Monday, October 3, 2011 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Oct. 3, 2011 – Turfway Park ended its 2011 fall meet with a slight increase in on-track handle and a small decline in all-sources wagering on its live races.
On-track play on Turfway's live races totaled $1,640,490, up 0.4 percent over the 2010 fall meet. Handle from all sources on the track's live races was $27,172,667, down 3.9 percent.
The meet was boosted considerably by the return of the Kentucky Cup Day of Champions, which gained a sponsor for the first time in its 17-year history when WinStar Farm signed on. Compared to the same Saturday last year when none of the five stakes races was run, on-track handle for the day increased 247 percent and all-sources handle increased 124 percent. Compared to the same Saturday in 2009, when three of the Kentucky Cup races were run, handle on this year's WinStar Kentucky Cup Day of Champions was up 18.4 percent on track and 2.4 percent all-sources.
"Given national declines in August of nearly 12 percent, holding our own for this meet feels like a win," said Turfway president and CEO Robert N. Elliston. "Clearly, if you put a great product in front of the betting public, like Kentucky Cup, they will respond."
Turfway presented live racing 16 days this fall, identical to the 2010 fall meet schedule. Purses averaged $139,419 daily, up 28 percent over last year. Field size declined from 9.8 starters per race last fall to 8.4 this fall. The track ran 162 races this meet, two more than last fall.
Apprentice jockey Roberto Morales earned the first riding title of his nascent career, winning with 32 of his 121 mounts. Morales, 21, is a 2011 graduate of Escuela Vocacional Hipica at El Commandante racetrack in his native Puerto Rico and earned his first win in the United States at Gulfstream Park in April. He was the leading apprentice at the Ellis Park meet and second among all riders at the Henderson, Ky., track.
Victor Lebron finished second in the rider standings with 20 wins from 79 mounts. Apprentice Alejandro Contreras was third with 13 wins from 90 mounts.
Mike Maker saddled 12 winners from 28 starters to lead the trainer standings for the third straight meet and bring his career total at Turfway to eight titles. Maker enjoyed a spectacular run at the WinStar Kentucky Cup Day of Champions, saddling five winners on the day, a track record for single-day wins by a trainer. Three of the wins came in Kentucky Cup races: the Distorted Humor Kentucky Cup Distaff (G3) with La Gran Bailadora; the Speightstown Kentucky Cup Sprint (G3) with Matthewsburg; and the Bluegrass Cat Kentucky Cup Juvenile with his rising stable star, Hansen.
Larry Holt finished second among trainers with five winners from 18 starters. Eight trainers tied for third place with three winners each.
Three owners finished in a tie for the meet’s leading owner honors. Finishing with three winners each were Kendall Hansen, owner of the eponymous Bluegrass Cat Kentucky Cup Juvenile winner; Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who earned their ninth title at the Florence track; and Dawn Martin. Hansen was a perfect three-for-three during the meet, the Ramseys sent out 10 starters, and Martin started 8 runners.
Live racing returns to Turfway for the holiday meet beginning Dec. 1.