04/26/2016 10:06AM

Kentucky Downs purses top $1.5 million a day


Kentucky Downs, the all-turf racetrack in Franklin, Ky., will distribute $1.56 million a day in purses during its five-day meet this year, far surpassing any other racetrack’s average purse distribution, the track announced on Tuesday.

Total purse distribution this year will be $7.8 million, up from $7.15 million last year, according to the track. Kentucky Downs generates funds for purses year round from hundreds of gambling terminals located at the track that closely resemble slot machines, as well as from simulcasting operations.

According to a condition book distributed by the track, maiden special weight races will offer $130,000 each when including rich supplements from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund, which distributes bonus money to Kentucky-bred horses. Allowance races will top out at $145,000, when including the KTDF supplements.

Kentucky Downs is scheduled to race on Sept. 3, 8, 10, 11, and 15. The track had requested seven race dates this year, but faced opposition from Churchill Downs, which also races in September. The two tracks reached an agreement on September race dates at the urging of the Kentucky Racing Commission.

Stakes purses during the meet will total $3.95 million, or roughly half of the total purse distribution. The richest stakes will be the $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup, anchoring a Sept. 10 card which will include three other stakes with total purses of $1.5 million.

The Kentucky Downs meet has generated positive reviews from horseplayers due to the track’s full fields and relatively low takeout. Last year, field size at the track was 10.6 horses per race.

Kentucky Downs also announced that it will contribute $1.35 million toward purses at Ellis Park, the Henderson, Ky., track which races from July to early September.