09/26/2013 11:52AM

Kentucky Downs handle, purses soar at five-day meet


Kentucky Downs ended its five-day meet Wednesday with records across the board, both in business and on its turf-only track.

Horseplayers showed their enthusiasm for the big fields and purses offered this fall at Kentucky Downs, with all-sources wagering surging past $12.8 million, an increase of nearly 70 percent over 2012. Handle on the 13-race Wednesday finale alone was $3,371,476, an all-time single-day record for the south-central Kentucky track and more than double what was handled on the corresponding date last year.

Kentucky Downs paid out more than $4.1 million in purses, or more than $820,000 per day and more than double what was paid out during a five-day meet in 2012. The purses were fueled in large part by the Instant Racing video machines that have been operational at the facility for two years. Field size for the 50-race meet was 9.96 horses per race, and takeout ranged from 14 to 19 percent on exotic wagers.

“We were proud to offer quality racing with a low takeout, and horseplayers responded with record handle,” track president Corey Johnsen said in a media release. “We had top-quality horses, trainers and jockeys from all over the country.”

Ontrack handle for the five days totaled $645,343, up 17 percent.

On the racetrack, trainer Wayne Catalano and one of his main clients, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, enjoyed sensational meets. Catalano won with a remarkable 10 of 15 starters, easily a record for wins, while the Ramseys won with nine of their runners (from 25 starters), also a record. The leading jockey was Rosie Napravnik with eight wins.

For the Ramseys, it was the fifth track where they have been leading owners in 2013, following meets at Gulfstream Park, Keeneland, Churchill Downs, and Saratoga.