Turfway Park will open its 54th fall race meet September 6 with a new post time for night racing and a change in smoking policy, but with no stakes on the 16-day schedule.
Pending approval by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, post time Thursday and Friday will be 6:00 p.m. (EDT), a half-hour later than last fall. Post time Saturday and Sunday remains at 1:10 p.m. The track will present nine races on Thursdays and Sundays and 11 races on Fridays and Saturdays. The meet closes September 30.
In order to maintain daily purses, the track has cut all stakes from the fall schedule, including the Kentucky Cup Day of Champions, five races timed as preps for the Breeders' Cup World Championships. After a year's hiatus, the series was reintroduced in 2011 under partial sponsorship by WinStar Farm of Versailles, Kentucky. While WinStar remained ready to continue its sponsorship this year, Turfway has elected to shift the track's share of the series' funding to the overnight purse account. Daily purses are expected to average $110,000, including $18,000 from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.
In response to customer requests, Turfway has reconfigured the smoking and non-smoking areas of its grandstand. A section of the first floor is being renovated to offer smokers a unique sports bar-like area, and with that change the trackside area of the first floor becomes a smoking zone. The opposite side of the first floor then becomes entirely smoke-free.
"By reconfiguring our existing space and adding a new area for smokers, we are able to accommodate smokers and non-smokers alike with as little air exchange as possible," Director of Operations Chip Bach said. "Patrons will now be able to enter the grandstand, buy a program, access concessions, and find seating without walking through any smoking areas. At the same time we're able to offer improved seating for our fans who do smoke."
Also newly designated smoke-free are the north side of the second floor, which features grandstand seating and the stage, and the mezzanine/third floor. The fourth and fifth floors and the Homestretch restaurant retain their existing non-smoking designation. In addition to the trackside area of the first floor, smoking will be permitted on the south side of the second floor and on balconies outside the second and third floors.
Admission and parking are free every day of the fall meet; with valet parking available. More information about all events and the racing schedule is available at turfway.com.