04/30/2011 7:05AM

Keeneland: Despite weather, business strong at spring meet

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Despite a season impacted by near-constant rain, Keeneland posted strong attendance and handle figures for the meeting that ended Friday, the track announced.

Ontrack attendance for the 15-day meet was 241,684, the third-best for a spring meeting and an increase from last year's 238,282.

Handle was strong. Ontrack, it totaled $18,473,700, an average of $1,231,580 per day, and an increase of 3 percent from last year's $17,906,359.

All-sources handle for the meet on Keeneland's races totaled $117,225,845 compared to last year's $107,858,516, an increase of 9 percent.

“If it were possible to chart adverse weather with all the race meet statistics, this would be one of the top Keeneland meets ever," Nick Nicholson, the track's president and chief executive, said in a release.

Keeneland was slammed by nearly 13 inches of rain during the course of the meet. Nicholson credited Keeneland's Polytrack surface with keeping fields intact.

“Synthetic surfaces are known as all-weather surfaces in Europe and ours certainly lived up to that moniker this spring,” he said.

Julien Leparoux was the leading rider, with 19 wins, his fourth title at a spring meeting. Ken McPeek led the trainer standings with 14 wins to earn his first spring title. Ken and Sarah Ramsey were the leading owners with 10 wins.