Keeneland Wraps Up 75th Anniversary Meet with Strong Gains in Attendance and Handle

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As Keeneland concludes its 75th anniversary racing season, the historic track posted a record for attendance and strong gains in all-sources handle buoyed by large average field sizes.

 During the 17-day meeting, attendance totaled a record 250,163, for an average of 14,715 per day. The first two weekends—which included a record opening Friday crowd of 19,026—each drew more than 60,000 in attendance. The previous meet attendance record was 244,145, set in the spring of 2006 for a 15-day meeting.

 “This was a strong meeting in so many ways—from attendance, to wagering, to quality of racing” said Keeneland President and CEO Nick Nicholson. “Add the national coverage with NBC, Versus and TVG and our month-long celebration with the community and the industry, and I think we have much to be thankful for this meet.”

 Key facts and figures from the fall meeting include:

2011

2010

% Change

All-Sources Handle on Keeneland

 

$128,533,933

$117,600,498

9.3%

Avg. Daily All-Sources Handle on Keeneland

 

$7,560,820

$6,917,676

9.3%

All-Sources Handle including Imported Simulcast (tracks simulcast at Keeneland)

$131,732,478

$120,859,772

9.0

Avg. Daily All-Sources Handle including Imported Simulcast (tracks simulcast at Keeneland)

$7,748,969

$7,109,398

9.0

Total On-Track Handle

 

$18,876,288

$18,857,350

.10%

Avg. Daily On-Track Handle

 

$1,110,370

$1,109,256

.10%

Field Size

 

10.1

9.9

2%

Total Attendance

 

250,163

229,909

8.8%

Avg. Daily Attendance

 

14,715

13,524

8.8%

Julien Leparoux, Ken McPeek and G. Watts Humphrey Jr. captured leading jockey, trainer and owner titles, respectively.

 A multiple Eclipse Award winner, Leparoux dominated the jockey standings this fall, burnishing his credentials in the Keeneland record books by earning his third fall riding title (2006 and 2010) and seventh title overall (spring 2006 [first apprentice to win a Keeneland title, tying with Rafael Bejarano], 2007, 2009, 2011).

 Leparoux, who won the First Lady (G1) aboard Never Retreat and the Fayette (G2) with Wise Dan, accumulated 33 victories during the meet, catapulting him to sixth place among Keeneland’s all-time winning jockeys by races won. Twice during the meet – on October 21 and October 29 – he recorded five wins on a single card, becoming only the ninth rider in track history to accomplish that feat.  

 “The whole meet has been very good,” Leparoux said. “Keeneland is a great track so it’s fun. It’s very good to be successful here.”

 James Graham finished second in the rider standings with 17 wins, followed by Robby Albarado with 15 victories.

 

Trainer Ken McPeek earned his third consecutive Keeneland title and fourth overall (fall 2009 and 2010; spring 2011) with 10 wins, just edging out George “Rusty” Arnold II with nine victories. Graham Motion finished third with seven wins.

 G. Watts Humphrey Jr., both solely and in partnership, won seven races during the meet to record his third fall leading owner title (fall 2004 and 2006) and seventh Keeneland title overall (spring 1989, 2003 [tie], 2008 [tie] and 2010 [tie]).

 Humphrey, who attended the races at Keeneland on Saturday, was at Busch Stadium on Friday night to watch the St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series in Game 7. Humphrey is part of the Cardinals ownership group.

 “I think that winning (the World Series) with the Cardinals is just a wonderful thrill, but the horses are our first love and running at Keeneland is the place we love to win,” he said. “This is a very special year because we’ve won it with most of the horses which we’ve raised.”

 Ken and Sarah Ramsey finished second with five wins, including two stakes – the Darley Alcibiades (G1) with Stephanie’s Kitten and the Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) with Holiday for Kitten. Both horses are scheduled to race in the upcoming Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill downs.

 “It is very rewarding that 75 years after our first meet, we continue to be blessed with racing at the highest level possible,” said Vice President of Racing Rogers Beasley. “We are fortunate to have a top-notch stakes program, led by a number of Breeders’ Cup prep races. We also had a large contingent of Breeders’ Cup contenders electing to race and train here. On behalf of the entire team, we wish to thank the jockeys, trainers, and fans for supporting us this racing season.”

 

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