11/16/2010 4:16PM

Turfway Park reduces overnight purses


Turfway Park has trimmed overnight purses for the upcoming four months of racing at the Florence, Ky., track as a means of maintaining the integrity of its traditional stakes schedule.

Turfway ran only one stakes at its 16-day fall meet, canceling several other stakes, including the once-prestigious Kentucky Cup series for the first time since its 1994 inaugural. The decision to trim overnight purses was “prudent, given the circumstances,” said the track’s president, Bob Elliston. “It’s important to have a stakes schedule.”

Purses for maiden special weight races, including bonuses from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund, have gone from $21,000 to $20,000, and $5,000 claiming races from $8,000 to $7,000. Elliston said projected per-day purse payouts, including stakes, will remain at a little more than $100,000.

Turfway will run its holiday meet from Dec. 2-31 on a four-day-a-week basis instead of five, with four stakes to be run during that time. The weekly schedule for the 2011 winter-spring meet, which runs Jan. 1 to April 3, will be four days in January and three in February and March.

Perhaps more than any other Kentucky track, Turfway has struggled mightily in recent years in the face of increasing competition for the gambling dollar from riverboat casinos in neighboring Indiana and the proliferation of slots-fueled purses in other racing states.