Over the final eight weeks of its 2021 season, Oaklawn will boost purses by 15%, a total of $2.5 million, into overnight races, including increasing top allowance races to $110,000. The across the board increase also takes maiden special weights to $93,000 and raises the bottom purse to $27,000, and represents the largest in-season purse hike in the track's history.
“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 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 at the Hot Springs oval will be highlighted by the $1-million GII Rebel S. 3-year-olds as the $500,000 Essex H., $350,000 GII Azeri S., $200,000 Hot Springs S., and $150,000 Temperence Hill S. 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.