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Another Handle Record as Indiana Meet Ends

Indiana Downs set a total handle record of $2.66 million for one program.

The Indiana Downs meet went out with a bang July 14 with a new total handle record for one program.

Total handle for the 13-race card was $2,667,917, track officials reported. The previous record of $2,140,490, for 10 races, was set June 30.

Officials said the June 30 mark was passed after nine races July 14.

“It was a wonderful card, and it was a great night to be out at the races,” Indiana Downs director of racing Butch Cook said in a statement. “I’m not surprised at all that the betting record was broken again. I knew when we took the entries it was going to be a huge night. The horsemen really stepped up and delivered.”

“When all the dust settles, our 2010 single-day wagering record beats the 2009 record by about 45%,” Indiana Downs general manager Jon Schuster said. “That is an amazing feat in our industry. This just proves that increased quality, a balanced racing program, and the proper exposure will motivate horsemen and horseplayers alike—and it moves the entire Indiana horse racing industry forward.”

Indiana Downs has slot machines that contribute revenue to purses and breed development programs. This year’s meet was heavily patronized by Kentucky-based horses, particularly those at the higher levels, because of the track’s purse structure.

Thoroughbred purses averaged $200,018 a day over 60 days, up 37.9% from $145,019 over 62 days in 2009, according to The Jockey Club Information Systems. Field size held steady at 8.75 horses per race, down a tick from 8.78 last year.

Complete meet handle figures weren't immediately available.

Mike Hunt was leading owner, and Richard Kohnhorst, who trains for Hunt, took leading trainer honors. Leandro Goncalves edged Victor Lebron for the riding title.

Indiana Downs begins its harness meet July 23. Indiana Thoroughbred racing moves to Hoosier Park beginning July 30.