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Turfway meet sees 62% increase in betting

A Turfway Park press release by Kevin Kerstein (Coady photo above Two Phil’s winning the Jeff Ruby)

FLORENCE, Ky. (Monday, April 3, 2023) – Turfway Park Racing & Gaming’s memorable 48-day Winter/Spring Meet concluded Saturday with a massive 62% gain in all-sources handle and 43% increase in purse money awarded.

          In total, more than $145 million was wagered at the Winter/Spring Meet, nearly $56 million more than 2022. Along with the sizable handle increase, the connections who raced at Turfway Park were handsomely rewarded with more than $19 million in prize money, an increase of more than $5.5 million (includes funds from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund). Turfway Park ran nine additional days than 2022 and had an increase of more than 900 starters.

          “The racing season at Turfway Park Racing & Gaming was a huge success across the board,” Turfway Park President Michael Taylor said. “Our team at Turfway Park delivered a competitive racing product while welcoming back fans to our newly renovated facility.”

          Turfway Park’s meet was highlighted by another extraordinary Jeff Ruby Steaks Day and a tremendous performance by Patricia’s Hope and Phil Sagan’s Two Phil’s in the $700,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII). The Jeff Ruby Steaks once again served as a Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series event and Two Phil’s is targeting his next start in the May 6, $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) at Churchill Downs.

          Five-pound apprentice jockey Walter Rodriguez led the standings with 48 victories from 250 starts. Rodriguez’s outstanding meet was highlighted by victories in the $125,000 Dust Commander Stakes and $125,000 Wishing Well Stakes.

          In the trainer standings, Wesley Ward topped all conditioners with 22 wins, seven more than Paulo Lobo and Bill Morey. Among Ward’s 22 victories were from his trainees Eye Witnessin the $250,000 Animal Kingdom Stakes, Sunday Shoes in the $125,000 Serena’s Song Stakes and Funtastic Again in the $125,000 Leonatus Stakes.

          Ward also tied for the leading owner with six wins. However, his client, Roy Jackson’s Lael Stables, broke the tie for the champion owner with the highest earnings of $341,365. Kirk Wycoff’s Three Diamonds Farm also tabbed six victories at the Winter/Spring Meet.

          Bettors enjoyed massive payouts throughout the meet with the average 50-cent Pick 5 returning more than $10,000 and the average Single 6 Jackpot payout returning more than $19,000. The average win payout was a stout $14.85.

“We’re so thankful for all of our owners, trainers, jockeys and horseplayers for their continued support of our racing season,” Turfway Park General Manager Chip Bach said. “Thanks to Churchill Downs Incorporated’s continued investments in Turfway Park’s facility and racing product, we can confidently look forward to a thriving future of horse racing in Florence.”

          Horses will remain stabled at Turfway Park throughout the spring and summer. Racing is set to resume on Wednesday, November 29. 

          For more information about racing and gaming from Turfway Park, visit www.Turfway.com

Jennie Rees is a communications and advocacy specialist in the horse industry who spent 32 years covering horse racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal before taking a corporate buyout. In addition to handling communications for the Kentucky HBPA, Rees is Kentucky Downs’ publicity director, manages in-season racing publicity for Ellis Park and serves as a consultant to the National HBPA. Other projects include the Preakness Stakes, Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby Week and work for various HBPA affiliates and horsemen’s associations.