Inclement weather -- ice, snow and sleet, combined with several weeks of below normal temperatures -- wreaked havoc on the recently completed 2000 holiday meet at Turfway Park. The 23-day meet concluded Dec. 31.
Turfway officials were forced to cancel six complete racing programs and one partial program after only two races during the scheduled 23-day meet due to inclement weather. As a result, Turfway experienced an overall decrease of 15.9% in total handle, with a drop in on-track handle of 24.2% and out-of-state handle of 16.9%. There were encouraging trends however. Daily average out-of-state handle increased 19.4%, while daily average all-sources handle was up 5.1%. In addition, Turfway averaged nearly 9.5 horses per race, which was one of the highest field size totals in the country.
"The meet totals are obviously disappointing," said Turfway President Robert N. Elliston. "Anytime you race during the winter months you face the threat of severe weather, and we've learned you can't stop Mother Nature. Conversely, with so many tracks across the country experiencing a shortage of horses, it's encouraging to see our large field sizes, which directly relates to increased interest in Turfway racing across the nation. Basically, when we can run, people are playing our races."
The following table details the results of the 16-day Turfway Park 2000 Holiday Meet compared to the 23-day 1999 Holiday Meet:Meet Totals
2000 1999 +/-
On-track handle $8,355,382 $11,018,105 -24.2%
OTB/ITW handle $28,961,458 $32,834,498 -11.8%
Out-of-state handle $39,020,597 $46,967,744 -16.9%
Total handle $76,337,437 $90,820,347 -15.9%
Purses $2,986,255 $3,464,075 -13.8%Meet Averages
2000 1999 +/-
On-track handle $392,608 $467,987 -16.1%
OTB/ITW handle $1,262,179 $1,383,663 -8.8%
Out-of-state handle $2,438,787 $2,042,076 +19.4%
Total handle $4,093,575 $3,893,725 +5.1%
Purses $186,641 $150,612 +23.9%