Daily Racing Form: Oaklawn Invitational Offers Free Preakness Berth

The winner of the inaugural Oaklawn Invitational for 3-year-olds on May 4 at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., will receive a free berth into the Preakness Stakes, the Maryland Jockey Club announced Friday.

The Preakness Stakes – the second leg of the Triple Crown – will be run May 18 at Pimlico Race Course.

The Oaklawn Invitational, at 1 1/8 miles, is a new race created as part of a meet extending into May this year at Oaklawn. It becomes the third race to offer a berth into the Preakness. Maryland Jockey Club officials said the other races are the Federico
Tesio at Pimlico and the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate. The latter race was run Feb. 16 and won by Anothertwistafate.

The Oaklawn Invitational had an initial purse value of $250,000 when announced last year, but the race was boosted to $300,000 as part of the announcement Friday.

“Our hope from the beginning was that the Oaklawn Invitational would serve as a prep for the Preakness or Belmont Stakes, so we are excited by this announcement from the Maryland Jockey Club,” Oaklawn general manager Wayne Smith said in a press release. “As a result, we are happy to announce we have raised the purse of the race from $250,000 to $300,000. We are thankful the Maryland Jockey Club recognizes our race’s potential.”

The Stronach Group owns both Pimlico, as part of the Maryland Jockey Club, and Golden Gate, while Oaklawn is owned by the family of the late Charles Cella.

“We’re very happy to partner with Oaklawn Park on this unique initiative,” Sal Sinatra, president and general manager of the Maryland Jockey Club, said in a press release. “We believe this provides racing fans across the world an opportunity to see a
promising, and possibly late-developing, young horse run against the winner of the Kentucky Derby and other top horses exiting the Derby.”

Oaklawn is currently racing through May 4.

This story originally appeared on DRF.com

Visit DRF.com for additional news, notes, wagering information, and more.

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