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Turfway Park to cut purses, two stakes

Friday, March 6, 2009 12:00 AM
  • General
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 6, 2009 . . . Association purses paid at Turfway Park will be cut five percent and the 2009 Tejano Run Stakes and Fairway Fun Stakes have been canceled, track president Robert N. Elliston announced today.

The track was unable to fill races for Monday, March 9, when the cut originally was scheduled to become effective. The cut therefore takes effect Wednesday, March 11, and will run through the end of the meet.

The cut affects all claiming, allowance, and maiden special weight races run at the Northern Kentucky track; however, contributions from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) to maiden special and allowance races will be increased five percent, offsetting the loss for those categories. Kentucky tracks earn KTDF monies based on on-track wagering on all races, including races simulcast from other tracks.

"The downturn in the general economy has had an expected impact on our business," said Elliston. "Comparing this winter/spring meet to last year's meet through February, on-track handle is down about 7.6 percent.

"Where we have seen the biggest drop, however, is in interest in our races from out of state. Because we are not able to compete with tracks that offer purses boosted by revenue from other forms of gaming, our field size has dropped as owners and trainers take their horses where the money is better. Decreased field size translates directly to decreased business. Customers look for races that offer a range of choices and therefore a greater return on investment. As our field size drops, our customers, like owners and trainers, are looking elsewhere. All-sources handle on our races is down just over 20 percent."

With the exception of 2005 when the race was canceled due to weather conditions, the Fairway Fun had been run every year since 1973. The race was named for a local race mare and written for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles. The Tejano Run Stakes, for older horses going 1 1/8 miles, was established in 1974 as the Pioneer Stakes and had been run every year except 1990. The race was renamed in 1997 to honor Tejano Run, who won multiple stakes at Turfway and in 1995 was second in both the Jim Beam Stakes (now Lane's End) and the Kentucky Derby.

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