04/06/2015 11:47AM

Decent start at Keeneland despite soggy weather

Keeneland/Coady Photography
The final four races were canceled on Friday at Keeneland because of drastic weather conditions.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Even with the last four races canceled Friday because of drastic weather conditions, all-sources wagering for the first two days of the Keeneland meet was barely down in comparison to the same two days at the 2014 spring meet.

On 17 races, Keeneland handled $20,161,278, down just 1.5 percent from last year, when 20 races were run. Combined ontrack handle of $2,467,740 was down 16 percent, while attendance was down 20 percent, with only 12,527 turning out Friday amid nasty conditions and 26,357 here Saturday.

Aside from the weather and cancellation, there were other mitigating factors, including this being the first time the Blue Grass Stakes has been run on opening weekend; the appearance of the Kentucky Wildcats in the NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis; and this being the first spring meet in nine years with dirt racing.

The cancellation is believed to be the most extensive in track history. Retired longtime publicity director Jim Williams was on hand Saturday and said he recalled “one race” having been canceled years ago because of an electrical problem, “but that’s the only time I can remember.”

Two of the four canceled races are back Wednesday (races 3 and 6), while the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes will be made up April 15. A $10,000 claiming sprint that was canceled also will be made up this week, racing secretary Ben Huffman said.