10/05/2006 11:00PM

Handle jumps from 2005 fall meet


Handle from all sources was up nearly 24 percent at the 22-day Turfway Park fall meet that ended Thursday night, while ontrack handle was up nearly 5 percent at the Florence, Ky., track.

The gross all-sources handle was $58,560,856, averaging $2,661,857 per card, easily surpassing what was handled during an identical number of dates at the 2005 fall meet. Gross ontrack handle was just more than $3 million, for an average of $138,149. The track offers free admission and therefore no longer counts attendance.

Average field size was 8.9 starters per race, a slight increase over the 8.7 average of last fall, while gross purses were $3,577,420, down nearly 9 percent.

This was the second fall meet - and the first for comparison purses - conducted over Polytrack at Turfway. "It seems that any questions the fans have about Polytrack have been answered," said Turfway president Bob Elliston. "We're offering our patrons good betting races with good-sized fields and competitive horses, and that stems directly from horsemen's acceptance of the surface."

On the racetrack, Julien Leparoux won the final race of the meet to break the jockey record for most wins at a fall meet. Leparoux rode Marianas to a head victory, giving him 38 winners and breaking a tie for the record, which was set in 1968 by Glen Brogan. Leparoux, the leading rider in wins in North America this year, has won or tied for the riding title at every Kentucky track where he has ridden in 2006.

Tony Reinstedler was the leading trainer with five wins, including two in stakes - the Turfway Fall Championship with Gouldings Green, and the Kentucky Cup Juvenile with U D Ghetto. The five winners was the lowest for a leading trainer since the top total also was five at the track's first fall meet in 1964.

Four owners tied with just three wins apiece atop that category: Overbrook Farm, Robert Mondun, Lucky Seven Stable, and Melnyk Racing Stables.