(Edited Turfway Park press release)
On-track handle decreased during Turfway Park’s 2009 holiday meet when compared to the same meet in 2008, but all-sources handle held steady at the Kentucky because of an uptick in wagers made out of state.
On-track handle, the amount wagered on Turfway races by fans at the track, fell to $2,211,868, a 17.7% decline. All-sources handle, reflecting all wagers made on Turfway races, rose to $58,694,475, a total less than 1% higher.
The 2009 holiday meet began Nov. 29 and ended Dec. 31, with one card canceled due to high winds. The track presented 221 races over the 21 racing days. Purses averaged $111,589 per day, down 14.2% from last year. Field size held relatively steady, with 10.1 starters per race compared to 10.4 in 2008.
Apprentice jockey Ben Creed became the first graduate of the North American Racing Academy to win a riding title when he finished the holiday meet with 25 wins from 133 mounts. Tom Pompell was second with 18 wins from 123 mounts, while John McKee was third with 17 wins from 92 mounts.
Joe Woodard, who won his first Turfway training title in the fall, repeated in the holiday meet with 14 wins from 62 starters. Mike Maker, whose five-meet win streak was broken by Woodard in the fall, was again second for the holiday meet with 10 wins from 40 starters. Tom Drury Jr. was third with six winners from 15 starters.
Billy Hays finished atop the owners’ standings for the holiday meet to complete a sweep of all three Turfway meets in 2009. With Woodard as his trainer, Hays put up identical numbers: 14 wins, 13 seconds, and eight thirds from 62 starters. Three of the Hays/Woodard team’s wins came on one day, December 26. Ken and Sarah Ramsey finished second in all three meets, ending the holiday meet with seven winners from 22 starters. James Skaggs’s Spade Stable was the holiday meet’s third-leading owner with four winners from six starters.
Right after holiday meet ended, the 2010 winter/spring meet began, and racing will continue at Turfway without interruption through March 28. This year’s winter/spring meet, Jan. 1 through March 28, has fewer live racing dates. Through Feb. 28, the track will offer live racing on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. In March, Thursdays will be added to the schedule.