Robert Elliston, Turfway Park president, said the incentive program should help the Florence, Ky., track maintain its already strong fields. During the racetrack's recent holiday meet, bad weather forced the cancellation of six racing programs and the better part of racing on a seventh day. On-track handle and interstate wagering fell significantly from last year's holiday meet, but field size stayed strong. The average field size was 9.55 or 3% higher than the 1999 Holiday meet. Elliston credits full fields for a 19.4% increase in the average daily out-of-state handle. "This will keep Kentucky's racing circuit strong and that was the theory behind Keeneland's purchase of Turfway," he said.
Keeneland has created an incentive program to encourage Lexington-based horsemen to race at Turfway Park.Under the program, a trainer stabled at Keeneland or its Thoroughbred Center training track would receive a week's worth of free stall rental for each horse raced at Turfway Park. The savings would be $38.50 per horse per week for most horsemen stabled at the Lexington track or training center, according Jim Williams, Keeneland's director of communications. Turfway Park is owned by Keeneland, Harrah's, and Dreamport, which is a Gtech Holdings subsidiary. The three companies bought the racetrack from Jerry Carroll for $37 million on Jan. 15, 1999. Gtech is now in the process of selling its share.