Keeneland Eclipses Spring Wagering Marks

Total wagering at the just concluded 15-day Keeneland spring meeting of $143,459,422 set an all-time record, the track reported May 2.

The figure, including on-track and off-track sources as well as whole card wagering conducted at Keeneland, broke the previous record of $142,450,673 set during 2004's 15-day spring meet. Last year's 16-day spring meet total was $129,234,309.

Total wagering averaged a record $9,563,961 per day, again breaking the previous high of $9,496,712 established in the spring of 2004. Last year, the daily average for total wagering was $8,077,144.

Record interstate wagering on Keeneland's racing program fueled the increases in total wagering. Interstate wagering rose to $110,401,486, a 9% gain over 2004's record mark of $101,040,827. Average daily interstate handle of $7,360,099 also topped 2004's record level of $6,736,055 by 9%. In 2005, interstate handle on Keeneland totaled $89,986,745, for an average daily of $5,624,172.

On-track wagering on Keeneland racing rose slightly to $21,833,015 over last year's $21,599,291, even though there was one less day of racing in 2006. Total on-track handle of $27,129,925 remained flat in comparison to 2005, chiefly due to a 12% decline in whole card wagering at Keeneland during the meet.

Keeneland earlier reported an all-time record total and average daily attendance during the spring meet. Attendance for the 15-day meet totaled 244,145, a 4% increase over last year's record high of 235,220. Daily attendance during the meet averaged a record 16,276, an 11% increase over last year's 14,701. The previous record of 15,522 was set in 2004's 15-day spring meet.

"Keeneland continues to be a special place for so many people," said president and CEO Nick Nicholson. "The support of our great fans; our horsemen, who provide such exciting racing; the relationships we have with our corporate and media sponsors – they all combine to make Keeneland unique and to enable us to create new racing fans."

Purses for the 15-day spring meet averaged $641,253, up 3% over the average of $639,204 distributed during last year's 16-day meet. Those rich purses attracted the nation's top trainers and jockeys, and made for close competition among horsemen for leading contender crowns.