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Oaklawn increases purses again

The good fortune continues at Oaklawn with racing and Instant Racing/gaming both seeing double-digit increases in February and as a result, the Hot Springs, Arkansas, track is announcing the third purse increase of the meet effective with Friday's nine-race card. In addition, the purses for the four remaining Arkansas-bred stakes -- the Rainbow, the Rainbow Miss and both divisions of the Arkansas Breeders' -- will be increased from $50,000 to $60,000.

On-track handle improved 30 percent in February compared to 2011, while off-track handle grew 33 percent. The Instant Racing/gaming operations saw similar increase during the same time period.

"We have enjoyed a very positive trend this meet," said David Longinotti, Oaklawn's assistant general manager of racing. "Good weather with no missed days of racing and only one missed day of training has led to large, quality fields and our fans have responded. Maiden races are now worth $51,000, which was hard to imagine just a few years ago. And, we anticipate that soon we'll be making yet another announcement about our remaining open stakes and our participation bonus, which has been very successful the last few years."

Overall, daily overnight purses will increase by more than $25,000. The purse increase will be divided as follows: $4,000 for claiming races over $15,000 and starter allowances over $20,000. There will be a $5,000 increase on allowance races and maiden special weights, bringing total purses for these races to $52,000 and $51,000, respectively. Overall, purses for maiden and allowance races have grown 28 percent since the meet began January 13.

"I certainly like it," trainer Steve Hobby said. "This place is home to me and it's the one place I know I'll be at every year, so to see this place do well is important to me. It looks like one of the few places in the business that is going the right way."

The live racing season continues through April 14.


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