Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort continues to fight back against covid-19 and the weather that has closed the track for the second consecutive weekend.
Last year, fans were not allowed to attend races, which was tons of lost revenue from concessions and wagering, and now the track has lost eight days of racing due to record-breaking winter weather.
Earlier this week, Oaklawn announced a series of changes to its racing schedule in hopes of returning some normalcy to the race meet.
Oaklawn does more than anyone can imagine to accommodate its owners and trainers, who often bring a barnful of horses aimed for specific races, races that have been snowed out in the last eight days.
However, on Feb. 27 and 28 Oaklawn will run five canceled stakes races, which is almost $2 million in purses.
Oaklawn is rescheduling the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3), which has Kentucky Derby points, and the $600,000 Razorback Handicap (G3), which will now be run Feb. 27 along with the $200,000 Spring Fever Stakes.
That will eventually add two new race days – March 31 and April 28.
In what has become almost an Oaklawn tradition another raise in purses for all overnight races was also announced.
Purses will increase by as much as $4,000 per race.
“There’s no fighting Mother Nature, especially when our priority is safety,” Oaklawn President Louis Cella said. “However, we feel these changes will greatly benefit our horsemen and our fans by creating a huge weekend of racing to kick off the rest of the season.”
On another positive note, some specialists are predicting covid-19 is starting to slow because of vaccinations and a large number of people who have had the virus, and that by April things could be getting closer to normal.
My hope is that attendance will increase at every sporting event but at least for a while longer masks will be required.