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Turfway Park meet results mixed

Tuesday, April 12, 2005 12:00 AM
  • General
  • Spiral Stakes
Foley, Sarvis repeat as meet leaders
FLORENCE, KY . . . April 12, 2005 . . . Turfway Park closed its four-month Winter/Spring Meet on April 7 with mixed results, as on-track handle held steady but off-track wagering slipped compared to the same period last year.

Part of the drop in total off-track wagering can be traced to two changes in Turfway’s simulcast operations: one, track administrators chose to refuse wagers from rebate shops mentioned in connection with federal indictments involving money laundering and tax evasion; and two, administrators declined to send the Turfway signal to New York OTB, a network of off-track betting locations, when agreement regarding hosting fees could not be reached. During the same meet in 2004, combined wagering from the rebate shops and New York OTB was $10.8 million.

Said Turfway Park president Robert Elliston, “Like many tracks throughout North America, we had to make some tough decisions regarding the trade-off of short term gains and what is really the responsible thing to do for all of our patrons, and our ownership interests.”

On-track wagering on Turfway Park races for the 2005 Winter/Spring Meet increased 0.7 percent to $7,564,630 over last year; total on-track wagering came in at $22,681,001, up very slightly but statistically unchanged from 2004. Fueled by the loss of wagers from the four suspended outlets and New York OTB, out-of-state handle dropped 11.6 percent. Overall, total wagering on Turfway Park races was down 11.3 percent.

Wagering on Turfway’s races on Lane’s End Stakes Day, annually the highlight of the Winter/Spring Meet, increased over figures for the same event in 2004. On-track wagering for the day was $1,207,324, a 6.3 percent increase. The amount wagered on Turfway’s races by fans at simulcast locations both in Kentucky and out of state rose 4.9 percent. Considering bets placed on Turfway Park’s live races from all sources, wagering for the day grew 5.1 percent to $7,545,734.

Field size for the Winter/Spring Meet averaged 8.3 horses per race, on par with the same meet last year.

FasTrack on track for growth
With more aggressive marketing, FasTrack Rewards, Turfway’s loyalty marketing program, has caught on with fans. The program welcomed 785 new members during the Winter/Spring Meet, a 221 percent increase over members added during the same period last year. FasTrack members earn points for every wager they make and can then redeem their points for programs, merchandise, tickets to special events, and other items. Through such redemptions, the track has returned more than $1 million to its 11,645 members since the program was established in June 2000. A new game introduced this meet, Turfway Hold ‘em, returned 42,150 total points to 407 FasTrack players over the four months.

Foley, Sarvis repeat as meet leaders
Gregory Foley topped the Turfway Park trainer standings for the Winter/Spring Meet with 25 wins, 16 seconds, and 14 thirds from 96 starters for purses of $458,760. Among his wins were the Wishing Well Stakes with Golden Marlin, the Dust Commander Stakes with Bonus Pack, and the Valdale Stakes with Brett’s Favrette. It was the second meet title for Foley, who also won Turfway’s 2004 Winter/Spring Meet. Second on the trainers’ list was S. Joseph Cain with 21 wins from 77 starters and third was Bernard Flint with 15 wins from 63 starters.

Repeating his success in the 2004 Holiday Meet, Dean Sarvis took leading jockey honors for the 2005 Winter/Spring Meet. Among his 91 wins from 335 starts were five stakes victories: the Wishing Well and Dust Commander for trainer Foley, and the Holiday Cheer, John Battaglia Memorial, and Wintergreen. His earnings of $1,090,173 also included 55 seconds and 29 thirds. During the meet, Sarvis twice won five races on a day’s card and three times ended a day with four wins. Orlando Mojica was second in the standings with 53 wins from 273 starts, and his brother, Rafael Mojica, Jr., was fourth with 49 wins from 232 starts. Rodney Prescott finished third with 52 wins from 406 starts.

Louis O’Brien earned the leading owner title with 8 wins, 4 seconds, and 3 thirds from 18 starters for purses totaling $52,598.

Turfway annually deals with weather-related cancellations during its winter racing season, and 2005 was no exception. Over the four-month meet, four cards were cancelled after two or more races had been run, and seven full cards were cancelled.

Live racing will return to Turfway on September 7. In the meantime, the track remains open for simulcasting each Wednesday through Sunday.

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