On-Track Numbers Decline at Churchill; Betting at Record Level

Although on-track attendance and betting fell, total all-source wagering during the Churchill Downs spring meet reached a record $522.4 million.

The Louisville, Ky. track reported overall wagering during the 52-day meet that ran from April 28-July 8, which includes all money wagered on-track (including wholecard simulcasting at Churchill Downs) and at simulcast centers throughout North America, rose 3 percent to $522,416,506. During the 53-day meet in 2000, all-source handle totaled $506,736,908.

Off-track wagering rose 6 percent to $429,490,826, with the daily average of $8,259,439 per day during the meet representing an increase of nearly 8 percent.

Total on-track wagering fell 7 percent to $92,925,680, with the daily average of $1,787,032 representing a 6 percent decline. On-track attendance for the meet totaled 708,181, down nearly 5 percent, as the daily average fell 3 percent to 13,619.

"We have much to celebrate in our Spring Meet, including remarkable renewals of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, the success of our first 'Stephen Foster Super Saturday,' and another record for total wagering that shows that fans here in Kentucky and across North America love the brand of racing presented by Churchill Downs," said Alex Waldrop, president of Churchill Downs. "We continue to enjoy strong on-track support from our fans in Kentucky and throughout the region. Their loyalty to Churchill Downs in the face of ever-increasing competition in the market and this year's soft economy is a testament to the continued high quality of our racing and our sustained commitment to improve the quality of the service to our guests when they visit our track. We also appreciate the efforts and cooperation of our horsemen as they work with us to present the highest quality daily racing product in the United States."

Churchill paid out $21,931,620 in purses during the meet, for a daily average of $421,762, down 3 percent from the average daily purses of $436,980 paid in the 2000 spring meet. Races at the spring meet averaged 8.78 starters per race, which was up from last year's average of 8.51.

Pat Day, who became just the third jockey in racing history to win 8,000 races with a victory during the Churchill meet, was leading rider with 86 wins. With a victory in the final race on the last day of the meet, Bernie Flint tied Dale Romans for leading trainer honors, with 22 winners apiece. For the third consecutive meet, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey earned honors as leading owner, with 14 victories.