Wednesday, January 4, 2012 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Jan. 4, 2012 –Turfway Park ended its 2011 Holiday Meet with increases in both on-track and all-sources handle compared to the same period in 2010.
On-track play on Turfway races rose 12.3 percent to $2,222,148. Handle from all sources rose 13.2 percent to $45,645,266, boosted by a 14.4 percent increase in out-of-state play.
The track presented 20 days of live racing from Dec. 1 through Dec. 31, three more days than in 2010.
Purses paid through the meet totaled $2,447,968, a 38.5 percent increase over the 2010 meet. The average for purses paid daily rose 17.7 percent to $122,398.
Field size dipped from 10.2 starters per race during the 2010 Holiday Meet to 9.4 starters for the same period in 2011.
Victor Lebron earned his third Turfway riding title with 31 wins from 136 mounts, adding the award to titles earned in the Winter/Spring meets of 2008 and 2009.
Lebron's nearest competitors for the Holiday Meet were John McKee and Perry Ouzts, tied for second with 18 wins from 102 mounts and 116 mounts, respectively. Apprentice Alejandro Contreras was next with 16 wins from 111 mounts. Among the wins by Ouzts was the jockey’s 5,800th career victory.
Mike Maker was the meet's leading trainer, saddling nine winners from 41 starters. The title was the ninth at Turfway for Maker and his fourth in a row, a string that started with last year’s Holiday Meet.
Lebron and Maker teamed up to win two of the meet’s five stakes. For owner Tracy Farmer, the two won the My Charmer Stakes with La Gran Bailadora. The pair also won the Gowell Stakes with Lotta Lovin, owned by William Butler.
Joe Woodard and Bill Connelly tied for second with eight wins each, Woodard from 28 starters and Connelly from 32 starters. Byron Hughes was next with five winners from just nine well-spotted starters.
The leading owner title went again to Billy, Donna, and Justin Hays, who saw six winners from 26 starters. The Hays family partnership has three leading owner titles at Turfway. Four owners followed the Hays family with three wins each: the partnership of Smokey Lynne Bare and Ira P. Mersack (four starters); Ken and Sarah Ramsey (14 starters); and Patchen Wilkes Farm LLC (eight starters).