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Feb 23, 2012

Major jump in Oaklawn purses



Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - Just weeks after Oaklawn Park announced a $5,000 a day increase in purses, the track will boost overnight purses an additional $100,000 per week. The $800,000 total increase puts the track's 2012 purse distribution at nearly $18 million.

"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. "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. Thanks to the positive trends on both sides this meet, we're able to keep making our racing the best nationwide."

So far this season no days have been lost because of bad weather. For the Presidents' Day program, which featured two divisions of the $250,000 Southwest Stakes for three-year-olds, the on-track crowd totaled 29,313.

"The owners and trainers are thrilled with this purse increase," said Bill Walmsley, executive director of the Arkansas H.B.P.A. "It makes all of us feel very good. It's another indication that Oaklawn continues to buck the national trend. This is the way that thoroughbred racing should be conducted. It shows just how successful it can be when racing is treated as a major sporting event and not just a gambling event. The fans respond."

The 56 day meet concludes on Saturday, April 14 with the running of the $1 million Arkansas Derby.

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