Despite offering two fewer days of live racing, Thistledown finished its 2011 racing year with a 10% gain in all-sources wagering on its live product compared to 2010.
According to track figures, on-track handle on Thistledown races declined 5.71% in 2011 to $7,164,876, but that drop was offset by an 11.87% increase in off-track wagering, which totaled $72,563,121. The track offered live racing 120 days this year compared to 122 days last year.
Thistledown’s racing calendar, which this year ran April 23 through Nov. 5, is comprised of four meets: Summit, Thistledown, Randall, and Cranwood. To simplify reporting, the track releases handle numbers and meet leader information for two periods: Summit/Thistledown, which ran April 23 through July 25, and Randall/Cranwood, which ran July 26 through Nov. 5.
For the Randall/Cranwood meet, on-track handle was down 25.3% from the same period in 2010. Off-track handle was down 2.36% during this year’s Randall/Cranwood meet compared to last year’s same period.
All three meet leaders finished atop their respective categories for both the combined Randall/Cranwood meet and the entire Thistledown racing year.
Richard Papiese’s Midwest Thoroughbreds was the year’s leading owner with 56 winners from 113 starters. Of that total, Papiese had 24 winners from 56 starters during the Randall/Cranwood meet.
Among the stable’s standouts were Sneak a Cold Treat, winner of this year’s Honey Jay Stakes and Best of Ohio Sprint. Through Nov. 8, Midwest Thoroughbreds leads all owners of North American starters by both wins (348 from 1,192 starters) and earnings ($5,184,106) for 2011. Papiese owns Midwest Store Fixtures, based in University Park, Ill.
Saddling 62 winners from 296 starters, Jeff Radosevich earned trainer of the year honors at Thistledown for the fifth time, adding the 2011 title to consecutive titles earned from 2005 through 2008.
Of his 2011 wins, 43 of 193 starters came home winners during the Randall/Cranwood meet. Radosevich holds the record for most wins in a year at Thistledown with 119 in 2005 and is the only Thistledown horseman in history to hold both leading trainer titles and a leading rider title, earning the latter in 1988.
Yamil Rosario finished the year as Thistledown’s leading jockey, compiling 111 wins from 341 mounts. Of those winners, 62 came during the Randall/Cranwood meet from 199 mounts and included the Honey Jay Stakes and the Best of Ohio Sprint, both with Sneak a Cold Treat. The year-end title is the first for Rosario at Thistledown; his win for the Randall/Cranwood meet is his second straight for that period.
Cusack, a 6-year-old gelding, took home Thistledown’s Horse of the Year honors with six wins and four seconds in 12 starts at the Cleveland track this year. By Bold Executive out of Greatballsoffire, by Is It True, Cusack was bred in Ontario by Ellah Bloodstock and is owned by Terrance C. Ellah. He was saddled at his Thistledown races by Richard Rettele.