OAKLAWN ADDS NINE STAKES RACES TO RECORD 2022-2023 SCHEDULE

HOT SPRINGS, AR (Thursday, July 28, 2022) – Although it doesn’t begin until Friday, December 9, the 2022-2023 Oaklawn racing season has already broken at least two records. The Hot Springs, AR, track will offer the greatest number of stakes races and the highest stakes purses in its history.

Nine races have been added to the stakes schedule for the 68-day season, bringing the total to 45. Total purses offered for the stakes program have increased by $1.45 million to an all-time high of $13.75 million. The overall purse distribution for the season is projected to exceed $50 million, yet another record.

The stakes schedule is once again highlighted by the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 1, along with three $1 million stakes races – the Rebel Stakes (G2) February 25, the Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 15, and the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 22.

This is the second consecutive season Oaklawn is opening in December. Oaklawn President Louis Cella said the expansion of the stakes program is made possible by the early start. “We were pleased with how December racing was received last year, by both racing fans and horsemen,” Cella said. “Now, we’re going to use our stakes schedule to build on that momentum.”

Three of the new Stakes races are scheduled for December, while the other six will take place during the final weeks of the season:

  • Ring the Bell Stakes ($150,000) – December 10
  • Renaissance Stakes ($150,000) – December 31
  • Year’s End Stakes ($150,000) – December 31
  • Matron Stakes ($250,000) – March 31
  • Hot Springs Stakes ($200,000) – April 1
  • Valley of the Vapors Stakes ($150,000) – April 22
  • Dig a Diamond Stakes ($150,000) – April 29
  • Lake Ouachita Stakes ($150,000) – May 5
  • Lake Hamilton Stakes ($150,000) – May 6

“One of the reasons Oaklawn has been successful for more than a century is because of where we are located,” Oaklawn General Manager Wayne Smith said. “Tourism is a major industry in our area, and Oaklawn is proud to be the state’s top tourism attraction. We wanted some stakes with names synonymous with Oaklawn’s hometown and the surrounding area.”

Oaklawn’s rich 3-year-old series, offering points towards eligibility in the Kentucky Derby (G1), begins January 1, with the $250,000 Smarty Jones Stakes and continues with the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) January 28, and the Rebel Stakes (G2) February 25, before culminating with the April 1 Arkansas Derby (G1). The 3-year-old filly series offering points towards eligibility in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) follows the same path as the males, starting January 28 with the $200,000 Martha Washington Stakes, and continues with the $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) February 25, and $600,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 1.

Other notable highlights of Oaklawn’s 2022-2023 stakes schedule are the $600,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) February 18, $500,000 Essex Handicap (G3) and $200,000 Whitmore Stakes (G3) March 18, and the $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) and $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 15.

The 2022-2023 season runs Friday, December 9 through Saturday, May 6, Kentucky Derby Day.

Located in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, Oaklawn is one of the premiere Thoroughbred racetracks in the country since 1904, best known as home of the Arkansas Derby. The casino features slots, live table games, and sports betting year-round. Live racing held Dec-May and simulcast racing throughout the year. Come visit the Oaklawn hotel, multi-purpose event center, state-of-the-art spa, and several dining options. Oaklawn.com, 1-800-OAKLAWN.

Un Ojo Among Trio To Post Final Workouts For Arkansas Derby

Three projected starters for the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 2 recorded their final workouts over a fast track Saturday morning at Oaklawn.

The trio of workers included Un Ojo, the one-eyed gelding who recorded an upset victory in Oaklawn’s final major Arkansas Derby prep, the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) Feb. 26, for Louisiana-based trainer Ricky Courville.

Un Ojo breezed by himself after the surface renovation break under Rebel-winning rider Ramon Vazquez and covered a half-mile in :48.80. The gelding galloped out 5 furlongs in 1:02.

“Easy half, in hand,” said Clay Courville, who assists his father and regularly gallops Un Ojo. “Just a maintenance work. Northing hard. Just something to keep him happy.”

Un Ojo was breezing for the second time since winning the 1 1/16-mile Rebel at odds of 75-1. Un Ojo arrived Wednesday afternoon after a 5 ½-hour van ride from his south Louisiana base, The Training Center At Copper Crowne. Un Ojo returned to the work tab March 19 at The Training Center At Copper Crowne, clocking 5 furlongs in 1:03.

