01/29/2016 4:26PM

Turfway alters Sunday schedule


Beginning Sunday, Turfway Park in Florence, Ky. will alter its regular Sunday post time from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern, while reducing its Sunday programs from nine races to seven.

The change comes in response to slow business on Sundays for the track, Turfway Park general manager Chip Bach said. TVG1 carries Turfway’s races on Fridays and Saturdays, but not on Sundays, giving the track less national exposure that day.

The track will make up the two eliminated Sunday races each week by adding a race on Friday and Saturday, going from nine to 10 races per evening. Thursday nights will continue to have nine races. All nighttime cards at Turfway begin at 6:15.

Turfway races at night because there is less competition for off-track betting dollars than during the day. On Sundays, Turfway faces competition during the day from tracks offering better-quality racing.

Bach said handle is down in 2016 relative to 2015, though he noted the track was markedly up in business in 2015.

Turfway is averaging 9.26 starters per race this year, slightly above its pace from Jan. 1-28 of 2015, when it averaged 9.15 starters a race. Low-level claimers and maiden claimers typically make up the bulk of its cards. The average purse in 2016 is $10,455, compared to $12,326 over the same time period in 2015.

Higher-class races are coming in February, with the Feb. 13 Cincinnati Trophy and Feb. 20 WEBN Stakes kicking off Turfway’s 3-year-old stakes series. The track’s two graded stakes, the Grade 3 Bourbonette and Grade 3 Spiral, both will be run on April 2. The Bourbonette is for 3-year-old fillies, and the Spiral is for 3-year-olds. The Spiral is Turfway’s richest race at $500,000 and serves as a Kentucky Derby prep.

Turfway’s meet continues until April 3 before racing in Kentucky makes its traditional shift to Keeneland, which opens on Friday, April 8.