Edited Press Release
The key indicators to measure the success of a race meet were either up or maintained a lofty level at the FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs, which came to a close Wednesday.
Purses paid out to horse owners were a record for the 12th straight year. Money wagered was another record, increasing 4.3%. Field sizes remained among the highest in the country with an average of 10.42 starters per race.
“Kentucky Downs' ownership led by Ron Winchell and Marc Falcone continually pushes us to present racing in a different way, to look for ways to innovate and improve,” said Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs' Vice President for Racing. “We put a premium on creating a memorable experience for our guests, horsemen and our sponsors. Horse owners put on the show. We want to show our recognition and appreciation for that with our hospitality.”
All-sources wagering on the meet totaled $83,640,261, up from $80,175,928 last year. A total of $25,065,000 was offered in purses for 76 races, including $10,523,750 in purse supplements from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund. Of the 11 stakes offering $1 million or more in purses, 10 were won by Kentucky-breds.
Total purses paid out this meet is still being verified but is certain to top last year's $17,863,177 for 73 races. Seventy-two different ownership entities won races.
Damon Thayer, Kentucky's Senate Majority Floor Leader, has seen up close the transformation of Kentucky Downs.
“Yes, the financial success is there with the handle being up,” said Thayer, who attended five of the meet's seven days. “But it also has a cool vibe factor going for it. I also think the prestige of the meet is starting to get baked in across North America. It used to be kind of a quirky, novelty track, and there were some people who wouldn't run here. Now everybody is coming. All the jockeys are here, all the trainers, the big outfits. It exemplifies what's going right with Kentucky racing.”