07/05/2016 10:20AM

Churchill enjoys increase in betting during spring meet


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – All-sources handle on Churchill Downs races this spring was up 3.8 percent over comparable 2015 dates, according to figures released Tuesday by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Gross handle from all sources at the meet, which ended Saturday, was $392,200,551, up slightly over the $377.9 million wagered here last spring. The daily average was $10,321,067. Both the 2015 and 2016 meets ran 38 dates.

Purses were increased midway through the meet and wound up averaging $563,094, up 4 percent from last spring. The total purse payout was nearly $21.4 million. In early June, Churchill officials said the purse increase was attributable to a surge in business during the opening six days of the meet, including the 142nd Kentucky Derby and Oaks, when all-sources wagering was a record $266.8 million.

Field size averaged 8.08 horses per race, up from 7.78 last spring. There were 210 claims for more than $4.3 million, resulting in $259,620 in taxes for the state of Kentucky.

On the racetrack, Mark Casse won the training title by sending out 21 winners, two more than Mike Maker. Corey Lanerie (52 wins) was the leading jockey for the 11th time in the past 12 Churchill meets, while Ken and Sarah Ramsey (13 wins) were the leading owners for a record 26th time.

This was the first of three 2016 meets at Churchill. The September meet runs Sept. 16 to Oct. 2 and the fall meet from Oct. 30 to Nov. 27.