Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort has moved the Arkansas Derby back a month in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
As the final event in its annual schedule, the Arkansas Derby is Oaklawn’s signature event. Oaklawn is shifting the derby from Saturday, April 11 to Saturday, May 2.
As a result, Oaklawn will be reducing the purse for the Arkansas Derby, dropping the amount to $750,000. The casino could have maintained purse amount by having the event through April 18 but elected to “stay until May.”
“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 Saturday, 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.”
Oaklawn is also shifting Fantasy Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies Friday, May 1, and will reduce its purse to $400,000. It will continue to Fantasy Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies Friday, May 1, and will reduce its purse to $400,000.
The Arkansas Derby and Fantasy are among 15 remaining stakes that have had their purses reduced along with all overnight purses. Other date changes: The Oaklawn Invitational moves to Saturday, April 11 and will carry a $200,000 purse. The Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) moves to Saturday, April 18, and now shares the card with the Apple Blossom Handicap (G1). The Oaklawn Handicap (G2) moves to Saturday, May 2, and now shares the card with the Arkansas Derby (G1).