Record Purses on Tap for Kentucky Downs Meet

Record Purses on Tap for Kentucky Downs Meet
Photo: Ron Mitchell
Kentucky Downs

As a result of revenues generated by Instant Racing, Kentucky Downs will offer record purses during the six-day, all-turf meet that begins Sept. 8.

Live racing at the Franklin, Ky., track will be held on Saturdays, Mondays, and Wednesdays from Sept. 8-19.

The 2012 total purse structure at Kentucky Downs of $2,453,000 is the largest offered by the track since it first hosted Thoroughbred racing in 1991. Purses exceed the previous high of $1,890,000 over seven days of racing in 2002.

Kentucky Downs’ 2012 total purse structure represents a 242% increase over total purses offered in 2011 of $717,000. Average daily purses, including stakes and overnight races, will go from $179,000 in 2011 to $409,000 (128% increase) during the 2012 meet.

“Since we purchased Kentucky Downs, our goal has been to have a positive impact on the Kentucky horse racing circuit,” said Corey Johnsen, Kentucky Downs president. “With the additional revenue generated by Instant Racing we are beginning to accomplish that and look forward to our richest season ever.”

Kentucky Downs is the first track in the state to offer Instant Racing, an electronic form of gaming that resembles slot machines, with the outcome of the games based on previously run horse races. Modeled after the Instant Racing concept developed at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas, the new form of gaming is being challenged in court.

With the addition of five new stakes races in 2012, Kentucky Downs will offer seven stakes among the 50 total races that will be carded during the meet. The stakes schedule is headlined by the Kentucky Turf Cup (gr. IIIT), which will be run on Sept. 15 for a purse of $200,000.

“The opportunity to return to a six-day meet with considerably higher purses allows us to grow our stakes schedule this year,” said Johnsen. “We have carded five new stakes races that we believe over time will be important preps for many of the turf races in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.”

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