A total of $7,564,345 was wagered Sunday at Kentucky Downs, up from the corresponding fourth day of the meet last year, when $7,329,490 was bet on a Sunday card that was postponed to the following Wednesday after a deluge of rain flooded the region.
Kentucky Downs has topped its previous mark for wagering from all sources for each of the first four days of the RUNHAPPY meet.
The track shattered its single-day record on Saturday's card, with a total of $11,322,270 wagered on the 10 races. That was an increase of $1,283,262 over the corresponding day last year, or up 12.78 percent.
“I hate to say this, but you almost become numb to it,” Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs' senior vice president and general manager, said early in Sunday's card. “If we'd had a $10 million day (Saturday), I'd have been disappointed, because the expectations are that we're going to have big days. We had great weather. The fields were amazing. The level of interest around the country was huge. So my expectations were to do at least $11 million. I was really happy to get to $11.3 million.
“Next year will be a little different because hopefully we get our (requested) seven days,” he said. “We'll definitely handle more as a whole, but does it spread some handicappers' money out over seven days instead of five? I don't have an answer. My expectations are obviously that we'd do more in seven days than the five.”
Saturday's on-track wagering was a record $632,473, up 46 percent over the $433,592 wagering on the same Saturday last year.
To help accommodate what clearly was going to be a very big crowd, Kentucky Downs added extra tenting to the Finish Line Pavilion, expanding seating from 400 to almost 500 just from Thursday to Saturday. Now the question is how to handle the ever-growing demand for reserved seating areas.
One idea came to life Saturday. Nicholson said the temporary open-air chalet-type tent that housed a VIP party Saturday was so well-received that a permanent structure will be built that can be used as a ticketed venue as well as for events such as weddings in the off season.
Also, the three tents that provided the Finish Line Pavilion extension will be replaced with another pavilion, he said.
Nicholson said that even with the expansion of ticketed areas, plenty of space remains for guests enjoying free general admission to watch the races on the outside rail.
“There's still beachfront property that's unused there,” he said, referencing prime viewing area.
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