The Day at the Races
Friday's figures: On-track attendance, 13,789; on-track betting, $1,366,56.20; total betting including simulcast, $7,530,007.18.
This day last year: On-track attendance, 15,391; on-track betting, $1,526,159; total betting including simulcast, $9,931,007.
Coming up: Five graded stakes including three Grade I contests are on tap for Saturday's card. Two-time defending Horse of the Year Wise Dan will be starting in the Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile for the fourth straight year, having won the race in 2012 and run second to Silver Max last year, when the contest came off the turf due to heavy rains.
WinStar Farm and Rosie Napravnik officially ushered in the return of the dirt era at Keeneland, taking the opening race on Friday with 7-2 shot Race Day.
With rain soaking the area Friday morning, reviews of the new main track were somewhat mixed after the day's first race.
"Honestly, I can't say the track is very good at this point," Napravnik said after the first race. "Maybe it wasn't ready to be opened up with the amount of water that is on it. On the second turn there is a whole lot of water. I'm not saying it's a bad track, it's just not great with the weather we had. It will probably dry out and be better later."
Hall of Famer Calvin Borel, who finished sixth in the first race aboard Bird Tap, had nothing but praise for the new surface.
"I'm very happy. I was never a fan of the Polytrack," Borel said. "With the rain they had this morning, it (the track) is awesome. I love it. If they seal it, it will be perfect."
ALICIA WINCZE HUGHES