Kentucky Downs: Live handle doubles as race meet ends

by | 09.20.2012 | 7:16am
Kentucky Downs

Kentucky Downs ended its biggest and best live race meet ever today, establishing new benchmarks for on-track and all sources handle while hosting some of the highest quality racing the track has seen in recent memory.
Total handle from all sources for Kentucky Downs 2012 live race meet was $7,570,730 – a 101.6 percent increase over total handle for the 2011 meet of $3,755,909.  And while the 2012 handle figure benefitted from a fifth day of racing this year as compared to a four-day meet in 2011, Kentucky Downs' daily average handle of $1,514,146 represented a 61.3 percent increase over daily average handle last year.
On-track wagering on live races during the meet increased by 40.5 percent from 2011 to 2012 ($313, 561 in 2011, $550,757 in 2012).  And through September 18, Kentucky Downs' total simulcast import handle for the first 18 days of September had increased by 13 percent over the same period in September 2011.

“At the end of last year's live race meet, we made a commitment to the Kentucky horse racing industry to bring great turf racing back to Kentucky Downs in 2012,” said Corey Johnsen, Kentucky Downs president.  “Instant Racing enabled us to increase purses dramatically, and the fans, with their enthusiasm and their wagers, proved they're eager to support quality racing.”
While Kentucky Downs lost one day of racing due to inclement weather on Monday, September 17, its 2012 live race meet offered a total purse structure of nearly $2.5 million. Johnson credited the lucrative purses as a key to attracting outstanding horses to the meet, who, in turn, attracted fans and stimulated interest. The track also lowered its takeout, or cost of betting, on all wagers. All of those factors, Johnsen said, contributed to the success of the meet.
“This season has been very encouraging,” Johnsen said. “I've heard from horsemen and longtime fans that they've never seen so much activity here or such good racing.  I think that all bodes well for Kentucky Downs moving forward into the future.”
On the track, Brian Hernandez, Jr. tallied two wins on Kentucky Downs' closing day card to capture the leading rider title with seven wins.  Corey Lanerie finished the meet with six trips to the winners circle while Kent Desormeaux had four winners and was in the money with six of his seven mounts in the meet.
Rusty Arnold was the leading trainer at the meet with three wins, edging out two-race winning trainers Wesley Ward, Chuck Peery and Jimmy Corrigan.   A total of 38 other trainers sent out winning horses in the 43 races on the one-of-a-kind European style turf course during the 2012 live meet.
Kentucky Downs offered seven stakes races in 2012 that included some of the best performances of the meet.  Graded stakes winners Ioya Bigtime and Raystrada, took their confrontation down to the wire in the Grade III, $200,000 Kentucky Turf Cup, with Ioya Bigtime winning narrowly. After an overwhelming rally, Miz Ida emerged as a genuine star from the Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf. And after consecutive record-setting stakes victories at Charles Town and Ellis Park, Good Lord proved he could win a on grass, too, by taking the Kentucky Cup Turf Dash.
Oscar Party and Ruler of Love won Kentucky Downs' juvenile stakes races, marking themselves as horses of significant potential. And Claiborne Farm's Console, in a dazzling debut victory, announced his arrival on the scene
“Our racing was outstanding and our handle results exceeded our expectations,” said Johnsen.  “We hosted some truly great turf racing in 2012 and we can't wait for our next live meet to begin in 2013.”

Wagering Summary
Live Racing Days
On-Track Handle
Off-Track Handle
Total Handle
Average Starters Per Race
Leading Jockeys
Brian Hernandez, Jr.
Corey Lanerie
Kent Desormeaux
Victor Lebron
Calvin Borel
Matthew Straight
Leading Trainers
Rusty Arnold — 3 Wins
Wesley Ward, Chuck Peery, Jimmy Corrigan – 2 Wins Each
  • ryan driscoll

    Congrats to Corey and the team. It truely was an awesome and enjoyable meet.

  • kyle

    A very good, very bettable little meet. The straight pools are a little volatile because of their shallowness. Get the wps take down to 10-12% and watch this meet really take off.

  • How about a spring meet?

  • RDV

    They couldn’t have done it without INSTANT RACING games.  When will the rest of the tracks finally figure it out – the games are a huge benefit all around!  Keep the games strictly at tracks, the money going ONLY to horse racing interests.  This way we do not have to be the welfare child of other gaming interests. 

  • Charlie Davis

    Instant Racing, and the purses it brought with it, did help field size.  But, field size was up by only .26 per race over 2010, so it’s basically getting field size back to what it once was.

    The big change is their takeout.  The reason handle was up by 44% this year is because they had great low takeout, and large, competitive fields.  Those are the kinds of races that horseplayers want to play.  

    Well done Kentucky Downs!

  • Matthew Martini

    The product was fantastic. What a neat track. With the large fields and elevation changes, I almost felt as though I was watching UK Racing on the GBI feed. I too hope they can add more dates to the calendar.

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