10/03/2008 12:00AM

Turfway handle drops sharply

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In line with many other North American tracks, handle at the Turfway Park fall meet that ended Thursday night was down substantially, with all-sources handle falling 20 percent from the comparable meet in 2007.

All-sources wagering for the 22-day meet was nearly $42.6 million, down from $53.4 million during last year's meet of the same length. Ontrack wagering totaled $2,642,594, averaging barely more than $100,000 per card. Admission totals are not kept.

The 2008 meet included eight fewer races than 2007 because the Sunday, Sept. 14, program was canceled after two races.

Turfway, in Florence, Ky., follows the likes of Churchill Downs, Saratoga, Del Mar, and Arlington Park, all of which have seen handle decline this year.

Officials declined to release full figures for the meet highlight, the 12-race Kentucky Cup series on Sept. 27, other than to say business was down from prior years.

On the racetrack, Brian Hernandez Jr. nipped Otto Thorwarth by a 19-18 win count atop the jockey standings, while Mike Maker led trainers with seven wins, one more than Steve Margolis.