Record-Setting Spring Keeneland Meet Ends
Keeneland’s 2012 spring race meet ended April 27 with several records being set, including attendance and wagering.
During this spring’s 15-day meeting, attendance totaled a record 269,292, for an average of 17,953 per day. These figures eclipse the previous records of 250,163 in total attendance and daily average of 14,715 set during last fall’s 17-day meeting.
Keeneland carded 12 races on Toyota Blue Grass Stakes Day April 14, resulting in a record single-day all-sources handle of $21,647,378. That compared to the previous record of $19,246,840 set on April 14, 2007. Other records set this spring include:
* Largest single-day attendance—40,617 fans attended this year’s Blue Grass, crushing the previous record of 33,821 set April 21, 2007;
* Single race wagering record—$1,925,900 was wagered on the Blue Grass; the previous record was $1,924,646 wagered on April 14, 2001;
Keeneland reported that this was the sixth consecutive spring stand in which there were no catastrophic breakdowns during racing on the all-weather main track.
“I believe our success directly correlates to our dedication to safety,” said president Nick Nicholson, who recently announced his retirement effective Sept. 1. “Providing the safest environment possible for our equine and human athletes is something we strive to do each and every day. Safety is a significant part of everything we do and I think it is resonating with our fans.
“It has been a wonderful tenure for me here at Keeneland and I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of an organization that is so well respected in the community and in the industry. And because we have a such strong, cohesive team in place, I leave knowing Keeneland is in great hands.”
Nicholson will be succeeded by Keeneland’s current vice president and CFO Bill Thomason.
Jockey Julien Leparoux was the meet’s leading jockey with 23 wins, earning his fifth spring meet title and his eighth title overall. On April 20, Leparoux tied a longstanding record when he won six races on the card. Leparoux has 279 career wins at Keeneland and ranks fifth on the list of the track’s all-time leading jockeys.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey dominated the owner standings with seven wins, including a victory with Lonesome Street in the Commonwealth (gr. II). This was the 10th Keeneland leading owner title for the Ramseys, who have now won five spring titles.
Trainer Wesley Ward notched his first training title at Keeneland with nine wins. Ward earned two stakes victories with Gypsy Robin in the Beaumont Stakes (gr. II) and 70-1 longshot All Squared Away in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. III).
“Just to win a race here is unbelievable,” Ward said. “I come from humble beginnings, and eventually made it to win some races at some of the major meets. Words can’t describe it.”
Final Meet Figures At a Glance
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