Oaklawn, the track with the highest purses in the Midwest, has released the first issue of its condition books for the first live season that extends beyond its signature Arkansas Derby Day.
The cover of the condition book carries the most important message to horsemen throughout the nation – “STAY UNTIL MAY” – while the interior pages give plenty of reasons to do just that, such as two $1,000,000 Kentucky Derby prep races and three all-new stakes offerings.
Oaklawn will begin racing Friday, January 25, 2019 and the 57-day season continues through Saturday, May 4.
The overall purse schedule of approximately $32 million includes Maiden Special Weight races of $77,000 escalating up to $87,000 on three premier race days and open allowance races beginning at $78,000 and going up to as high as $88,000 on premier race days. These are the nation's richest purses in these categories during the first half of the year.
With an emphasis on its 3-year-old prep series, premier races days include Monday, Feb. 18 featuring the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3); Saturday, March 16 featuring the $1,000,000 Rebel Stakes (G2); and April 13, featuring the $1,000,000 Arkansas Derby (G1).
Oaklawn has been a springboard for some of the best 3-year-olds in the country for over a decade including champion Smarty Jones, two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, champion Will Take Charge, Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and Belmont Stakes winner Creator, who went from maiden winner to Arkansas Derby winner before taking the third leg of the Triple Crown in 2016. Horses that came through the 3-year-old maiden and allowance ranks in 2018 include recent Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) winner Tenfold, who broke his maiden Feb. 9 and won an allowance race March 18, and Preakness Stakes (G1) runner-up Bravazo, who won a Jan. 13 allowance race before going on to win the Risen Star Stakes (G3) in his next start.
“We couldn't be more excited about the 2019 live meet and wanted to give horsemen plenty of time to prepare for the upcoming season by getting our first condition book out as early as possible,” General Manager Wayne Smith said. “The focal point of the season will of course be on the 3-year-olds, but we are also looking forward to our new dates and new stakes races. The quality of our racing just gets better and better and we're looking forward to showcasing that all the way into May.”
Oaklawn previously announced a 30-race stakes schedule worth $8.850 million. The new stakes are the $200,000 Oaklawn Mile Friday, May 3 and the $200,000 Arkansas Breeders' Championship and $250,000 Oaklawn Invitational, both closing day Saturday, May 4.
Condition books as well as stall applications can be found at www.oaklawn.com or obtained by calling 501-501-5570. Stall applications are due Thursday, Nov. 8.
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