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Many Records Fall at Keeneland Spring Meet

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Keeneland concluded its 2013 spring race meeting Friday with a number of records, including all-sources handle, as well as most wins by an owner, trainer and jockey.  

All-sources wagering on Keeneland’s 16-day meeting was a record $158,640,589, with a daily average of $9,915,037, compared to the previous record of $158,368,309 set during the 15-day 2007 spring meeting that averaged $10,557,887 per day.

The construction along US 60/Versailles Road, the main corridor into Keeneland, did not deter fans as the spring meeting also set an attendance record of 278,415 over 16 days, for an average 17,401 per day. This figure bests the previous record of 269,292 set at the 15-day 2012 spring meeting, as well as the previous record for a 16-day spring meeting of 243,606 set in 2008.

Each of Keeneland’s three Saturday cards drew more than 30,000 fans, with Toyota Blue Grass Day, April 13, drawing the second-largest crowd in track history when 37,161 saw Java’s War win the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1). On opening Saturday, April 6, 32,564 patrons watched Emollient win the $500,000 Central Bank Ashland Stakes (G1), and 32,325 were on hand for Winning Cause’s victory in the $200,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (G3) on April 20.

Buoyed by a strong Toyota Blue Grass Day card, Keeneland established spring meet records for Pick Three ($215,478 vs. $212,378 in 2008) and Pick Four ($683,827 vs. $617,685 in 2009) wagering.  Coolmore Lexington Day established the all-time Keeneland record for a Pick Five wager of $653,827, surpassing the previous record of $476,039 set on October 6, 2012.

“This was an amazing meet from so many aspects – wagering, attendance and quality of racing,” Keeneland President & CEO Bill Thomason said. “Our horses, horsemen and jockeys remain second to none, as do our fans.

“We are extremely grateful for the tremendous community support we have seen over the last month,” Thomason continued. “Especially give the construction on Versailles Road, with the outstanding cooperation we received from state and local officials, the project contractor and our patrons, we were able to accommodate all of our fans in and around the facility, even on our biggest days.”

Top Performances
Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, trainer Mike Maker and jockey Joel Rosario joined forces to set records and earn spring meet titles as owner, trainer and jockey, respectively.

The Ramseys’ 25 wins during the spring meet shattered the previous record of 12 wins by an owner during a single race meeting.  The Ramseys won a total of 12 races last fall, which tied Calumet Farm, which achieved that mark in the spring of 1941, and Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Roberts, who won 12 races during the 1968 fall race meeting.

Winners of the Eclipse Award as leading owner in 2011, the Ramseys have earned 12 titles as Keeneland’s leading owner, including a sweep of last year’s spring and fall race meets. They currently rank second behind T.A. Grissom, who leads all owners with 14 meet titles.

The Ramseys’ win in the closing-day Elkhorn Stakes (G2) marked their eighth graded stakes victory, for which they earned a gold tray as part of Keeneland’s signature graded stakes trophy program. Only 17 other owners in Keeneland history have such an accomplishment.  

Leading trainer honors went to Mike Maker, who won 25 races this meet, the most by a trainer in a single Keeneland race meet. The previous record of 22 was set by D. Wayne Lukas in the fall of 1989. It is the second Keeneland training title for Maker, who topped the rankings in the fall of 2008. Maker trained Elkhorn winner Dark Cove.

Wesley Ward finished second in the trainer standings with 10 wins.

Rosario captured the leading rider title during his first full meet at Keeneland, compiling 38 victories to set a record for most wins by a jockey in a spring meet. The previous record of 32 wins was set by Randy Romero in the spring of 1990. Pat Day holds the overall record of 45 wins set during the fall of 1991.

Rosario boosted his spring totals with five-win days on April 18 and April 25, and four-win days on April 7, April 20 and April 24. He won the Beaumont Stakes Presented by Keeneland Select (G2) aboard Ciao Bella Luna, the Appalachian Stakes Presented by Japan Racing Association (G2) with Unbelievable Dream, the Bewitch Stakes (G3) with Strathnaver (GB) and the Elkhorn on Dark Cove.

Julien Leparoux ranked second in the jockey standings with 17 wins, while Rosie Napravnik finished third with 13 victories.

“We’d like to thank our horsemen and the betting public for supporting our meet once again,” said Vice President of Racing Rogers Beasley. “By boosting purses for our overnight races, we were able to attract full fields throughout the meet and draw some of the highest-caliber trainers and stables each and every day.”

The Hill, Special Events and Fan Education

The Hill, Keeneland’s enhanced tailgating experience, which featured food trucks, Bluegrass concerts and a variety of wagering options for fans, was a success, attracting thousands of fans each Saturday of the meet. Several signature events, such as College Scholarship Day on Friday, April 6, and Military Appreciation Day on Sunday, April 21, also drew large numbers of young fans and families to the track.

Keeneland’s new wagering initiatives also proved to be a hit, particularly the addition of roaming Betologists, handicapping experts who were deployed around the facility to answer fans’ betting questions, and the addition of paddock analysis by handicappers Mike Battaglia and Katie Gensler.

“We are committed to giving our more experienced fans the quality racing and top-notch analysis that they have come to expect while educating our newest customers in a way that helps them become lifelong fans,” Thomason said.

 

 

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