Turfway Park delivered positive results in wagering and average field size during its 13-day Holiday Meet, which wrapped up a five-week run Dec. 31.
Despite three fewer race dates than in 2019, all-sources wagering at Turfway Park soared to $32.3 million, up $8.3 million, or 34.6 percent, from last year’s $24.0 million. The average daily handle jumped 65.6 percent from $1.5 million in 2019 to $2.48 million in 2020.
The average starters per race grew from 10.3 horses in 2019 to a strong 10.5 this year, which produced highly competitive racing over the track’s new Tapeta synthetic surface, which was installed during the summer of 2020. The surface has received positive reviews from horsemen and jockeys alike and has proven to be a fair and rewarding surface for horseplayers.
Holiday Meet leaders
Gerardo Corrales (53: 15-8-4—$226,928), who has ridden in the U.S. since 2015 after graduating from the Laffit Pincay Jockey Training Academy in his native Panama, earned his first Turfway Park riding title with 15 wins, four more than runner-up Albin Jimenez (56: 11-9-4—$199,469). They were followed in the jockey standings by top money-earner Rafael Bejarano (60: 10-14-10—$234,511), Chris Landeros (42: 9-8-6—$219,045) and Santiago Gonzalez (35: 7-5-2—$100,949).
Bill Morey (21: 6-3-2—$127,900), who relocated to Kentucky from California last year, was the top trainer with six wins — one more than Wesley Ward (20:5-3-2—$101,169) — and led all trainers in money won. There was a five-way tie for third between Mike Maker (37: 4-5-5—$97,508), Kenny McPeek (11: 4-2-0—$78,879), Brad Cox (11: 4-0-2—$78,430), Genaro Garcia (19: 4-2-1—$58,045) and John Ortiz (11: 4-0-0—$42,844).
Ten owners had two winners, including top money earner Gladys Campos’ Campos Family Ventures LLC (8: 2-3-0—$44,785).
Two horses won twice during the five-week stand: Prairie Bayou Stakes winner Set Piece (GB) (2: 2-0-0—$41,740) and low-level claimer Drink (2: 2-0-0—$12,600).
2021 Winter/Spring Meet
The Winter/Spring Meet at Turfway Park began Jan. 1 and will continue through March 28. Racing is conducted on a Thursday-Saturday schedule, although there is a special Wednesday, Jan. 6, program.
The first race is 6:15 p.m. ET, and most programs feature eight races. All Turfway Park races can be watched and wagered on TwinSpires.com.
Kentucky Derby, Oaks points on the line
With increased interest by Kentucky horsemen and Churchill Downs Inc.’s investment and redevelopment of Turfway Park to enhance winter/spring racing on the Kentucky circuit, Turfway Park’s Winter/Spring Meet features a nine-race, $1.045 million stakes schedule, including four stakes that will offer points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Road to the Kentucky Oaks.
The Grade 3, $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles has been repositioned to Saturday, March 27, and will offer 170 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby (points for top four finishers: 100-40-20-10). Additionally, the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial at 1 1/16 miles on Friday, Feb. 26, has been added as a “Prep Season” race (10-4-2-1).
The $150,000 Boubonette Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on March 27 will feature 85 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks (50-20-10-5) and its prep race, the $65,000 Cincinnati Trophy at 6 1/2 furlongs on Friday, Feb. 26, will be worth 17 points (10-4-2-1).
As was the case during the Holiday Meet, Turfway Park’s wagering menu will feature a 15 percent takeout 50-cent Pick 5 that starts in Race 1 each night as well as the 15 percent takeout 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot on Races 3-8. There are two 14 percent takeout 50-cent Pick 4 sequences on each card, with the first offered on Races 2-5 and the second on Races 5-8.