Keeneland Fall Meet Numbers Stable

Keeneland reported Tuesday that attendance was up and on-track and all-source wagering fell slightly during the 17-day fall meet that ended Saturday at the Lexington, Ky. track.

On-track attendance totaled 232,429, an increase of 2.1% from 227,620 last year and the second best ever in the fall. Average daily attendance was 13,672, compared to 13,389 in 2004.

Total on-track wagering, including imported simulcasts, totaled $26,712,317, a decrease of 2.5% from $27,397,956. All -ource handle, including incoming simulcasts at Keeneland, totaled $124,922,163, which is seven-tenths of 1% down from $125,776,943 a year ago. The daily average handle from all sources was $7,348,363 compared $7,398,644 last fall. For the first time, the track commingled wagers from Canada into its wagering pools and withheld simulcasting of its races from 10 sites, most of which are off-shore bookmakers.

"When you stop to analyze the figures, it was a very strong meeting," said Keeneland President Nick Nicholson. "Despite the loss of handle from the off-shore sites, the overall betting on Keeneland slightly exceeded last year's figures That tells us that with large, quality fields, Keeneland's racing was extremely attractive to bettors throughout North America. On-track attendance remained strong -- a testament to the atmosphere in which racing is presented."

Keeneland distributed $10,428,070 in purses, for a daily average of $613,416, and there were an average of 9.21 starters per race compared to 8.97 last fall.

Despite missing the final days of the meet to be in New York for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, Rafael Bejarano was leading jockey for the second straight fall meet, with 30 wins.

Nick Zito led the trainer's standing with nine wins, one more than Steve Asmussen. The two tied for the title last fall. Neil Howard and Bob Holthus tied for third with six wins apiece.

William Farish and partners won five races, including two stakes, to finish as leading owner in races won.