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Keeneland Closes Fall Meet with Record All-Sources Wagering

October 27, 2018

Keeneland successfully concluded its 2018 Fall Meet on Saturday with Fall Meet record all-sources wagering of more than $144 million, driven by Fall Meet records for single-day all-sources and Pick Four handle.

All-sources wagering on live racing at Keeneland (not including whole-card simulcasting at Keeneland) totaled $144,309,944 for the 17-day Fall Meet, held Oct. 5-27. The figure surpassed the previous record of $139,660,204 set during the 17-day 2013 Fall Meet. The total increased 18.57 percent from the $121,712,702 posted for last year’s 17-day Fall Meet. Average daily all-sources wagering of $8,488,820 rose 18.57 percent from $7,159,571 in 2017.

“The quality of Keeneland’s racing program is reflected in the record wagering we experienced this Fall,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “Full, competitive race fields representing the nation’s top owners, trainers and jockeys attracted the support of fans across the country. We thank the Central Kentucky community, our horsemen and corporate partners for a very gratifying racing season.”

Keeneland set Fall Meet wagering records for single-day all-sources handle and Pick Four pools on Fall Stars Saturday, Oct. 6. Total all-sources handle of $17,122,465 exceeded the previous Fall Meet single-day record of $15,926,396 set Oct. 8, 2016. 

Keeneland smashed its Fall Meet Pick Four wagering record, also from Oct. 8, 2016. The All-Stakes Pick Four handle of $737,408 broke the previous record of $479,166. 

On-track attendance and wagering were down slightly when compared to the 2017 Fall Meet, due in part to unseasonably hot weather during opening Fall Stars Weekend. On-track attendance of 241,806 dipped 10.63 percent from last fall’s near-record 270,555. Average daily attendance was 14,224 versus 15,915 in 2017.

On-track wagering totaled $16,419,870, a decrease of 6.69 percent from last year’s $17,597,035. Average daily on-track handle was $965,874 compared to last fall’s $1,035,120.

Fall Meet Racing 

Fall Meet average daily purse money increased 4.7 percent to a Fall Meet record $730,873, ranking the season among the richest racing programs in the country. Average starters per race increased 2.17 percent from 9.2 last fall to 9.4.

Fifty-four horses that raced or trained at Keeneland in October were pre-entered in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, to be held Nov. 2-3 at Churchill Downs.  

Ten of those horses secured a berth in the Breeders’ Cup via Breeders’ Cup Challenge races held during the Fall Meet. Nine “Win & You’re In” stakes headlined Keeneland’s blockbuster Fall Stars Weekend, Oct. 5-7. 

Horses earning an automatic spot were: Darley Alcibiades (G1) winner Restless Rider (Tito’s Handmade Vodka Juvenile Fillies-G1), Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) winner Next Shares (Mile-G1), Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner Knicks Go (Sentient Jet Juvenile-G1), First Lady (G1) winner A Raving Beauty (GER) (Maker’s Mark Filly and Mare Turf-G1), Juddmonte Spinster (G1) winner Blue Prize (ARG) (Distaff-G1), Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2) winner Promises Fulfilled (TwinSpires Sprint-G1), Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) winner Golden Mischief (Filly and Mare Sprint-G1), Dixiana Bourbon (G3) winner Current (Juvenile Turf-G1) and inaugural Indian Summer winner Strike Silver (Juvenile Turf Sprint). 

Concrete Rose won Keeneland’s 10th Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2) on Oct. 10 to earn a position in the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). 

The competition wasn’t limited to racing’s equine stars. Keeneland welcomed many of North America’s most talented riders, which featured such national leaders as Jose Ortiz, Javier Castellano, Mike Smith, Tyler Gaffalione, Julien Leparoux, Florent Geroux, John Velazquez, Luis Saez, Irad Ortiz Jr., Robby Albarado, Shug McGaughey, Corey Lanerie, Drayden Van Dyke, Gabriel Saez, Ricardo Santana Jr., Joe Bravo, Manny Franco and Brian Hernandez Jr.  

Many of the sport’s top trainers also participated, among them Todd Pletcher, Steve Asmussen, Chad Brown, Mike Maker, Mark Casse, Graham Motion, Brad Cox, Wesley Ward, Kenny McPeek, Dale Romans, Rusty Arnold, Jim Cassidy, Eddie Kenneally, Richard Baltas, Neil Drysdale, Ian Wilkes, Joe Sharp, Ignacio Correas IV, D. Wayne Lukas and Nick Zito.

