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Keeneland concludes Spring Meet, counting robust attendance, outstanding wagering, special events

Keeneland concluded its 2019 Spring Meet on Friday with robust attendance and wagering results driven by outstanding racing with full fields of top-quality horses.

The Spring Meet also featured distinctive special events to benefit the local community and horse industry as well as enhanced food and hospitality offerings. 
For the first time in 60 years, Keeneland opened its Spring Meet on a Thursday, a day earlier than usual, with a special celebration featuring a 3 p.m. post time, the inaugural Palisades Turf Sprint and the popular Central Bank Thursday Night Live, held for the first time at Keeneland.

Photo from Keenland Facebook page

On-track attendance for the 16-day meet, held April 4-26, totaled 242,547 compared with 250,475 recorded during last year’s 16-day Spring Meet. Keeneland was closed Easter Sunday, which fell on April 21. Average daily attendance of 15,159 was just shy of last year’s 15,655.

Keeneland showcased blockbuster days of racing featuring multiple graded stakes on the first two Saturdays of the meet that, when coupled with warm spring weather, attracted crowds in excess of 34,000 people. The 34,775 fans that enjoyed Toyota Blue Grass Day, April 6, marked a record opening Saturday crowd.

The following Saturday, April 13, Keeneland welcomed 34,527 people to celebrate Coolmore Jenny Wiley Day.

On-track attendance was among a number of records shattered at Keeneland on Toyota Blue Grass Day. Single-day all-sources handle for the 11-race card totaled $25,809,200, eclipsing the previous record of $22,634,861 set last year on Toyota Blue Grass Day. The All-Stakes Pick Five handled $1,079,197, well above the former record of $899,196 set on the same day in 2018. The single-race exacta pool totaled a record $1,300,591, and the single-race win-place-show pool was a record $2,068,406. The daily double pool that day was a record $249,934.

“The extraordinary support and sense of pride the Central Kentucky community demonstrates time and again for Keeneland are truly gratifying,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “Keeneland’s success is a team effort with contributions from horsemen, sponsors, media partners, local businesses and hospitality, staff, and most of all, our loyal fans. They are the reason we strive to create the most memorable racing experiences possible for each of our guests.”

All-sources wagering on Keeneland racing totaled $153,116,119, down 2.58 percent from last spring’s $157,172,604. Average daily all-sources wagering was $9,569,757 versus $9,823,288 in 2018.

On-track wagering this spring was $16,490,636, down 5.54 percent from last year’s $17,457,750. Average daily on-track handle was $1,030,665 versus $1,091,109 last year.

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