Churchill Downs 21-Day Fall Meet Still Strong Despite Weather
Churchill Downs 21-day Fall Meet started with damp and windy weather, and concluded with a total of 20 races transferred from the Matt Winn Turf Course to the main track. That caused a fairly significant amount of scratches during the meet, but the purses for the recently concluded meet Nov. 26 rose to $10,499,144 – an increase of 4.3 percent from total purses of $10,066,716 paid during the same number of days of Fall Meet racing in 2016. The average purse for a 2017 Fall Meet race was $47,507 – a 4.3 percent increase from the previous Fall Meet’s average of $45,551. Average daily purses during the 2017 Fall Meet rose to $499,959 – a 4.3 percent increase from the 2016 average of $479,367.
A total of eight race days had all the scheduled turf races transferred to the main track and two other days when one or two scheduled turf races were moved to the main track. But despite a significant number of scratches, the average field for the Fall Meet was still 8.9 horses; just below the 9.0 horses-per-race during last year’s Fall Meet.
It was a busy meet at the Churchill Downs claim box as 187 horses were claimed over its 21 days for a total of $3,892,500. The claiming activity resulted in $233,550 in sales tax revenue for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. For the year, a total of 472 horses were claimed during Churchill Downs’ three racing meets for a total of $9,438,500. Sales tax revenue for the year totaled $566,310.
The final Saturday card of the meet highlighted the second of the meet’s popular ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ programs devoted exclusively to racing among rising juvenile stars. The 12-race card featured the Kentucky Jockey Club and the race was most memorable when Enticed nosed out Tiz Mischief to pick up 10 Kentucky Derby points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
“With large numbers of promising 2-year-olds on display, our Fall Meet is always focused on the future. But the visible progress of our construction efforts and the launch of the countdown to next year’s return of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships heightened the anticipation and excitement displayed during in our just-concluded meet, and we join our fans, horsemen, jockeys and residents throughout our region in looking forward to a most exciting 2018.”
Churchill Downs will conduct three racing meets in 2018, and its 38-day Spring Meet will be conducted from April 28-June 30. The 144th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 5 with the $1 million Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 4.
The Breeders’ Cup World Championships will return to Churchill Downs in 2018 for a record-equaling ninth time. The event was most recently held at Churchill Downs in back-to-back renewals in 2010-11.