Keeneland Fall Meet Generates Record Handle

Keeneland completed its 2002 fall meet Oct. 26 with increases in most categories, including total pari-mutuel handle.

For the 17-day meet that began Oct. 4, Keeneland races generated $111,180,879, up from the previous fall record of $104,066,408 set during a 16-day meet in 2000. Daily average handle of $6,540,052 topped the previous high of $6,504,151 in 2000.

In the fall of 2001, $95,460,266 was wagered on 17 days of racing for a daily average of $5,615,310. Keeneland experimented with a lower pari-mutuel takeout rate during that meet, and as a result, most Mid-Atlantic racetracks did not simulcast opening weekend, and off-track betting outlets in New York did not carry the entire meet.

October was unseasonably cool and wet, but on-track attendance increased 1.7% to 211,661, fifth highest in fall-meet history. Keeneland's daily average on-track attendance was 12,451 compared with12,244 in 2001.

Keeneland's on-track handle (live and simulcast races) was $25,394,500, for an average of $1,493,794 a day. The figure is down 1.4% from $25,769,366 and $1,515,845, respectively, a year ago.

"The wagering public responded positively to Keeneland's quality, competitive racing by betting a record amount of money," Keeneland president Nick Nicholson said. "And, despite uncharacteristically cool, rainy weather, on-track attendance increased and betting compared favorably to last year."

Purses for the meet reached $10,232,072 in purses, a daily average of $601,886. Pat Day won his 20th Keeneland jockey title with 24 victories. Dale Romans led the trainer's standings with eight winners, and Ken and Sarah Ramsey and WinStar Farm each won four races to share leading owner honors.