Turfway Park Ends Meet with Mixed Results

Turfway Park successfully attracted more people to its 23-day meet, now it has to teach them how to bet. The Florence, Ky., track reported a 3.4% increase in on-track attendance, but a 4.5% decrease in on-track handle.

Average daily on-track attendance was 2,301, up from an average 2,225 during the 1999 fall meet. Average daily on-track handle, however, slid to $422,178, down from an average $441,968 a year ago.

"We presented a variety of fun promotions and events aimed at attracting a new audience to the track, which we accomplished," said Turfway president Robert Elliston. "However, these novice fans aren't going to wager much until they become better acquainted with the sport. We must figure out how to educate these new fans and encourage repeat patronage. I think this is something the entire industry needs to focus on."

Total handle for the meet rose a slight 1.3% to $85,922,368, up from $84,834,558 a year ago, largely on the strength of out-of-state wagering. Wagers from outside Kentucky on Turfway rose 5.5% to $47,171,936, or an average daily out-of-state handle of $2,050,954. Wagering from within the state on Turfway was soft, falling 3.1% to a total $29,040,349, or an average daily off-track/intertrack wager handle of $1,262,624.