12/01/2015 8:52AM

Churchill Downs reports increase in handle for fall meet


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Business was up substantially at the 21-day Churchill Downs fall meet that ended Sunday, according to figures released by the track.

Churchill reported that gross all-sources handle of $104.6 million was up 10 percent over comparable figures from the 2014 fall meet despite the track having run three fewer dates this fall. Daily all-sources handle averaged $4,982,238, up nearly 26 percent.

In a media release, officials attributed the increase to “large and competitive fields, a strong stakes program and favorable weather.” Field size averaged 9.4 horses per race compared to 8.56 last fall.

Purses also were up dramatically. The gross payout was nearly $9.9 million, with a per-race average (223 races) of $44,315, up nearly 29 percent over last fall, when 250 races were run. Churchill Downs did not report ontrack handle for the meet.

Churchill reported that average daily attendance of 4,928 was up nearly 4 percent from last year.

It is unusual for tracks owned by Churchill Downs Inc. to make meet handle figures public. Churchill provided no reason why it released figures for this meet.

On the racetrack, Corey Lanerie (33 wins) was the leading jockey for the 10th time in the last 11 Churchill meets; Ken and Sarah Ramsey (9 wins) extended their own record for most owner titles at Churchill to 25; and Steve Asmussen (13 wins) was leading trainer for a record 17th time.