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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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‘I Wanted To Cry A Little Bit’: Lindsey Hebert Celebrates First Winner At Oaklawn

by | 04.19.2021

 

 

Lindsey Hebert celebrates her first win at Oaklawn Park

The last name is Hebert, the home state is Louisiana and the profession is jockey.

Got to be Cajun, right? Wrong.

Lindsey Hebert grew up in Delhi, a town of about 3,000 in northeast Louisiana, 40 miles west of the Mississippi River. While Hebert, 23, doesn’t hail from south Louisiana, specifically, the famed Acadiana region, she does now have something in common with some of its most notable riding products, including Hall of Famers Eddie Delahoussaye, Calvin Borel, Kent Desormeaux and Randy Romero. Hebert is a winner at Oaklawn.

Hebert recorded her first career victory in Friday’s third race aboard Time Heist ($31.40) for trainer Ron Westermann in a 5 ½-furlong sprint for conditioned $12,500 claimers. It was the 12th career mount for Hebert – all this year at Oaklawn – according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Time Heist, under a steady hand ride from Hebert, was a front-running four-length winner.

Read Paulick Report Article

Oaklawn to Increase Purses

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.

OAKLAWN RESCHEDULES ALL MISSED STAKES; ADDS DAYS AND RACES

HOT SPRINGS, AR (Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2021) – 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 back $2.1 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 http://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

$150,000 Downthedustyroad

OAKLAWN CANCELS SATURDAY – MONDAY; RESCHEDULES THREE GRADED STAKES FOR FEB. 20

HOT SPRINGS, AR (Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021) – Due to the predicted winter weather expected in Hot Springs over the next few days, Oaklawn is canceling its extended Presidents’ Day weekend, Saturday, Feb. 13 – Monday, Feb. 15, and is rescheduling the three graded stakes and one listed stakes.

The $250,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3), $600,000 Razorback Handicap (G3), and $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) will now be run Saturday, Feb. 20 and the $150,000 Dixie Belle Stakes and $150,000 Downthedustyroad Stakes will be run Sunday, Feb. 21.

“The weather forecast does not look promising this weekend between the ice and frigid temperatures, so out of consideration for the safety of the horses, our horsemen and fans, we wanted to make this call as soon as possible,” General Manager Wayne Smith said. “We appreciate the cooperation we have received from our horsemen and Racing Commission. Though we are frustrated Mother Nature has thrown us a curveball, our rescheduled stakes will create a spectacular weekend of racing next week.”

Oaklawn expects to run the Thursday and Friday cards as scheduled. Post time is at 1 p.m. on both days. The casino and simulcast racing will remain open all weekend. No reservations will be required for seating in the simulcast area this weekend only, first come, first served.

Entries for the Saturday, Feb. 20 card will be taken on Sunday, Feb. 14. Oaklawn will run 11 races next Saturday and 10 races next Sunday.

All reservations made for Saturday, Feb. 13 – Monday, Feb. 15 have been canceled. Fans wishing to attend the races Feb. 18 -21 must call 501-363-4660 starting at 9 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 15. Reservation lines are open Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.Oaklawn.com.

Another Milestone For Asmussen: 700 Career Wins At Oaklawn

Steve Asmussen became the second trainer to reach 700 career victories at Oaklawn when even-money favorite Swiftsure captured Saturday’s seventh race at under Ricardo Santana Jr.

Asmussen entered the 2021 Oaklawn meeting that began Friday with 696 career victories at the Hot Springs, Ark., track. He saddled one winner Friday and added victories in Saturday’s fourth race with favored Jalen Journey ($4.40) and sixth race, the $150,000 Fifth Season Stakes, with favored Silver State ($3.80) before reaching the career milestone with Swiftsure ($4).

A two-time Eclipse Award winner (2008 and 2009) as the nation’s outstanding trainer, Asmussen, 55, was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2016. He is seeking his record-tying 11th Oaklawn training title.

 

Read Paulick Report Article

Oaklawn Trims Purses at Start of Meet

Approximate 15% reduction in overnight purses from first condition book.

Overnight purses have been reduced in advance of the start of the Oaklawn Park meet, a 57-day run which will begin Jan. 22. The Arkansas track is making the move due to limiting attendance because of social distancing requirements because of COVID-19. The news was first reported by Mary Rampellini of Daily Racing Form, who reported average daily purses will be about $600,000 instead of the originally projected $700,000, for about a 15% reduction. Stakes purses will not be altered.

An Oaklawn spokesperson confirmed the track’s first condition book is being reprinted with the new overnight purse structure.

OAKLAWN TO ALLOW A LIMITED NUMBER OF FANS IN 2021

Pursuant to the Arkansas Department of Health directive, Oaklawn plans to conduct the 2021 live meet with limited spectators. The 57-day season runs from Friday, Jan. 22 – Saturday, May 1.

“We’ve been working on plans covering numerous scenarios and we’re happy to announce we will be welcoming back race fans in 2021, albeit on a limited basis,” General Manager Wayne Smith said. “We know that the fans are what make Oaklawn so special, but our main concern is for the safety and well-being of our guests and team members. We appreciate the support we have received from the Arkansas Department of Health in developing this plan. We will be working with them throughout the live season and will adjust as needed.”

In accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Arkansas Department of Health, Oaklawn has submitted a plan to allow a limited number of spectators at the races during the 2021 live race meet highlighted by the following:

• General admission into the Grandstand will not be allowed initially in 2021.
• Entrance into the Grandstand will strictly be for guests with a racing credential and/or reservation for that day’s races. Doors will open at 11 am.
• Current seasonal box seat holders and current Oaklawn Jockey Club members may enter the Grandstand with weekly reservations required. Detailed correspondence to be sent separately to these individuals.
• Restaurants inside the Grandstand, following Arkansas Department of Health directives, will be open to the public with weekly reservations required.
• Simulcast will be open Wednesday–Sunday, 11 am–8 pm to limited capacity with weekly reservations required.
• Social distancing will be enforced.
• All guests and team members will be required to have non-invasive temperature checks as they enter the facility. Anyone presenting a temp at/over 100 degrees Fahrenheit will not be permitted inside the building.
• All guests and team members will be required to wear masks at all times.
• Smoking will not be allowed anywhere inside the facility, including the casino.

Restaurant reservations may be made starting January 18 by calling 501-363-4710.

Simulcast reservations may be made starting January 18 by calling 501-363-4320.

For additional details and future updates, please visit oaklawn.com.

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