09/08/2009 12:00AM

Cradle card handle takes hit


Ontrack handle on the Labor Day card at River Downs, which includes the meet's premier race, the $200,000 Cradle Stakes, was down 29 percent from last year.

Two factors were seen as primary contributors to the decline. A speech by President Obama's at the AFL-CIO picnic adjacent to the track caused traffic problems, and the Cradle was taken off the turf 90 minutes before it was run.

"Our first race is at 1:20," said the track's general manager, Jack Hannesian, "and they shut the entire road in front of our facility from 12:30 to 1, and then again for 20 minutes at 2, there was absolutely no way to get here."

Last year River Downs handled $802,900 on its card from all sources and this year $660,139 was wagered, a drop of 18 percent, according to Dave Basler, executive director of the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

The Cradle handled $108,656 on Monday, a drop of 30 percent from last year's $154,228.656