A $200,000 bump to the Rebel S. (G2) and a condensed four-day, nine stakes
Racing Festival of the South highlight Oaklawn Park’s 2012 live racing season,
which kicks off January 13. In total, there will be 34 stakes races worth nearly
$5.2 million during the season, beginning with the $75,000 Fifth Season S.
on opening day.
The 56-day meet will culminate April 14, with the 76th running of the $1
million Arkansas Derby (G1), a race that has produced five classic race winners
since 2004 and the 2011 Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Nehro (Mineshaft).
Oaklawn’s proven three-year-old series leading to the Arkansas Derby will
once again feature the one-mile $100,000 Smarty Jones, the one-mile $250,000
Southwest S. (G3) and the 1 1/16-mile, $500,000 Rebel, which was increased from
$300,000. The Smarty Jones and Southwest will anchor the holiday Monday cards on
January 16 and February 20, respectively, while the Rebel will be held March 17,
four weeks in advance of the Arkansas Derby .
“We are very proud of our 2012 stakes schedule, but we’re particularly
excited about the boost to the Rebel S. because it’s making a name for itself as
a leading Triple Crown prep — not just an Arkansas Derby prep,” David
Longinotti, assistant general manager of racing, said.
Oaklawn has condensed its annual Racing Festival of the South and will now
run its final nine stakes between April 11 and April 14. The rich four days of
racing begin on a Wednesday with the $300,000 Fantasy S. (G2) for three-year-old
fillies, continue Thursday with the $75,000 Carousel and $100,000 Redbud S. and
Friday with the $500,000 Apple Blossom H. (G1) and $100,000 Instant Racing,
before ending Saturday with the $100,000 Northern Spur S., $200,000 Count Fleet
Sprint H. (G3), $350,000 Oaklawn H. (G2) and the Arkansas Derby.
“Our hope with the compressing of the Racing Festival is to make it more
convenient to send horses to Hot Springs,” Longinotti said. “Horsemen will be
able to line up one plane, send several horses across a couple different
divisions and arrange to have their main riders come for all the races of the
Festival. We are confident that with this move, we will not only continue to
attract the best three-year-olds, but will continue to have large, competitive
fields for all our Festival races.”
Other stakes of note during the 2012 season include the $125,000 Razorback H.
(G3) and $125,000 Honeybee S. (G3), both on March 10, and the $150,000 Azeri S.
(G3) on Rebel Day, March 17. Oaklawn Park will run Thursday through Sunday
during the meet, plus the aforementioned holiday Monday cards. For more
information, visit www.oaklawn.com.
For the complete 2012 stakes schedule, click