The 2021 Fall Meet at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, closed Oct. 30, with record all-sources wagering of better than $181 million over the course of 17 days of live racing at the historic facility.
When the dust had settled Saturday afternoon, all-sources wagering (not including whole-card simulcasting at Keeneland) totaled $181,009,626, obliterating the previous record of $164,680,229 established during this year's Spring Meet and the previous Fall Meet record of $160,207,916 set in 2019. This year's all-sources wagering numbers represented a 22% increase over last fall's $148,229,708. Keeneland offered a beefed-up stakes schedule worth $6 million across 22 black-type races.
On Saturday, Oct. 9, the second of the three programs that comprise 'FallStars' weekend, Keeneland established a new Fall record for single-day all-source wagering of $20,926,640, surpassing the prior record of $18,392,756 set in 2019. A new benchmark was also set for Pick 5 Wagering, as a sequence consisting of only stakes races attracted $1,255,080 in wagers, besting the previous record last fall by about 50%.
Keeneland also instituted for the first time an 'All-Turf' Pick 3 wager, that offered a low 15% takeout. The wager handled an average of $112,233 per day, with an average payout of over $1,300 for the base $3 wager.
“We are so appreciative of the tremendous support from our fans, our horsemen, the Central Kentucky community, our horseplayers and our corporate partners,” Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin said. “Welcoming fans back to Keeneland this fall, along with the return of our special events and tailgating on The Hill, felt like a breath of fresh air after the restrictions of the past year and a half. It was a terrific way to mark our 85th year of racing and to celebrate the important role Keeneland plays in our community and the horse industry.”
On the racing side, Keeneland hosted 10 races in the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series, offering the winners of those races fees-paid berths into a variety of Breeders' Cup races. A dozen of the aforementioned 22 stakes events were held on the grass. Keeneland added a pair of juvenile sprint stakes–the Myrtlewood and the Bowman Mill S.–at the back end of the meet and revived the Perryville S. and Bryan Station S. for 3-year-olds.
Tyler Gaffalione ran away with the jockeys' title, booting home no fewer than 29 winners, while Brad Cox won the final race of the meet with new 'TDN Rising Star' Famed (Uncle Mo) to clinch a second consecutive fall title. Godolphin and Calumet Farm finished in a tie for leading owner with four wins. Sheikh Mohammed's operation, along with prominent owner/breeder G. Watts Humphrey, Jr. were each recipients of a prestigious Keeneland Tray, emblematic of having won their eighth graded stakes at Keeneland.
Keeneland hosted their annual 'Make a Wish' day, a charitable undertaking that was the brainchild of the late John Greely IV, on Oct. 14, benefiting 10 children; College Scholarship Day Oct. 15; and Heroes Day, presented by Rubicon, Oct. 24, further demonstrating the Keeneland Association's commitment to philanthropic efforts in the broader community.