After completing its second holiday meet run over a Polytrack surface in 2006, Turfway Park reported a healthy 7.5% increase in on-track wagering and an 18.7% jump in all-source handle.
During the 25-day stand (Nov. 26-Dec. 31) the amount wagered on Turfway races by patrons at the track totaled $3,479,946. Handle on Turfway races from all sources reached $88,224,228. It was the fourth consecutive end-of-meet reporting period for the Florence, Ky., track to show increases in both categories and double-digit hikes in all-sources handle.
"Our business has steadily increased since we installed Polytrack in September 2005," said Robert N. Elliston, Turfway Park president and CEO. "But after a couple of recent meets, we also rightly attributed some of the increase to such factors as the effects of Hurricane Katrina, renewed agreements with certain OTBs, and the fact that we did not have to cancel races last winter. There are no such factors behind the numbers for this meet, so we see even more clearly the impact of Polytrack on our business. These numbers represent the betting public's growing interest in Turfway Park racing, plain and simple."
Purse money provided by the track at the just-concluded meet rose 10% to $2,841,725, but total available purse money declined 4.4% to $3,238,375 as Turfway, like all major Kentucky tracks, worked to pay down deficits in the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.
Average field size this meet was 10.2, down slightly from 10.4 last year, when there were 12 fewer races.
Miguel Mena earned his first Turfway riding title, leading all jockeys in the with 42 wins from 200 mounts. Apprentice Alonso Quinonez was second with 30 wins from 215 mounts.
Gregory Foley and D. Michael Smithwick Jr. tied for leading trainer honors with seven wins each, Foley from 38 starters and Smithwick from 17.
David A. Ross was the meet's leading owner with five winners from 11 starters. Gus Goldsmith was second with four winners from 15 starters.
The holiday meet is the last of Turfway's three annual stands. Taking all three meets together, Turfway enjoyed double-digit increases in both on-track and all-sources handle in 2006. On-track handle for the year rose 13.5% over 2005 to $15,558,289, while all-sources wagering rose 41.3% to $345,128,726. Total purses paid in 2006 increased 5.5% to $16,368,342. Field size across the year held steady at 8.8 starters per race.
The 2007 winter/spring meet opened Jan. 1 and runs through April 5.