08/24/2016 8:56AM

Picklesimer getting ready for the rush at Kentucky Downs

Ryan Thompson/Kentucky Downs
Kentucky Downs will host 12 stakes races through its five-day meet.

If a jockey can only ride as fast as his mount can run, well, a racing secretary might only be as effective as the purses he can offer.

That might make Tyler Picklesimer the best racing secretary in the world these days. Picklesimer is overseeing the upcoming five-day meet at Kentucky Downs, where purses once again have horsemen and fans wondering if they can believe what they see.

Maiden races at the turf-only track in south-central Kentucky are worth as much as $130,000, and allowances range from $140,000 to $145,000. Along with a program of 12 stakes, total purses are being projected at a whopping $7.8 million, including Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund bonuses for Kentucky-breds.

“This isn’t something you get to do every day,” said Picklesimer.

The meet opens a week from Saturday (Sept. 3), when action will go dark at Ellis Park to avoid an overlap. Ensuing dates are Sept. 8, 10, 11, and 15.

Entries for opening day will be taken Wednesday, and Picklesimer expects his staff “won’t be able to hang up the phone.”

“It’ll be insane,” he said. “We’ll get like 40 horses entered in a maiden race. We’ve already gotten calls from trainers all over the map. Mark Casse told me he’s got a horse for every race on opening day.”

The four opening-day stakes each offer a $350,000 purse (including $200,000 from the KTDF): the Kentucky Downs Juvenile, Juvenile Fillies, Ladies Turf, and Turf Sprint. The richest day comes the following Saturday, Sept. 10, with four stakes worth a total of $1.5 million, led by the lone graded race of the meet, the Grade 3, $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup.

The vast majority of purse money is accrued through “historical racing,” the slots-like machines that first became operational at the track in late 2011. For context, purses at the 30-race Kentucky Downs meet that fall totaled less than $750,000.