Handle Numbers Mixed at Turfway

Turfway Park reported on-track handle was up 2.1% for its fall meeting while all sources handle declined 11.8% The meet, which was 22 days, was the first to feature the new synthetic Polytrack surface.

The amount wagered on-track on Turfway and simulcast races was $6,793,059, a 2.1% increase over 2004. But the handle on Turfway races from all sources was $47,379,056, which represented a drop of 11.8% from 2004.

Turfway attributed the decline to two things: the start of the meeting when there was a brief boycott of entries, and Turfway's decision not to send its signal to some off-track locations.

"Without assurances of transparency in the way they do business, we elected to withhold our signal from some secondary pari-mutuel operators," said Turfway president Robert Elliston in a release. "In addition, contract issues led us not to participate with New York OTB."

Elliston also cited loss of play from Fair Grounds and other Louisiana outlets closed by Hurricane Katrina.

On Kentucky Cup day, on-track wagering on Turfway races was up 19%. All-sources wagering on Turfway races that day was up 5%.

Purses for the meet were up 1.1% to an average $178,136 per day.

Commenting on Polytrack in the release, Elliston said, "In the fall of 2004, we had 21 horses listed as DNF (did not finish the race). For this meet that number was 10. The actual number of documented injuries occurring during the races from those failing to finish was only three, with the rest either being outdistanced, bolting, or experiencing equipment failure."

The race for leading rider was as tight, with five riders finishing five or fewer wins behind the top jockey, apprentice Dane Kobiskie. Kobiskie finished with 20 wins, one ahead of Jesus Castanon.

D. Wayne Lukas sent 44 starters to the Turfway gate and found the winners' circle eight times to earn his 11th Turfway meet title.

Six owners tied for most wins with three apiece: Silverton Hill; Nancy R. and Richard S. Kaster; Arthur B. Hancock III; Herman Van Den Broeck; Stan E. Fulton; and Joseph F. Schrage.