Weather Blamed For Handle Drops At Kentucky Downs

Kentucky Downs saw drops in both on-track and all-source gross handle totals during its rain-marred meet that concluded Sept. 26.

Hampered by the loss of the Franklin, Ky. track's traditional biggest day, the Kentucky Cup card scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23, Kentucky Downs realized a 3% drop to $366,710 in on-track handle, and a 7% drop to $8,533,226 in total handle. And even respective daily averages of $91,677 and $2,133,306, which were up 17% and 14% over last year, was little consolation to track general manager Ryan Driscoll.

"We would have gotten pretty close to the record," said Driscoll of the all-time total handle of $12,067,052 set in 2004. "I thought we were going to hit $12.5 million."

The four stakes races set for Sept. 23 were postponed due to a rain deluge estimated by some to be in double digits. Because the track wasn't fully dry, racing on Sept. 25 was postponed to Sept. 26, when 13 races were held. Handle on the signature Kentucky Cup Turf race dropped 48 percent from the $561,959 total last year to $293,149 this year.

"That's the difference between a Saturday and a Tuesday," said Driscoll.

The meet's leading jockey was Larry Melancon, who won five times in 15 starts, while leading trainer when to Eric Reed, who saddled four wins in 12 starts.