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Oaklawn ready to race after track repairs

The damage to Oaklawn Park's track caused by exceptionally heavy rain last Saturday has been repaired and the track is now ready for racing. Oaklawn will open Thursday for the first of five race cards culminating with $150,000 Smarty Jones on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

"Fortunately, the damage looked worse than it really was and we were able to get the track repaired quickly," Assistant General Manger of Racing David Longinotti said. "We had hoped to have it back open for training (Tuesday) morning, but another round of winter weather hit us. Oaklawn and the H.B.P.A. track surface committee made the joint decision not to train because of the icy conditions, but the forecast for the rest of the week through Monday looks very good."

Oaklawn will run four stakes this coming weekend starting with the $75,000 Pippin for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles Saturday. Sunday will feature the $60,000 American Beauty for older female sprinters and the $60,000 Dixie Belle, originally scheduled for last Saturday, for three-year-old fillies going six furlongs. Monday's one-mile Smarty Jones, for three-year-old colts and geldings, takes on added significance this year because it will be the first opportunity this season for a local horse to earn points toward entry into the Kentucky Derby based on Churchill Down's new eligibility rules.

First post is 1:30 p.m. (CST) Thursday, Friday and Sunday and 1 p.m. Saturday and Monday. Monday will also feature a free baseball cap giveaway with paid admission while supplies last.

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