Hot Springs, Ark. (Tuesday, March 9, 2021) – Oaklawn has announced the largest mid-season purse increase in the history of the track. Over the final eight weeks of the season, Oaklawn will pump another $2.5 million into overnight races, including increasing top allowance races to $110,000. The 15% across the board increase also takes maiden special weights to $93,000 and raises the bottom purse to $27,000.
“It’s been an interesting year to say the least, but it is very gratifying to announce this purse increase nearly a year after shutting the race meet and casino down to fans because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Oaklawn President Louis Cella said. “I wasn’t sure we’d get here a couple of weeks ago with all the bad winter weather, but our horsemen and fans are resilient. February ended with a tremendous weekend of racing and it was exciting to see fans back in the Infield last week. I have no doubt the final eight weeks of racing are going to be exciting, especially with some of our marquee races still to come.”
Saturday’s 12-race card will be highlighted by the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds with Arkansas Derby (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1) aspirations, as well as the $500,000 Essex Handicap, $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2), $200,000 Hot Springs Stakes, and $150,000 Temperence Hill Stakes. First post is 12 noon.
“Rebel Stakes weekend has grown to be almost as big as Arkansas Derby Day and we’re excited to be able to welcome more fans back just in time for the richest racing in our history,” General Manager Wayne Smith said. “Weather permitting, the Infield will be open every Saturday throughout the end of the meet. The Infield is truly a rite of spring and it was certainly missed last year.”
Oaklawn’s 2021 live meet continues through Saturday, May 1.
Located in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, Oaklawn has been one of the premiere Thoroughbred racetracks in the country since 1904, best known as home of the $1 million Arkansas Derby. The Vegas-style casino features slots, live table games, and sports betting year-round. Live racing held Jan-May and simulcast racing throughout the year. Opening early 2021 are a 200-room luxury hotel, multi-purpose event center, state-of-the-art spa and new dining options. Website – http://www.Oaklawn.com, Phone – 1-800-OAKLAWN.