Handle Up 75.5% on Kentucky Downs Opening Day

by | 09.09.2012 | 8:52am
Kentucky Downs
Kentucky Downs

What a difference a year makes.

As Kentucky Downs' 2012 racing season began Saturday, the handle soared, stakes horses raced for lucrative purses and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan celebrated a significant victory in the winner's circle.

On Kentucky Downs' opening day last year, fans on-track bet $84,753 on the races.  On Saturday, patrons bet $124,739, a 47-percent increase. Last year, total handle on Kentucky Downs' races got about as high as a flushed quail at  $776,898.  On opening day 2012, total handle soared to $1,363,682, a 75.5-percent increase.

And last year on opening day, jockey Shaun Bridgmohan hit the ground hard after his mount in the Kentucky Turf Cup, Formaggio, clipped heels. The spill in the second turn left the jockey bruised and scraped and missing more than a few teeth. Saturday, however, Bridgmohan and Miz Ida came down the stretch like marauders to win the $75,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf, one of three stakes on the opening day card.


Depeche Chat, owned by Wind River Stables, won the $75,000 Franklin-Simpson Stakes. And Good Lord, who had set track records in each of his last two outings, while winning stakes at Ellis Park and Charles Town, won the $75,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Dash for his owners, Doug Shank and Stan Young of Bowling Green, Ky.

“It was a terrific day of racing,” said Kentucky Downs president Corey Johnsen. “We're pleased that we're now in a position to put on races like these, with attractive purses for the horsemen and exciting horses for the fans. Overall, it was very encouraging.”

Thanks in part to the addition and success of Instant Racing, Kentucky Downs was able to increase its purses this year by than 220 percent, to more than $2.4 million for the six days of turf racing across the only European-style turf course in North  America. And the effects were evident Saturday, with a racing program that featured large fields and several accomplished stakes performers.

For Miz Ida, a 3-year-old filly taking on her elders, the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf became her third stakes victory. And it was her fourth win in five outings with Bridgmohan riding.

“She's just a wonderful filly,” the jockey said. “The only time we got beat, it was probably my fault because I had her too close to the pace (in the Edgewood Stakes at Churchill), but when you let her do what she wants, she has such a powerful punch. . . . With the long stretch here, I wasn't surprised that she beat these older horses, because she really comes running.”

An overnight rain left the turf officially “yielding,” and after an opening half-mile in 52.28 seconds, Miz Ida cruised along casually, ahead of only one in the field of 11. But she advanced boldly in the turn, and when Bridgmohan swung her to the outside in the stretch she charged home, completing the mile in 1:50.46, with Ridgester 3 ¾ lengths back in second and Affair Dabbler another 3 lengths back in third. Named after a Holocaust survivor and trained by Steve Margolis, Miz Ida earned $44,140 Saturday for her owners — Bert, Richard and Elaine Kleine of Louisville, Ky. And she swelled her career bankroll to $223,346. As the 3-1 favorite, Miz Ida returned $8.60 and completed an all-stakes Pick Three that returned $1,126.80 for a one-dollar investment.

Good Lord began the lucrative Pick Three, rallying from sixth under jockey Gabriel Saez to win the Kentucky Downs Turf Dash by 2 ¼ lengths and completing the six furlongs in 1:18.58. Despite his recent penchant for setting track records, Good Lord offered 6-1 odds, probably because he had raced only once on turf and was unproven on the surface. But his trainer, the veteran Forrest Kaelin, said he decided to take a chance on the grass because there were few other options in the region.

Icon Ike finished second, 6 ¼ lengths ahead of Will's Wildcat in third. Noble's Promise, the 2-1 favorite, led into the stretch, but faded to fourth.

And Depeche Cat, a 13-1 long shot, romped in the Franklin-Simpson Stakes. With Brian Hernandez Jr. riding, Depeche Cat closely stalked the early leader, Ratatat, and then with shocking suddenness sprinted clear in the stretch, winning by 6 ½ lengths while completing the mile over the yielding turf in 1:51.20.  Depeche Cat gave trainer George “Rusty” Arnold his second winner of the day.

Racing resumes Monday at Kentucky Downs with an eight-race program.  First post time is 1:35 p.m. Central time.

  • Mr. Johnsen, Do you have the same placing judges as last year

  • Mr. Johnsen, Do you have the same placing judges as last year

  • I bet yesterday because they lowered the takeout.

    Does anyone know what the handle on the pick-5 was?

    The negative to me is the camera angles during the races.

  • I bet yesterday because they lowered the takeout.

    Does anyone know what the handle on the pick-5 was?

    The negative to me is the camera angles during the races.

  • InsideThePylons

    I’ve read this 3 times and I can’t find where they mentioned the huge drop in takeout might have caused wagering to be up 75%

  • InsideThePylons

    I’ve read this 3 times and I can’t find where they mentioned the huge drop in takeout might have caused wagering to be up 75%

  • Jeannewolverton

    I’ll be there next saturday. I can’t wait, I was there in 2010 when they didn’t have a full card. Wish I could have been there to see Miz Ida, I read about the lady she is named for. A heart warming story. It is such a great place to watch horse racing. I saw Cloudy’s Night in 2010. He didn’t win but he sure tried. Am really looking forward to plopping down my lawnchair and enjoying the racing. Fun Fun Fun

    • john greathouse

      they put on a great show there!

  • Jeannewolverton

    I’ll be there next saturday. I can’t wait, I was there in 2010 when they didn’t have a full card. Wish I could have been there to see Miz Ida, I read about the lady she is named for. A heart warming story. It is such a great place to watch horse racing. I saw Cloudy’s Night in 2010. He didn’t win but he sure tried. Am really looking forward to plopping down my lawnchair and enjoying the racing. Fun Fun Fun

  • According to a release from the track, the takeout rate on the exacta bets has been lowered by 3.75%–from 22% in 2011 to 18.25% in 2012. The track has also lowered the takeout on win, place, and show wagers from 17% to 16% and last year’s 22% takeout on all exotic bets (except exactas) has been lowered to 19%
     
    Read more on BloodHorse.com: http://www.bloodhorse.com/hors

  • john greathouse

    they put on a great show there!

  • Rpres43

    I flew up from Orlando for opening day, having only watched and wagered on my computer on KD in the past.  Lowered take-out certainly factored in to my decision, and am I glad I did!  What a gorgeous course and facility!  And to boot, there is free admission and parking and very reasonable concession prices.  This is going to be an annual thing for me.  After seeing the turf course in person, I now understand the weird camera angles.
    This is a rare instance of racing doing everything right for a change, and I certainly applause KD for their efforts.

  • Rpres43

    I flew up from Orlando for opening day, having only watched and wagered on my computer on KD in the past.  Lowered take-out certainly factored in to my decision, and am I glad I did!  What a gorgeous course and facility!  And to boot, there is free admission and parking and very reasonable concession prices.  This is going to be an annual thing for me.  After seeing the turf course in person, I now understand the weird camera angles.
    This is a rare instance of racing doing everything right for a change, and I certainly applause KD for their efforts.

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