Turfway Park

Turfway Park

Anne M. Eberhardt

Turfway Reports Handle, Field Size Down

All-sources handle on live racing during the winter/spring meet declined 11.2%.

All-sources pari-mutuel handle on Turfway Park races during its winter/spring meet dropped 11.2%, while ontrack handle on live racing was down 16.5%, track officials said April 2.

Total handle for 44 programs was $81,862,052, while ontrack handle on live races was $4,716,469 for an average of $107,192. The all-sources daily average of $1,860,501 dropped 5.2% from the 2011 winter/spring meet, which spanned 47 days.

Turfway canceled only one program during the meet because of a tornado warning in the area. Weather otherwise wasn’t a factor.

The Kentucky track offered 464 live races, 33 fewer than last year, and daily purses averaged $126,744, up 1.5% even though overnight purses were cut 25% heading into March.

Field size dropped from 8.5 starters per race to 8.1. Fields averaged 8.5 horses in January and February, but only 7.2 in March, track officials said.

Meanwhile, Turfway reported gains for its Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. III) program March 24.

All-sources handle on the 12-race program was $5,619,644, up 26% from last year, even though ontrack handle on the live card was down 8.3%. All-sources handle on the Spiral Stake, won by Team Valor International’s Went the Day Well, was up 116% to more than $1.9 million.

Mike Maker was leading trainer with 27 wins. Maker has topped the standings for five consecutive Turfway meets and has won 10 local titles.

Victor Lebron earned his fourth Turfway riding title and his second in a row with 67 wins, while the family partnership of Billy, Donna, and Justin Hays finished as the meet’s leading owner with 20 winners.

Turfway remains open for full-card simulcasts all spring and summer before reopening for live racing Sept. 6.