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Keeneland Fall Meet Closes With Record Attendance And Handle

Keeneland logo (Keeneland)
Keeneland logo (Keeneland)
Reported by: Tom Kenny
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Updated: 10/26/2013 9:01 pm

Keeneland ended its fall race meet on Saturday with record attendance and all-sources wagering on Keeneland for its 17-day season.

The fall meet also featured two other historic events: Jockey Rosie Napravnik won 17 races to become the first female to capture the leading rider title at Keeneland, and Ken and Sarah Ramsey earned their 13th leading owner title after winning 17 races, a fall meet record.

Keeneland set attendance records for the fourth consecutive race meet. On-track attendance totaled a record 266,466, up 2.60 percent over 2012’s fall record of 259,710.  Average daily attendance of 15,674 rose 2.60 percent over 15,277 last year.

“Our attendance growth is a true testament to our fan base and their appreciation of great racing,” President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “Despite record rainfall on opening Fall Stars weekend, and earlier than normal cold temperatures, our fans still turned out in record numbers.”

Back-to-back single-day attendance records resulted in a record fall weekend crowd.

On See Blue Day, Friday, Oct. 11, attendance of 22,807 was the highest recorded for a Friday during the fall meet.

Attendance of 32,717 on Saturday, Oct. 12, set a single-day fall meet record, eclipsing the previous record of 28,880 set on Oct. 7, 2006. (Oct. 12 featured the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup-G1 and a night football game between the University of Kentucky and defending national champion University of Alabama.)

Those two days, combined with a Sunday turnout of 16,927, resulted in a record fall weekend attendance of 72,451.

Top-quality, competitive racing, with race field size averaging 9.85 starters per race, helped drive record growth in all-sources wagering on Keeneland’s fall meet.

All-sources wagering on Keeneland was a fall meet record $139,660,179, up 1.22 percent compared to the previous record of $137,981,281 set in 2012. Average daily all-sources handle of $8,215,305 also rose 1.22 percent over last fall’s $8,116,546.

On-track handle of $18,173,355 increased slightly over $18,160,018 in 2012.

“Racing was spectacular this fall,” Keeneland Director of Racing W. B. Rogers Beasley said. “Two points in particular speak to its quality. First, many of our races were oversubscribed with entries; handicappers love full fields of quality horses. Second, 30 horses that raced here this fall are running in next weekend’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships. We want to thank our horsemen and riders, who continue to show us great support.”

Fall Meet Leaders

Boosted by a four-win day on Friday, Oct. 25, jockey Rosie Napravnik won 17 races to earn her first Keeneland riding title. She is the first female rider to win the title at Keeneland. Napravnik ranks fifth among leading riders in North America this year with 225 wins and $11,613,422 in mount earnings.

Joe Rocco Jr. and Alan Garcia tied for second in the standings with 11 wins each.

Ken and Sarah Ramsey continued their record-breaking pace, winning 17 races to establish a Keeneland fall meet record for most victories by an owner. The previous fall meet record of 12 wins was shared by the Ramseys (2012) and Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Roberts (1968). The Ramseys count three stakes among their record wins: the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) with We Miss Artie; Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) with Kitten’s Dumplings; and JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) with Kitten Kaboodle.

The title marks the Ramseys’ fourth consecutive Keeneland leading owner honor, and 13th overall, ranking them just one shy of T.A. Grissom’s record 14 meet titles. They have won or shared six spring meet owner titles (2004, 2006, 2010-13) and seven fall meet titles (2000, 2002, 2007-09, 2012-13).

Eclipse Award recipients as outstanding owners in 2004 and 2011, the Ramseys rank atop the nation’s leading owner standings by earnings with $10,901,748. 

Michael Maker earned his second consecutive Keeneland leading trainer title, and third overall, this fall when his 17 wins more than doubled those of his competitors. Maker won the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup with Kitten’s Dumplings.

Maker is the fifth-leading trainer in North America this year with 191 wins and ranks seventh by earnings with $7,488,429.

H. Graham Motion and Wesley Ward tied for second with eight wins each. 

 

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