July 26, 2012
Track Will Offer Riches Stakes Program in its History
Hot Springs, Ark. (Thursday, July 26, 2012) – Oaklawn has increased purses on 13 of its 32 stakes planned in 2013, including a majority of its 3-year-old stakes races. Overall, the track has raised stakes purses by nearly $400,000 to $5.7 million, the richest program in its history.
There will be more money and points available to Kentucky Derby (G1) hopefuls at Oaklawn in 2013 than any track in the U.S. The track’s 3-year-old series, which, since 2004, has produced two Kentucky Derby winners, four Preakness winners, one Belmont Stakes winner and the last two Kentucky Derby runner-ups, has a total of 289 points available and $2,050,000 in purses. 2013 will mark the first year that Churchill Downs will use a point system rather than graded stakes earnings to determine the Kentucky Derby field.
Significant $100,000 boosts were made to two marquee 3-year-old races, the Rebel Stakes (G2) for colts and geldings March 16 and the Fantasy Stakes (G3) for fillies April 10, and the purses of the first two legs of the track’s series for male 3-year-olds– the Smarty Jones and Southwest (G3) Stakes – have both been raised by $50,000. Additionally, the purse of the Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies was raised $25,000.
“Oaklawn welcomes the new point system because it rewards the prep races such as our Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby that have a longstanding tradition of producing Triple Crown caliber horses,” said David Longinotti, Assistant General Manager of Racing. “We are also excited that horses can start earning points with the Smarty Jones Stakes in January, so it was only fitting that we make this and the Southwest even more attractive with larger purses. We believe this can only enhance our series.”
The $150,000 Smarty Jones and the $300,000 Southwest will anchor Oaklawn’s two Monday holiday cards on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21 and Presidents Day, Feb. 18, respectively. The purse for the Rebel Stakes will now be $600,000, which is the second significant increase for this race in two years. The series will culminate April 13 with the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1).
The other significant change to the 3-year-old program is a distance change for the Southwest Stakes, which has been increased from one mile to 1 1/16 miles.
In addition to the Rebel and Fantasy, the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) received a $100,000 increase to $500,000, its second increase in two years. This 1 1/8-mile event for older horses will once again be part of a four-stakes closing day program April 13, along with the Arkansas Derby, $250,000 Count Fleet Stakes (G3) and $100,000 Northern Spur Stakes. Two other races for older horses – the March 9 Razorback Handicap (G3) and the April 11 Carousel for female sprinters – had their purses raised by $25,000 to $150,000 and $100,000, respectively.
Other stakes to receive purses increases were the Dixie Belle, American Beauty, King Cotton, Downthedustyroad Breeders’ Stakes and Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes, which were all bumped from $50,000 to $60,000. There will be no stakes races, including state-bred ones, run for less than $60,000. For the complete stakes schedule, visit www.oaklawn.com. The 56-day 2013 meet runs Friday, Jan. 11 through Saturday, April 13.
To view the entire stakes schedule, click here.