Miz Ida winning the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf.

Miz Ida winning the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf.

Courtesy of Kentucky Downs

Kentucky Downs Enjoys Successful Opening Day

Bigger purses and significant increases in wagering punctuate Sept. 8 opener.

Kentucky Downs saw a significant increase in wagering as its brief meet got underway Sept. 8 in Franklin, Ky.

Patrons bet $124,739 Saturday, a 47% increase over last year's on-track total of $84,753. Meanwhile, total handle soared by 75.5% from $776,898 in 2011 to $1,363,682.

"It was a terrific day of racing," said Kentucky Downs president Corey Johnsen. "We're pleased that we're now in a position to put on races like these, with attractive purses for the horsemen and exciting horses for the fans. Overall, it was very encouraging."

Thanks in part to the addition and success of Instant Racing, Kentucky Downs was able to increase its purses this year by than 220%, to more than $2.4 million for the six days of turf racing across the only European-style course in North  America. And the effects were evident Saturday, with a racing program that featured large fields and several accomplished stakes performers.

Shaun Bridgmohan, slightly injured in a spill on opening day of last year's Kentucky Downs meet, and Miz Ida came down the stretch like marauders to win the $75,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf, one of three stakes on the opening day card.

Miz Ida completed the mile in 1:50.46, with Ridgester 3 3/4 lengths back in second, and Affair Dabbler another three lengths back in third. Named after a Holocaust survivor and trained by Steve Margolis, Miz Ida earned $44,140 for her owners, Bert, Richard, and Elaine Kleine of Louisville, Ky. As the 3-1 favorite, Miz Ida returned $8.60 and completed an all-stakes Pick Three that returned $1,126.80 for a one-dollar investment.

An overnight rain left the turf officially "yielding."

Depeche Chat, owned by Wind River Stables, won the $75,000 Franklin-Simpson Stakes. And Good Lord, who had set track records in each of his last two outings, while winning stakes at Ellis Park and Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, captured the $75,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Dash for his owners, Doug Shank and Stan Young of Bowling Green, Ky.