August 13, 2022

Oaklawn shifts date of Arkansas Derby and other stakes, reduces purses

Oaklawn Park
(Vance Hanson photo)

Oaklawn Park has announced a date shift for the Arkansas Derby (G1) and other stakes for the remainder of its 2020 meet, as well as across-the-board purse reductions due to the closure of its casino and racetrack to the public.

Originally scheduled for April 11, the Arkansas Derby will now be run on closing day, May 2. The Derby purse has been reduced from $1 million to $750,000.

“Churchill Downs understands the circumstances created by the current health crisis, and, therefore, will allow the full 170 points towards Kentucky Derby eligibility (now scheduled for Sept. 5) as long as we meet the minimum purse threshold of $750,000,” Oaklawn President Louis Cella said. “The purse reductions are across the board. If operations return to normal between now and May, we will adjust them accordingly.”

The Fantasy (G3), a Road to the Kentucky Oaks prep, will now be run on May 1 with a purse of $400,000.

The Oaklawn Invitational for 3-year-olds, originally the closing day feature, will now be run on Apr. 11 in place of the Arkansas Derby. The Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3) will now a share a card with the Apple Blossom H. (G1) on Apr. 18, while the Oaklawn H. (G2) will now be run on Arkansas Derby Day, May 2.

“We are trying to make best of a bad situation,” Cella said. “And we greatly appreciate the cooperation we have received from our horsemen and the Arkansas Racing Commission.”