Keeneland Reports Record Attendance, Wagering

Keeneland reported record attendance and a 12.3% increase in total wagering at the 17-day fall race meeting that ended Oct. 28, its first with a new Polytrack surface.

The synthetic track attracted a large contingent of Breeders' Cup-bound horses to Keeneland during the fall. Field size for the fall meet averaged 10.02 starters per race.

Final handle figures for all-sources wagering at Keeneland totaled $140,408,982, a new fall meet record. The previous high of $126,036,538 was recorded during the 17-day fall meet in 2003. Last fall, wagering from all sources totaled $124,980,810.

The wagering total includes a single-day fall meet handle record of $12,733,860 set on the opening Saturday, Oct. 7. The figure topped the previous record of $12,006,907 set on Oct. 4, 2003.

"This meet has been extraordinary for us in so many ways," said Nick Nicholson, president and CEO of Keeneland. "While we are proud of the many records that were set, we are even more proud of how well the Polytrack surface performed. It remained very safe throughout the meet, despite getting more than twice the usual amount of rainfall during the month."

Total wagering during the fall meet averaged a record $8,259,352 per day, breaking the previous record of $7,413,914 established in the fall of 2003. Last year, average daily wagering for the fall meet was $7,351,812.

Keeneland also saw significant increases in interstate commingled wagering, which rose 16.9% to a record $108,712,680, breaking last fall's high of $93,029,846. Average daily interstate handle of $6,394,864 also topped 2005's record level of $5,472,344.

On-track wagering of $26,209,259 dipped 1.8% over last year's $26,712,317.

On-track attendance for the fall meet totaled a record 233,218, surpassing the previous record of 232,499 set in 2003. Attendance totaled 232,429 for the 2005 fall meet. A single-day fall meet attendance record of 28,880 was set Oct. 7, eclipsing the previous record of 28,788 set on October 14, 1989. Daily attendance during the meet averaged 13,718 compared to 13,672 in 2005.

Purses averaged $632,961 during the meet, up 3.2% over the average of $613,416 distributed in the fall of 2005. Overall, Keeneland distributed average daily purses of $636,848 during its 32 days of racing this year.

The powerful French team of trainer Patrick Biancone and jockey Julien Leparoux captured indiviual titles.

Biancone won 11 races from 38 starts to take his first Keeneland trainer title. H. Graham Motion finished second with 7 wins.

As in the spring, the race for leading jockey honors came down to the final day between Julien Leparoux and Rafael Bejarano, with Leparoux finishing ahead of Bejarano by a tally of 30-25. Leparoux, who became the first apprentice jockey to win a leading rider title at Keeneland when he captured it in the spring of 2006, now has back-to-back riding crowns at the Lexington track.

G. Watts Humphrey Jr., and partners, won a second fall meet leading owner title with six wins.