Working a half-mile approximately 15 minutes after the track opened at 7 a.m. (Central) was unbeaten We the People for trainer Rodolphe Brisset. We the People, as he normally does, breezed in company, this time with Triple Crown nominee and stablemate Kuchar, who is being pointed for the $150,000 Oaklawn Stakes April 23. We the People went in :47.80 and galloped out 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 under Brisset, his normal morning partner.

“Very good,” Brisset said. “Usual work for him. Same work we did last time before the allowance – :48, a minute and change – galloped out strong. Just a maintenance work at seven days. It was very good. Hopefully, he came out of it OK and we go from there.”

Also working in company just after the track opened was Ben Diesel for trainer Dallas Stewart. A full brother to multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Girls Secret, Ben Diesel recorded a 5-furlong bullet (:59) under regular rider Jon Court. Ben Diesel breezed with older stablemate Last Samurai, who won the $150,000 Poinsettia Stakes for 3-year-olds Dec. 11.

 

Oaklawn Increases Purses

Oaklawn will offer across-the-board purse increases beginning  Mar. 11. Claiming and starter allowance races will receive a $4,000 bump, with maiden special weights and allowances up by $6,000. The minimum purse is now set at $29,000 with maiden special weights at $90,000 and allowances at $106,000.

With the past three weeks having seen an increase in both on and off track wagering, Oaklawn has added an additional day to its schedule on Apr. 7. The live meet will run through May 8.

 

Oaklawn Park Cancels Racing Through Weekend

Due to the effects of a winter storm hitting Arkansas, Oaklawn Park canceled racing Feb. 4-6. The lost race dates will be replaced with racing added March 17, 24, and 31, a series of Thursdays.

“It’s never an easy decision to cancel live racing, but it’s the right decision for the safety of our horses and our fans traveling this weekend,” Oaklawn Park general manager Wayne Smith said. “We’re looking forward to an outstanding weekend Feb. 11-13 featuring two graded stakes and the Voices of Rock concert in the Oaklawn Event Center next Saturday. We appreciate the cooperation from the horsemen and our commission in rescheduling the races.”

In addition, the $250,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3), originally scheduled for Saturday, will now be run Feb. 12. The Bayakoa, a 1 1/16-mile race for older fillies and mares, will now be the supporting feature on a card highlighted by the $600,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses at the same distance.

Extreme Cold Forces Oaklawn To Cancel Racing, Training On Friday

Due to extreme cold temperatures in the region, Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. will cancel training and racing on Friday, Jan. 21.

The National Weather Service predicts temperatures as low as 16 degrees (F) on Thursday night, with a high of just 35 on Friday. Wind chills on Friday could be as low as 7.

According to the track’s Twitter feed, the goal is to resume racing and training on Saturday, Jan. 22, with post time Saturday afternoon moved to a 1:00 PM (Central) start time.

Normal schedules are expected to resume on Sunday, Jan. 23.

FIRST CONDITION BOOK NOW AVAILABLE FOR OAKLAWN MEET

The richest meet in the 118-year history of Oaklawn is set to begin on Dec. 3 and will feature maiden special weights for $84,000 and open allowances starting at $100,000. Overall, the 66-day season will offer purses between $45 million and $50 million.

Stall applications and the first condition book are now available at http://www.oaklawn.com/racing/horsemen/. Stall applications are due on Thursday, Oct. 21.

“Our slogan has been ‘A New Level of Racing’ the last few years and that’s exactly what we intend to deliver,” Oaklawn President Louis Cella said. “Our purses will be among the highest in the country between December and May, and the entertainment value we offer will be second to none. Our luxury hotel, spa and event center are fully open. The excitement heading into our live season has never been greater.”

Oaklawn plans to offer nine races per card, while racing on a Friday – Sunday basis with a few exceptions. There will be no racing Christmas week or Easter Sunday. Oaklawn will race Monday, Feb. 17, Presidents’ Day. Purses for claiming races will range between a minimum of $25,000 and $55,000 in book one.

In support of its top level of racing, Oaklawn previously announced, subject to regulatory approval, the prohibition of Clenbuterol or any other beta2-agonist within 120 days of a race. This restriction is part of Oaklawn’s ongoing commitment to enhancing the safety and integrity of its racing program.

Conducted by Industrial Labs, the presence of Clenbuterol and other beta2-agonist will be determined through blood, urine and hair follicle testing.

Oaklawn’s 2021-2022 season runs from Friday, Dec. 3 to Sunday, May 8. The schedule also features a total of 36 stakes worth $12,300,000, highlighted by the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1), which received a $250,000 increase for 2022 and three $1 million stakes races – $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2), $1 million Oaklawn Handicap (G2) and $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1).

