Kentucky Downs

Kentucky Downs

Courtesy of Kentucky Downs/Dr Bill Kenner

Kentucky Downs Concludes Record Meet

Purses of $824,228 per day attracted field sizes of nearly 10 runners per race.

Fueled by large fields attracted to the track's hefty purses, the five-day all-turf meet at Kentucky Downs ended Sept. 25 with record pari-mutuel handle for the day and the meet.

On closing day, all-sources handle of $3,371,476 was a record for the track in Franklin, Ky., and represented a 117% increase over the final day in 2012. Kentucky Downs reported record all-sources wagering of $12,814,966 for the meet, up 69.3% from a year ago. On-track handle of $645,343 increased 17% over 2012.

"This season showed what can be accomplished when we all work together," Kentucky Downs president Corey Johnsen said in a release.. "We were proud to offer quality racing with a low takeout, and horseplayers responded with record handle."

Kentucky Downs' total purse distribution doubled from last year to a record $4,121,142, for a daily average of $824,228. The track said more than 70% of the total purses was derived from wagering on historical races, a form of electronic gaming based on outcomes of previously run races.

Historical races, modeled after the successful Instant Racing concept started by Oaklawn Park, have been deemed legal by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and state Attorney General but is the object of a suit currently pending before the state Supreme Court.

Kentucky Downs' lucrative purses resulted in average field size of nearly 10 horses per race (9.96 versus 9.56 in 2012).

Rosie Napravnik, the fifth-leading jockey in the country, led the meet with eight wins. Ken and Sarah Ramsey topped the owners' list with a record nine wins. Wayne Catalano was top trainer with 10 victories.

"What impressed me most about the season," Johnsen said, "was that we had top quality horses, trainers, and jockeys from all over the country. And, in my opinion, we had some terrific races, showcasing our great sport at the highest level."

Additional analyis from The Downey Profile