From the Oaklawn Park Media Team:
After losing eight days of racing due to record-breaking winter weather, Oaklawn announced today a series of changes to its racing schedule designed to restore as much of the season as possible for the benefit of horsemen, including moving all five canceled stakes to Feb. 27 and 28.
The schedule and purse changes include:
- Immediately bringing nearly back $2 million in canceled stakes, including the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) and the $600,000 Razorback Handicap (G3), which will now be run Saturday, Feb. 27 along with the $200,000 Spring Fever Stakes.
- Adding 27 races to the schedule.
- Adding two new race days – Wednesday, March 31 and Wednesday, April 28.
- Increasing the purses on all overnight races by as much as $4,000 per race.
“There’s no fighting Mother Nature, especially when our priority is safety,” Oaklawn President Louis Cella said. “However, we feel these changes will greatly benefit our horsemen and our fans by creating a huge weekend of racing to kick off the rest of the season.”
The purse increase will go into effect Thursday, Feb. 25 when racing is scheduled to resume. The weekend will be highlighted by a total of six stakes races starting Saturday when the $750,000 Southwest, $600,000 Razorback, and the $200,000 Spring Fever will be run. Sunday will be highlighted by the $250,000 Bayakoa (G3), $150,000 Dixie Belle, and $150,000 Downthedustyroad. Nominations for all stakes were reopened and will close Friday, Feb. 19.
The purses increases will average 5% per overnight race, meaning maiden special weights will be increased from $82,000 to $86,000 and top allowance races will increase from $88,000 to as much as $92,000.
Cella said these late-breaking changes would not have been possible without the input and assistance of Arkansas Racing Commission Chairman Alex Lieblong and HBPA President Bill Walmsley. “Winter dealt us a bad hand,” said Cella. “With their help, we truly are making lemonade out of lemons and with these changes, the balance of the season will be terrific.”
Due to Arkansas restrictions on crowd size, attendance at Oaklawn for live racing is limited to box holders, Oaklawn Jockey Club members, and patrons with dining/simulcast reservations. However, Oaklawn General Manager Wayne Smith anticipates being able to open the Oaklawn infield and other outdoor areas to fans in the coming weeks. Reservations can be made by calling 501-363-4660, Mon-Sat, for that week’s races only.
For more information, visit www.Oaklawn.com.
Nominations for all stakes were reopened and will close Friday, Feb. 19.
Saturday, Feb. 27 Stakes – Entries to be drawn Tuesday, Feb. 23
$750,000 Southwest (G3)
$600,000 Razorback Handicap (G3)
$200,000 Spring Fever
Sunday, Feb. 28 Stakes – Entries to be drawn Wednesday, Feb. 24
$250,000 Bayakoa (G3)
$150,000 Dixie Belle