Reservations for the Oaklawn Hotel during the 2021-2022 live meet can be made by visiting http://www.Oaklawn.com or calling 501-363-4625.

OAKLAWN RENEWS COMMITMENT TO CLENBUTEROL FREE RACING

Hot Springs, Ark. (Thursday, July 29, 2021) – Working in partnership with the Arkansas Racing Commission and the Arkansas HBPA (Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association), Oaklawn has announced, subject to regulatory approval, the prohibition of Clenbuterol or any other beta2-agonist within 120 days of a race. This restriction is part of Oaklawn’s ongoing commitment to enhancing the safety and integrity of its racing program.

Conducted by Industrial Labs, the presence of Clenbuterol and other beta2-agonist will be determined through blood, urine and hair follicle testing.

“Banning the use of Clenbuterol and other beta2-agonists further proves our commitment to the safety and integrity of our racing program,” said Oaklawn President Louis Cella. “Every decision we make is to enhance the experience of our horsemen and fans at Oaklawn. When we say “Racing First,’ we lead by example.”

Oaklawn’s 2021-2022 season runs from Friday, Dec. 3 to Sunday, May 8. The schedule features a total of 36 stakes worth $12,300,000, highlighted by the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1) and three $1 million stakes races – $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2), $1 million Oaklawn Handicap (G2) and $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1). All allowance races will be worth a minimum of $100,000 as part of the richest purse structure in Oaklawn’s 118-year history.

OAKLAWN ANNOUNCES MONUMENTAL SHIFT IN ITS RACING CALENDAR

HOT SPRINGS, AR (June 7, 2021) – In yet another historic move for the 117-year-old track, Oaklawn will now add December race dates to its calendar and host a 66-day season from Friday, Dec. 3, 2021 – Sunday, May 8, 2022.

“For many years, horsemen have wanted to race here in December to fill a gap in their racing schedule,” said Oaklawn President Louis A. Cella, who has guided Oaklawn through the most dramatic changes in its history over the past four years. “We have completed our resort expansion, including the opening of our luxury hotel, spa and event center. Therefore, the timing is right for another expansion – to our live racing season.”

The 66-day season will be conducted largely on a Friday-Sunday basis, with some exceptions. There will be no racing Dec. 24 through Dec. 26 during the Christmas holiday and also no racing on Easter Sunday, April 17. Racing will continue to be offered on Presidents’ Day Monday, Feb. 21, 2022.

Oaklawn plans to present the new proposed racing schedule to the Arkansas Racing Commission at their next meeting for approval.

“We are looking forward to the new format,” Cella said. “The additional days will provide a huge economic impact for horsemen, Arkansas Thoroughbred breeders and tourism in Central Arkansas.”

“Oaklawn’s decision to add racing days in December is wonderful news for Hot Springs and Garland County,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs. The expansion of its casino and its addition of a world-class hotel this year already provided Hot Springs with an exciting new feature in its attractions menu. The additional live racing dates will further cement Oaklawn’s status as a premier economic engine for our city. We all look forward to this great new reason for everyone to visit Hot Springs.”

Purses for the season are projected to be $45 million – $50 million; the highest in America at that time of year, with all allowance races starting at $100,000.

“To be able to offer six-figure allowance races for five consecutive months is a very strong statement,” Oaklawn Racing Secretary Pat Pope said. “Between the purses and all of our new amenities, we should be part of every horseman’s annual calendar.”

The extended season and projected purse increases make it necessary for Oaklawn to restructure its stakes program, highlighted, by realigning Oaklawn’s strong 3-year-old prep races.

“We will offer 2­-year-old racing in December,” Cella said, “and we anticipate additional exciting changes in our racing program, including an aggressive 2021-2022 stakes schedule. We are working on that now and will announce those changes soon. Suffice it to say that our stakes program will continue to be designed to attract the nation’s best horses and best horsemen to Hot Springs.”

Trainers are also excited about the additional race dates.

“I love it,” Hall of Famer and 11-time Oaklawn leading trainer Steve Asmussen said. “The more Oaklawn, the better.”

“I’ve been an advocate for this for years,” Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. “I think it’s a great addition and will keep our stables competitive. It’s also going to be a popular time. People are already in a festive mood around the holidays and the weather in December is usually pretty good. I think there is going to be a strong fan base. I’m 100% for it.”

