10/03/2011 3:35PM

Turfway Park handle dips slightly; ontrack betting steady

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All-sources handle was down nearly 4 percent while ontrack handle remained virtually the same versus corresponding 2010 figures at the 16-day fall meet that ended Sunday at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.

All-sources handle grossed nearly $27.2 million, while ontrack handle totaled just more than $1.64 million for an increase of less than 1 percent. Sixteen dates were run both this year and last, with the Kentucky Cup series on Sept. 24 restored after a one-year hiatus.

Turfway president Bob Elliston said in a media release that the small decline in overall handle “feels like a win” because of the sharp handle declines that continue to be posted nationally. Handle in North America declined nearly 12 percent in August.

Field size at the Turfway fall meet declined from 9.8 horses per race to 8.4, while purses averaged more than $139,000 per card, up 28 percent over last year in an increase largely attributable to reviving the Kentucky Cup.

On the racetrack, apprentice Roberto Morales won his first riding title by winning with 32 of his 121 mounts, while Mike Maker was easily the leading trainer with 12 wins from 28 starters. Three entities tied for leading owner.