Keeneland concluded its 2012 fall race meeting Oct. 27 with strong gains in all-sources handle and an attendance record.
Buoyed by large field sizes and quality racing, all-sources wagering on Keeneland totaled $137,981,281, an increase of 7.35% compared with $128,533,933 in 2011.
Keeneland set a record for fall meet attendance with 259,710, an average of 15,277 per day. The previous fall meet record was set last year during Keeneland's 75th anniversary celebration that drew 250,163 for 17 days of racing.
The 17-day stand kicked off with Fall Stars Weekend showcasing a number of Breeders' Cup contenders, including Horse of the Year candidate Wise Dan, winner of the $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. I) Oct. 6.
The Oct. 13 card, which featured the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT), welcomed a near-record fall crowd of 28,337. The current single-day record in the fall is 28,880 set Oct. 7, 2006. Weekdays this October continue to show increased strength with Wednesdays and Thursdays averaging just shy of 10,000 people.
"This was a strong meeting from many aspects—especially wagering, attendance, and quality of racing," said Bill Thomason, in his first race meet as Keeneland president and CEO. "We gave our horsemen and our fans 17 terrific days of racing, and I continue to be proud of our team and the product we put out there for them to enjoy. I am already looking forward to the Spring meeting."
Jockey Julien Leparoux and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey dominated the season, assuming clear leads in the jockey and owner categories, respectively, early in the race meet and maintaining it.
Leparoux continued to establish his place in Keeneland's storied history, capturing his fifth consecutive (and ninth overall) leading rider title. He recorded 26 wins during the meeting, 12 more than runner-up Corey Lanerie.
A two-time Eclipse Award recipient, Leparoux earned his 300th Keeneland victory Oct. 24 to become the fifth jockey to attain that level at Keeneland. He trails Pat Day (918), Don Brumfield (716), Robby Albarado (444) and Shane Sellers (412). He also ranks fourth in terms of riding titles; Day won a record 22 meet titles, followed by Brumfield (16) and Steve Brooks (10).
Leparoux's 33 stakes wins at Keeneland include four this meet: the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (gr. III) on Sum of the Parts, the Bourbon (gr. III) on Balance the Books , the Sycamore (gr. III) on Kindergarden Kid, and the closing-day Fayette (gr. II) on Newsdad.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's 12 wins this fall tie the record held by Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Roberts (fall 1968) and Calumet Farm (spring 1941) for number of wins by an owner during a Keeneland race meet.
It is the 11th leading owner title won by the Ramseys, who also topped the owner's list in the spring. They share second place in the number of Keeneland meet titles with Bwamazon Farm and Overbrook Farm, and fall just shy of T.A. Grissom, who leads all owners with 14.
The race for leading trainer honors came down to the wire, with Wesley Ward scoring three wins on closing day to overtake Mike Maker in the standings, 12 wins to 10. It completes a sweep of 2012 for Ward, who won his first Keeneland trainer's title during the spring stand.
Category...Fall 2012...Fall 2011...Percent Change
Avg. Daily All-Sources Handle...$8,116,546...$7,560,820...7.35%
Total On-Track Handle...$18,160,018...$18,876,288...-3.79%
Avg. Daily On-Track Handle...$1,068,236...$1,110,370...-3.79%
Avg. Daily Attendance...15,277...14,715...3.82%