10/08/2004 12:00AM

Turfway handle steady


Turfway Park's all-sources handle at the 22-day fall meet that ended Thursday remained nearly the same as last year's, but ontrack wagering decreased 10 percent.

Handle from all sources at the Florence, Ky., track grossed more than $53.7 million, an increase of less than 1 percent over the corresponding dates in 2003. Daily average handle from all sources exceeded $2.4 million.

Ontrack wagering totaled a mere $2,940,629, for an average of $133,665 (Turfway offers free admission and no longer counts attendance). Track officials attributed the downturn to continued intense competition from nearby gambling sites and to a reduction in average field size to 8.5 horses. Daily purses averaged $176,270, down nearly 5 percent.

Rafael Bejarano was the leading jockey with 35 wins, while Bob Holthus, with 9 wins from just 20 starts, was the leading trainer.