The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on July 20 approved a request from Turfway Park to cut four Wednesday cards from its fall meet, reducing the meet from 20 to 16 days and all but one stakes race. Turfway will race Thursdays through Sundays from Sept. 9-Oct. 3.
Turfway Park president Bob Elliston said one reason for the request was to maintain field sizes sufficient to generate interest among horsemen and bettors, and also to overcome a sizeable overpayment of purses that accrued during the spring meet.
"I would prefer not to be here today" to request a dates’ reduction, Elliston told the commission, adding "it is something we are not excited about doing but it will at least allow us to put a purse level on the paper to make it possible for folks to stable in our stable area."
Elliston said it is likely that Turfway’s barn area will accommodate horsemen who not only will race at the Kentucky track but will use it as a base to ship to tracks in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia that have higher purses. "It is hard for us to fault them for that," Elliston said.
Considering the frequency with which the KHRC is being asked to amend racing dates for the state’s tracks due to ongoing changes in market conditions, commissioner Ned Bonnie recommended an ad hoc committee be formed to look at the overall Kentucky racing calendar. KHRC chair Bob Beck said he would arrange a meeting with all parties involved with Kentucky racing to discuss Bonnie’s proposal.
Turfway also received permission to move its fall meet post time on Thursdays and Fridays to 5:30 p.m. ET, consistent with its holiday and winter/spring meets. Post time those days had been 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday post time will remain at 1:10 p.m.