LEXINGTON, Ky. — Bolstered by strong community support and highlighted by championship-caliber racing, idyllic fall weather and special events aimed at benefiting the Central Kentucky region, Keeneland closed its 2019 fall meet Saturday with significant increases in on-track attendance and record all-sources wagering.
“We remain humbled by the depth of support from our fans, our horsemen and our sponsors,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “The combination this fall of lovely weather and community engagement through events such as Make-A-Wish Day and Heroes Day helped to showcase the best of Central Kentucky.”
Enhanced by warm, sunny weather and three days when crowds exceeded 24,000 people, total on-track attendance for the 17-day meet, held Oct. 4-26, rose 8.61 percent from 241,806 in the fall of 2018 to 262,630. Average daily attendance was 15,449 compared to 14,224 last year.
Full fields of quality horses drove all-sources wagering on live racing at Keeneland (not including whole-card simulcasting at Keeneland) to $160,207,916, surpassing the previous record of $158,640,591 set during the 2013 spring meet. Total wagering was up 11.02 percent over last fall’s $144,309,944.
Total on-track wagering of $17,320,852 outpaced last fall’s $16,419,870 by 5.49 percent. Average daily on-track handle was $1,018,873 versus $965,874 in the fall of 2018.
Keeneland established single-day fall meet all-sources and Pick 5 wagering records on Fall Stars Saturday, Oct. 5. All-sources handle totaled $18,392,756, eclipsing the previous record of $17,122,465. Wagering on the $300,000-guaranteed All-Stakes Pick 5 totaled $794,689 to best the former record of $715,555.
A string of upsets in the Late Pick 5 at Keeneland on Saturday, Oct. 19, resulted in a big payoff for one lucky player, with a single ticket paying a record $308,872. The previous Pick 5 record payout at Keeneland was $266,430 from Oct. 11, 2012.