Churchill Downs wrapped up a successful fall meet Nov. 29

Churchill Downs wrapped up a successful fall meet Nov. 29

Anne M. Eberhardt

Business Strong at Churchill Downs Fall Meet

Total and average handle increase sharply despite three fewer racing days.

Churchill Downs reported strong financial figures for its 21-day fall meet that spanned Nov. 1-29.

Total pari-mutuel handle on Churchill races was $104,626,990, up 9.9% from $95,225,065 for a 24-day fall meet in 2014. Average daily handle jumped 25.6% to $4,982,238 from $3,967,711 in 2014.

Parent company Churchill Downs Inc. per policy usually doesn't release meet-end wagering figures.

Churchill officials said 27 fewer races were run this fall but total purses paid increased 14.7% to $9,882,559 from $8,617,939 last fall. Purses averaged $470,598 per day, up 31.1% from $359,081 in 2014. The average purse for 223 races was $44,315, an increase of 28.6% from the average of $34,472 for 250 races during the 2014 fall meet.

Average field size increased 10.3% from 8.53 last year to 9.41.

Officials said on-track attendance for the fall meet fell 9.2% to 103,483 from 113,951, but because of three fewer racing days, average daily attendance rose 3.8% to 4,928 from 4,748.

"Our fall meet was a joy for our on-track fans and those who wagered online via or other platforms, and the meet's strong and competitive race fields, favorable weather, and successful renewals of our traditional Thanksgiving weekend racing and entertainment events combined for a memorable 21 days at Churchill Downs," track president Kevin Flanery said in a Nov. 30 release. "We deeply appreciate the support of the fall meet and our racing product throughout 2015 by horsemen at Churchill Downs and throughout the region, along with the owners and trainers who shipped horses to Churchill Downs from around North America for our stakes events and 'Stars of Tomorrow' days."

Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey wrapped up their 25th leading owner title at Churchill with nine winners from 46 starters during the fall meet. Steve Asmussen was leading trainer for the 17th time at Churchill with 11 wins, while Corey Lanerie won 33 races to take his 10th leading jockey title at the track.