Severe winter weather continues to delay Oaklawn Park's racing schedule. Temperatures as frosty as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, even a "winter storm warning" alerted for Hot Springs this morning. But the racing office is hopeful the weather will improve, and they've just announced recourse for the compromised racing action.
They're bringing back $2-million in canceled stakes.They're adding 27 races to their schedule, adding two new race days — Wednesday March 31st and Wednesday April 28th. — and they're increasing the purses on all overnight races by as much as $4,000 per race. That means a $68,000 maiden race would officially run for $72,000, and an $84,000 race for $88,000.
The Southwest Weekend schedule is now:
Saturday, February 27th:
The $750K Southwest Stakes-G3
The $600K Razorback Handicap-G3
The $200K SpringFever Stakes
Sunday, February 28th:
Louis Cella, Oaklawn President, commented how there is no fighting Mother Nature, that he feels these changes will greatly benefit the horseman and fans by creating a huge weekend of racing.
Racing is scheduled to resume Thursday Feb. 25th.
Cella credits the help of Arkansas Racing Commission Chairman Alex Lieblong and HBPA President Bill Walmsley. That these late changes would not have been possible without their assistance, that the balance of the season will be terrific.
Oaklawn General Manager Wayne Smith is optimistic about being able to open the infield and other outdoor areas for fans in the coming weeks.