01/02/2004 12:00AM

Ontrack handle down at Turfway

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Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., reported a 5 percent decrease in ontrack handle and a slight decrease in total handle for the holiday meet that ended Wednesday.

Average ontrack handle fell from just over $333,000 to $315,000, despite uncharacteristically warm weather in the final days of 2003. Offtrack handle rose, pushing average all-sources handle to $3.57 million, down slightly from $3.59 million in 2002. The track does not keep attendance figures.

Purses averaged $138,000, up from $136,000 in 2002, and average field size was approximately 10 starters per race. Low-end claiming and maiden races at Turfway were regularly contested with full fields, although allowance races at Turfway filled with less regularity.

Turfway began its winter-spring meet Jan. 1. It continues until April 1 and is highlighted by the March 20 Lane's End Stakes, a $500,000 prep for the Kentucky Derby.