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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

New Oaklawn Race Winner Will Be Invited to Preakness


First Running of Oaklawn Invitational Set for Kentucky Derby Day

By Dick Downey

Oaklawn Park has created a brand new race for 3-year-olds called the Oaklawn Invitational, and, with a purse of $300,000, it will be run on the same day as the $3 million Kentucky Derby.  The winner of the race is being offered a free spot in the Preakness.

The Maryland Jockey Club made the announcement today.

The 1 1/8-mile Oaklawn Invitational will be run on Oaklawn’s closing day.

Here's what the GM's of the two tracks had to say in prepared written comments.

Maryland Jockey Club President and General Manager Sal Sinatra: “We’re very happy to partner with Oaklawn Park on this unique initiative. 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 General Manager Wayne Smith: “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. 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 Arkansas Derby has had a long, successful history of producing Preakness winners from Elocutionist to Oxbow. Even last year, Oaklawn-raced horses finished second and third behind Justify (in the Preakness). We look forward to starting an equally successful tradition with the Oaklawn Invitational, which will highlight our card Saturday, May 4.”


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