“Oaklawn’s new dates allow us horsemen to participate in the most lucrative purse circuit in America without any interruptions,” trainer Ron Moquett said. “It’s now a smooth transition between Oaklawn, Churchill, and Saratoga.”

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 casino features slots, live table games, and sports betting year-round. Live racing held Dec-May and simulcast racing throughout the year. Now open: a 198-room luxury hotel, multi-purpose event center, state-of-the-art spa, and new dining options. Oaklawn.com, 1-800-OAKLAWN.

OAKLAWN ANNOUNCES SHIFT IN ITS RACING CALENDAR

HOT SPRINGS, AR (June 7, 2021) – In yet another historic move for the 117-year-old track, Oaklawn will now add December race dates to its calendar and host a 66-day season from Friday, Dec. 3, 2021 – Sunday, May 8, 2022.

“For many years, horsemen have wanted to race here in December to fill a gap in their racing schedule,” said Oaklawn President Louis A. Cella, who has guided Oaklawn through the most dramatic changes in its history over the past four years. “We have completed our resort expansion, including the opening of our luxury hotel, spa and event center. Therefore, the timing is right for another expansion – to our live racing season.”

The 66-day season will be conducted largely on a Friday-Sunday basis, with some exceptions. There will be no racing Dec. 24 through Dec. 26 during the Christmas holiday and also no racing on Easter Sunday, April 17. Racing will continue to be offered on Presidents’ Day Monday, Feb. 21, 2022.

Oaklawn plans to present the new proposed racing schedule to the Arkansas Racing Commission at their next meeting for approval.

“We are looking forward to the new format,” Cella said. “The additional days will provide a huge economic impact for horsemen, Arkansas Thoroughbred breeders and tourism in Central Arkansas.”

“Oaklawn’s decision to add racing days in December is wonderful news for Hot Springs and Garland County,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs. The expansion of its casino and its addition of a world-class hotel this year already provided Hot Springs with an exciting new feature in its attractions menu. The additional live racing dates will further cement Oaklawn’s status as a premier economic engine for our city. We all look forward to this great new reason for everyone to visit Hot Springs.”

Purses for the season are projected to be $45 million – $50 million; the highest in America at that time of year, with all allowance races starting at $100,000.

“To be able to offer six-figure allowance races for five consecutive months is a very strong statement,” Oaklawn Racing Secretary Pat Pope said. “Between the purses and all of our new amenities, we should be part of every horseman’s annual calendar.”

The extended season and projected purse increases make it necessary for Oaklawn to restructure its stakes program, highlighted, by realigning Oaklawn’s strong 3-year-old prep races.

“We will offer 2­-year-old racing in December,” Cella said, “and we anticipate additional exciting changes in our racing program, including an aggressive 2021-2022 stakes schedule. We are working on that now and will announce those changes soon. Suffice it to say that our stakes program will continue to be designed to attract the nation’s best horses and best horsemen to Hot Springs.”

Trainers are also excited about the additional race dates.

“I love it,” Hall of Famer and 11-time Oaklawn leading trainer Steve Asmussen said. “The more Oaklawn, the better.”

“I’ve been an advocate for this for years,” Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. “I think it’s a great addition and will keep our stables competitive. It’s also going to be a popular time. People are already in a festive mood around the holidays and the weather in December is usually pretty good. I think there is going to be a strong fan base. I’m 100% for it.”

“Oaklawn’s new dates allow us horsemen to participate in the most lucrative purse circuit in America without any interruptions,” trainer Ron Moquett said. “It’s now a smooth transition between Oaklawn, Churchill, and Saratoga.”

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 casino features slots, live table games, and sports betting year-round. Live racing held Dec-May and simulcast racing throughout the year. Now open: a 198-room luxury hotel, multi-purpose event center, state-of-the-art spa, and new dining options. Oaklawn.com, 1-800-OAKLAWN.

Asmussen Breaks Single-Season Oaklawn Earnings Record

Trainer Steve Asmussen breaks his single-season Oaklawn record for purse earnings.

 

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen broke his single-season Oaklawn Park record for purse earnings when Sianara and Miner’s Queen ran 1-2, respectively, in the seventh race April 28, a maiden special weight sprint for fillies and mares, 3 and up, valued at $93,000.

Asmussen’s runners collected $74,400 for the finish, pushing his total past the record $5,644,609 set in 2019 when he won 64 races, second-highest single-season total in Oaklawn history. Wednesday was the 48th day of the weather-shortened 51-day meeting that ends Saturday. Asmussen finished Wednesday with $5,686,643 in purse earnings at the meet.

 

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