Keeneland Fall Meet wraps up with lower numbers than last year
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- Keeneland closed a memorable 2015 Fall Meet on Saturday, one that showcased 17 days of world-class Thoroughbred racing, featured the sport’s leading trainers and jockeys, and was conducted in a unique setting as the track prepares to host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for the first time on Oct. 30-31.
Though Saturday marks the conclusion of Keeneland’s Fall Meet, held Oct. 2-24, it is the beginning of an exciting Breeders’ Cup Week at the storied race track. Racing will resume on Thursday, Oct. 29, as Keeneland hosts Prelude to the Cup, a special day of racing on the eve of the Breeders’ Cup. On Sunday through Wednesday, Oct. 25-28, fans are invited to watch the Breeders’ Cup horses during morning training at Breakfast at the Breeders’ Cup.
During the Fall Meet, fans took advantage of the spectacular racing, unique seating and dining venues such as the Grandstand Loge Boxes and Club Lawn Chalet that were constructed for Breeders’ Cup, and unseasonably warm weather. On-track attendance totaled 240,709 compared with last fall’s 251,574. Average daily attendance was 14,159 versus 14,798 in 2014.
“The high level of racing, the idyllic fall weather and the anticipation of Breeders’ Cup made this a very special Fall Meet for Keeneland, our horsemen and the entire Central Kentucky community,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “We truly appreciate the support of our great fans and the enthusiasm they show for Keeneland and for horse racing throughout the year.”
Keeneland hosted more than 23,000 fans on consecutive Saturdays during the Fall Meet, Oct. 10 and Oct. 17, and nearly 20,000 on see Blue. Day, Friday, Oct. 16. In addition to the outstanding racing, fans enjoyed a full calendar of popular special events highlighted by College Scholarship Day; Make A Wish Day, during which local Thoroughbred farms teamed with Keeneland to grant wishes for nine deserving children; Heroes Day, which honored active and veteran military members and first responders; and several Keeneland/University of Kentucky football “doubles” that allowed fans to go to the races in the afternoon and football games in the evening. Fans turned out on opening Saturday, Oct. 3, to recognize two-time Horse of the Year and recently retired Wise Dan, winner of a record seven Keeneland stakes races, as he was paraded in the Paddock and before the Grandstand.
On-track wagering for the Fall Meet totaled $15,813,986 compared to last fall’s $17,625,834. Average daily on-track wagering was $930,234 against $1,036,814 in 2014. All-sources wagering on Keeneland totaled $119,051,901 versus last year’s $122,844,887.
Many of North America’s leading riders were part of the Keeneland jockey colony during the season, among them Javier Castellano, Irad Ortiz Jr., John Velazquez, Jose Lezcano, Junior Alvarado, Julien Leparoux, Florent Geroux, Edgar Prado and Corey Lanerie. Prado won four stakes during the Fall Meet, while Leparoux recorded three stakes victories.
“The competition among these major jockeys and trainers for meet-leading honors is as exciting as the racing itself,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing W.B. Rogers Beasley said. “We extend our thanks to all of our horsemen for making this Fall Meet an exciting one.”