Kentucky Downs: Instant Racing gives meet a boost
Kentucky Downs Monday brought down the curtain on its 2011 live race meet and posted solid and substantial gains in all areas of its pari-mutuel operations.
Total mutuel handle at Kentucky Downs over the first 19 days of 2011, including the handle from the track’s new Instant Racing operations, was 176 percent greater in 2011 than in 2010.
On-track wagering on live races at Kentucky Downs during the track’s four-day meet increased by 2.9 percent from 2010 to 2011. Similarly, Kentucky Downs’ total simulcast import handle for the period from September 1 to September 19 was effectively unchanged – bucking an industry trend of double-digit decreases for wagering.
According to Corey Johnsen, Kentucky Downs president, the increases in pari-mutuel handle are directly attributable to the rise in attendance at the track from patrons at Kentucky Downs’ new Instant Racing gaming center.
“The introduction of Instant Racing at Kentucky Downs has brought thousands of new patrons to our facility, many of whom wagered not only on our Instant Racing games but on our live races and in our simulcast center,” said Johnsen. “Through August of this year, our simulcast import handle was down by more than 10 percent. The increased patronage at Kentucky Downs for our Instant Racing games clearly has helped other areas of our business.”
Johnsen noted that the only disappointing component of Kentucky Downs’ pari-mutuel handle during its 2011 live race meet was a 19.3 percent drop in simulcast export handle. Johnsen attributed the decrease to the fact that the Kentucky Downs signal was not offered at California tracks and wagering outlets in 2011 as it had been in previous years.
“Our 2011 live meet gave us a chance to show owners, trainers, jockeys and those associated with the sport what Instant Racing can do for Kentucky’s signature industry,” said Johnsen. “The opening of our Instant Racing gaming center as well as the expansion of our simulcasting business to a seven-day-a-week operation is at the forefront of our plan to make Kentucky Downs an even stronger member of the Kentucky racing circuit.”
Four jockeys – Greta Kuntzweiler, John McKee, Marcelino Pedroza and Oriana Rossi – shared the leading rider title at the 2011 live race meet with three wins each. Ian Wilkes was the leading trainer at the meet with two wins, as 28 other trainers sent out winning horses on the one-of-a-kind European style turf course during the 2011 live meet.
2011 KENTUCKY DOWNS LIVE RACING MEET: PARI-MUTUEL HANDLE SUMMARY
Live On-Track Wagering (4 days) $313,614 Up 2.9% over 2010 on-track handle
Live Simulcast Export Wagering (4 days) $3,361,839 Down 19.3% from 2010 export handle