Kentucky Downs closed out its highly successful 2014 live racing season on Wednesday, and the track established new records for wagering handle and starters per race during the five race-date season. A total of $15,880,755 was wagered on the Kentucky Downs races during the 2014 meeting, shattering the previous record of $12,814,967, established in 2013, by 23.9%. Field size was an impressive 10.2 starters per race.
“We are extremely gratified with the success of this year's live meet,” said Kentucky Downs President Corey Johnsen. “We had tremendous support from horsemen and racing fans and are proud of the quality of live racing that we were able to offer. Many of the nation's top trainers raced horses with us this year, and our jockey colony was second to none.”
“Surpassing last year's previous record handle by almost 24% is an accomplishment the Kentucky Downs team is very proud of. On track crowds were very enthusiastic, showing a 15% increase in handle over last year. We have a lot of momentum, and are looking forward to what the future has to offer for Thoroughbred racing at Kentucky Downs,” Johnsen concluded.
Wednesday's closing day card was a showcase for first-class racing as three stakes races that each carried a $200,000 purse were featured. The Kentucky Downs Turf Dash at 6 ½ furlongs was won by Dimension (GB), while the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon (run at a distance of 1 5/16 miles) was so popular with horsemen at the entry box (with a total of 23 entries) that it was split into two separate divisions, with the winners being White Rose (Tapit x Garden Dance, by El Prado) and Angel Terrace (Ghostzapper x Another Storm, by Gone West) respectively.
In the Kentucky Downs Turf Dash, the six-year-old gelding Dimension (GB) was a neck winner over Something Extra, with favored Undrafted another neck back in third. Dimension was ridden by Chris Landeros for trainer Conor Murphy, who also owns the gelding in the name of his Riverside Bloodstock. Dimension (GB) now has lifetime earnings of over $370,000.
In his most recent start before his victory in the Kentucky Downs Turf Dash, Dimension had finished third in the Grade II Play King Stakes at Woodbine. His past accomplishments include a fifth place finish, beaten only three lengths, in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita last November.
In the first division of the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon, White Rose was rated nicely by jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, who swung the four-year-old mare out from behind horse in mid-stretch and went on to earn a 1 ¾ length victory, stopping the timer in 2:13.76. The attractive gray daughter of leading sire Tapit is trained by Bill Mott for owners Jake Ballis and NBA star Rashard Lewis. The victory brought White Rose's career earnings to over $319,600. Runner-up in the first division was La Maluguena, with Angegreen (ITY) finishing third.
In the second division of the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon, Angel Terrace forged to the lead in the final sixteenth of a mile to overtake the stubborn frontrunner I O Ireland to claim the victory by 1 ½ lengths. Ridden by Florent Geroux for trainer Jonathan Sheppard and owner George Strawbridge's Augustin Stable, Angel Terrace is a Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Ghostzapper, Angel Terrace brought her career bankroll to over $295,000 with the victory. Her winning time for the 1 5/16 miles was 2:12.44.
Reviewing individual honors for the 2014 Kentucky Downs meet, Rosie Napravnik and Julien Leparoux tied for the leading jockey title with seven victories apiece during the five-day season. Wesley Ward earned his third leading trainer title at Kentucky Downs, saddling seven winners during the meet, including two victories on closing day. Kenneth & Sarah Ramsey were the leading owners for the second straight year. The Ramseys had four wins, three second place finishes and earnings of over $264,000 for the five-day 2014 live meet.
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