(Edited press release)
Keeneland closed its 2008 fall season on Saturday, Oct. 25, with near-record attendance for the 17-day race meeting that began Oct. 3.
The total on-track attendance of 239,117 ranks as the second-largest fall meet attendance in Keeneland history, just shy of last year’s record 239,296. Average daily attendance of 14,065 dipped slightly from the 14,076 recorded in 2007. A fall meet Friday record crowd of 22,052 was set on "College Scholarship Day," Friday, Oct. 10, while the meet’s single-day high of 24,241 was reported on Saturday, Oct. 18.
“We are thrilled with all the positives to come out of the fall meet, especially considering it was conducted during one of the toughest economic periods in U.S. history,” said Nick Nicholson, president and CEO of Keeneland. "We absolutely have the best fans in the world, and their energy is what makes Keeneland racing so special.”
On-track wagering on live racing totaled $19,065,818, down 8.3% from last year’s total of $20,790,718. All-sources wagering on Keeneland (includes on-track and off-track handle) totaled $109,487,996, a decrease of 17.8% from $133,210,885 in the fall 2007. Average daily all-sources handle on Keeneland was $6,440,470 compared to $7,835,934 last year.
The race for leading trainer honors between Mike Maker and Ken McPeek went down to the final day of the fall meeting, with Maker clinching his first Keeneland title with nine wins in 38 starts. McPeek finished second with eight wins, while Albert Stall Jr. and Bill Mott tied for third with six wins each.
Jockey Robby Albarado earned his first fall meet riding title and third overall (spring 2002 and 2004) with 22 wins. Julien Leparoux finished second in the standings with 19 wins, while Miguel Mena closed in the final days to rank third with 13 victories.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey won eight races in the fall to take their fifth Keeneland title, having earned honors in the fall 2007 (tie), spring 2006, spring 2004 (tie) and fall 2002 (tie).