Kentucky Downs

Kentucky Downs

Ron Mitchell

Instant Racing Fuels Kentucky Downs Increases

Live on-track handle increased during four-day meet at Kentucky track.

Citing increased numbers of patrons attracted by Instant Racing, Kentucky Downs reported live on-track handle for its four-day all-turf meet increased 2.9% to total $313,614.

The Franklin, Ky., track also reported that handle was up 176% in 2011, including the handle from the first 19 days of the track’s new Instant Racing operations, and that total simulcast import handle for the Sept. 1-19 period was effectively unchanged when compared with 2010. Kentucky Downs did not release the Instant Racing, simulcast handle, or attendance numbers.

“The introduction of Instant Racing at Kentucky Downs has brought thousands of new patrons to our facility, many of whom wagered not only on our Instant Racing games but on our live races and in our simulcast center,” Kentucky Downs president Corey Johnsen said in a statement. “Through August of this year, our simulcast import handle was down by more than 10%. The increased patronage at Kentucky Downs for our Instant Racing games clearly has helped other areas of our business.”

Johnsen said a decision by California tracks and wagering outlets not to offer simulcasting of the Kentucky Downs races attributed to a 19.3% decrease in simulcast export handle, which totaled $3,361,839.

“Our 2011 live meet gave us a chance to show owners, trainers, jockeys, and those associated with the sport what Instant Racing can do for Kentucky’s signature industry,” said Johnsen. “The opening of our Instant Racing gaming center as well as the expansion of our simulcasting business to a seven-day-a-week operation is at the forefront of our plan to make Kentucky Downs an even stronger member of the Kentucky racing circuit.”

Four jockeys--Greta Kuntzweiler, John McKee, Marcelino Pedroza, and Oriana Rossi-- shared the leading rider title at the 2011 live race meet with three wins each. Ian Wilkes was the leading trainer at the meet with two wins, with 28 other trainers registering one win each during the short meet.