The 2012 Live Race Meet Recap

Kentucky Downs 2012 Live Race Meet Its “Best and Biggest Ever”

Kentucky Downs established new benchmarks for on-track and all sources handle during its biggest and best live race meet ever in 2012 while hosting some of the highest quality racing the track has seen in recent memory.

Total handle from all sources for Kentucky Downs 2012 live race meet was $7,570,730 – a 108.8 percent increase over total handle for the 2011 meet of $3,675,454. And while the 2012 handle figure benefitted from a fifth day of racing this year as compared to a four-day meet in 2011, Kentucky Downs’ daily average handle of $1,514,146 represented a 64.8 percent increase over daily average handle last year.

On-track wagering on live races during the meet increased by 40.5 percent from 2011 to 2012 ($313, 561 in 2011, $550,757 in 2012). And through September 18, Kentucky Downs’ total simulcast import handle for the first 18 days of September had increased by 13 percent over the same period in September 2011.

“At the end of last year’s live race meet, we made a commitment to the Kentucky horse racing industry to bring great turf racing back to Kentucky Downs in 2012,” said Corey Johnsen, Kentucky Downs president. “Instant Racing enabled us to increase purses dramatically, and the fans, with their enthusiasm and their wagers, proved they’re eager to support quality racing.”

While Kentucky Downs lost one day of racing due to inclement weather on Monday, September 17, its 2012 live race meet offered a total purse structure of nearly $2.5 million. Johnson credited the lucrative purses as a key to attracting outstanding horses to the meet, who, in turn, attracted fans and stimulated interest. The track also lowered its takeout, or cost of betting, on all wagers. All of those factors, Johnsen said, contributed to the success of the meet.

“This season has been very encouraging,” Johnsen said. “I’ve heard from horsemen and longtime fans that they’ve never seen so much activity here or such good racing. I think that all bodes well for Kentucky Downs moving forward into the future.”

On the track, Brian Hernandez, Jr. tallied two wins on Kentucky Downs’ closing day card to capture the leading rider title with seven wins. Corey Lanerie finished the meet with six trips to the winners circle while Kent Desormeaux had four winners and was in the money with six of his seven mounts in the meet.

Rusty Arnold was the leading trainer at the meet with three wins, edging out two-race winning trainers Wesley Ward, Chuck Peery and Jimmy Corrigan. A total of 38 other trainers sent out winning horses in the 43 races on the one-of-a-kind European style turf course during the 2012 live meet.

Kentucky Downs offered seven stakes races in 2012 that included some of the best performances of the meet. Graded stakes winners Ioya Bigtime and Raystrada, took their confrontation down to the wire in the Grade III, $200,000 Kentucky Turf Cup, with Ioya Bigtime winning narrowly. After an overwhelming rally, Miz Ida emerged as a genuine star from the Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf. And after consecutive record-setting stakes victories at Charles Town and Ellis Park, Good Lord proved he could win on grass, too, by taking the Kentucky Cup Turf Dash.

Oscar Party and Ruler of Love won Kentucky Downs’ juvenile stakes races, marking themselves as horses of significant potential. And Claiborne Farm’s Console, in a dazzling debut victory, announced his arrival on the scene.

“Our racing was outstanding and our handle results exceeded our expectations,” said Johnsen. “We hosted some truly great turf racing in 2012 and we can’t wait for our next live meet to begin in 2013.”



Wagering Summary




Live Racing Days 5 4
On-Track Handle $550,757 $311,561
Off-Track Handle $7,019,974 $3,361,893
Total Handle $7,570,730 $3,675,454
Average Starters Per Race 9.6 8.8

Leading Jockeys






Brian Hernandez, Jr. 27 7 4 3

Corey Lanerie

33 6 4 3
Kent Desormeaux 7 4 1 1
Victor Lebron 29 4 3 5
Calvin Borel 19 3 3 2
Matthew Straight 20 3 1 1

Leading Trainers

Rusty Arnold — 3 Wins
Wesley Ward, Chuck Peery, Jimmy Corrigan – 2 Wins Each