“Thanks to our horsemen for giving fans so many memorable racing moments this fall,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “It was exceptionally fun to watch the next generation – trainers like John Ortiz and Norm Casse and riders like Edgar Morales – enjoy success during the race meet.”

John Ortiz captured the first graded stakes win of his career when Zulu Alpha won Keeneland’s Sycamore (G3). Norm Casse, who recently began training on his own after working as an assistant to his father, Canadian Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse, won three races at Keeneland this fall. Apprentice jockey Edgar Morales accumulated nine wins to rank among the Fall Meet’s leading riders. Jockeys Jarred Journet and C. J. McMahon earned their first Keeneland victories and apprentice Declan Carroll celebrated his first career win during the meet.

Fall Meet Special Events Offer Fun and Philanthropy

In keeping with its mission to support the Central Kentucky community, Keeneland hosted a number of special events during the meet that exemplified its philanthropic goals. 

Keeneland raised more than $130,000 during Make-A-Wish Day on Oct. 11, teaming with local Thoroughbred farms and organizations to grant wishes for 10 deserving children who, along with their families, enjoyed a VIP day at the races. The following day, Keeneland, in partnership with the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, hosted College Scholarship Day, which attracted thousands of students and gave away $30,000 in scholarship money, including two $10,000 Runhappy Scholarships. Jim and Linda McIngvale, owners of champion Runhappy, who stands at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky, presented the Runhappy Scholarships.

On opening Saturday, Oct. 6, Keeneland donated $25,000 to Parkinson’s disease research in honor of Ann Hanley, wife of WinStar Farm General Manager David Hanley. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 49, she founded the Ann Hanley Parkinson’s Research Fund in 2016 to underwrite research into an experimental treatment available only at the University of Kentucky.

Current members of the Keeneland jockey colony joined retired riders for an autograph session on Oct. 7 that raised $6,582 for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. 

Heroes Day Presented by City Barbeque on Oct. 21 recognized the men and women who serve our community. All active-duty and veteran military, first responders and their families received free general admission and lunch courtesy of City Barbeque. A spectacular flag unfurling on the main track by Henry Clay High School’s JROTC followed the day’s third race. Keeneland and City Barbeque partnered to donate $6,000 to benefit the Kentucky State Police Foundation.

Keeneland raised $3,400 this fall in support of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance via the Handicapper of the Day series on its @BetKeeneland Twitter handle. The Handicapper of the Day feature challenges nationally prominent horseplayers to wager over the course of a race day with a bankroll to benefit the organization. The TAA accredits, inspects and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations to retire, retrain and rehome Thoroughbreds.

Fall Meet Leaders

The race for Fall Meet leading owner, trainer and jockey honors went down to closing day.

Ken and Sarah Ramsey won their 21st leading owner title at Keeneland with six wins during the Fall Meet. Eclipse Award winners, the Ramseys are the all-time leading owners at Keeneland by number of races won and meet titles won.

G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and Susan and Jim Hill tied for second in the owner standings with three wins each.

Seven-time Eclipse Award winner Todd Pletcher closed the meet with nine wins to claim his fifth leading trainer title at Keeneland. Pletcher won three races on opening Sunday, led by the Dixiana Bourbon (G3) with Current.

Mike Maker was second with eight wins. Steve Asmussen won seven races to finish third.

Chad Brown won two Grade 1 stakes during the fall: First Lady with A Raving Beauty (GER) and Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane’s End with Rushing Fall. 

Eclipse Award-winning jockeys finished 1-2 in the rider standings. Tyler Gaffalione recorded 15 wins during his first full meet of riding at Keeneland to earn leading rider honors. Gaffalione captured two stakes wins: the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) with Next Shares and the Lexus Raven Run (G2) with Shamrock Rose.

Finishing second with 12 victories was Julien Leparoux, who won the Indian Summer with Strike Silver.

Three riders – Jose Ortiz, Ricardo Santana Jr. and Brian Hernandez Jr. – tied for third place with 10 wins each. 

2018 Fall Meet at a Glance (Oct. 5-27)

 

Fall 2018

Fall 2017

%  Change

All-Sources Handle on Keeneland

$144,309,944

$121,712,702

+18.57%

Avg. Daily All-Sources Handle on Keeneland

$8,488,820

$7,159,571

+18.57%

Total On-Track Handle

$16,419,870

$17,597,035

-6.69%

Avg. Daily On-Track Handle

$965,874

$1,035,120

-6.69%

Total Attendance

241,806

270,555

-10.63%

Avg. Daily Attendance

14,224

15,915

-10.63%