ago
I beg to differ that it has changed in NY. Saratoga cards nothing but 20k claimers and state bred maiden special weights anymore and some of those bottom level claimers/maiden claimers at Belmont are downright scary. The same 10 bars win almost every race, and once Saratoga ends you will see everyone go back to where they came from! If anything, it has helped the level of some racing elsewhere, namely Parx. In the past none of the bigger NY, NJ, Del trainers would ship horses to run there, but it is happening more and more frequently, and the quality of horses overall has increased dramatically since the casino.
Robin Dawson More than 1 year ago
What a joke! And who cares...North American horse racing is going down the drain, and people get all excited about a bush track like Oaklawn having record purses. Consider this...if there were Equine Olympics, horses from the United States would not only not win any medals, they wouldn't even qualify to compete!
James More than 1 year ago
Consider this...US racing may not be perfect but we are proud of Oaklawn in Arkansas. If your unhappy with the state of North American racing maybe you should find another game or join the Olympic caliber horses overseas. There are NO equine Olympics and Oaklawn is NO bush track.
Tom Paige More than 1 year ago
The only thing bush is your comment about Oaklawn.
Robin Dawson More than 1 year ago
Ha! Ha!...thereby lies the problem.
Flint King More than 1 year ago
great news i love oaklawn park
James More than 1 year ago
I appreciate Oaklawn putting the "electronic games of skill" money back into the racing program which in turn brings excellent racing to Hot Springs. I have attended each Saturday of every meet since 04 and have seen some of the greats. Bring em on in 2013!