Keeneland spring meet sets records

Keeneland's spring meet brought significant increases in both attendance and wagering over last spring, and several records were set, the track announced Monday.

Total attendance for the 15-day meet — 269,292 — set a record, according to a news release. Last fall's 17-day meet had previously held the record for top attendance, 250,163. The spring figures represented an increase of more than 11 percent over last spring's attendance of 241,684.

Total on-track handle rang in at $19.55 million, up more than 5 percent over last spring's wagering of $18.47 million.

All-sources handle, which includes wagering on imported simulcast signals, was up nearly 13 percent over last spring, at $136.72 million.

On April 14, Toyota Blue Grass Day, Keeneland carded 12 races, which led to a record single-day all-sources handle of $21.65 million. The previous record was set on Toyota Blue Grass Day in 2007, when $19.25 million was wagered.

The Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, on which $1.93 million was wagered, set a new record for single-race wagering at Keeneland.

This was the sixth consecutive spring meet without a catastrophic breakdown during racing on the main track.

"I believe our success directly correlates to our dedication to safety," Keeneland President Nick Nicholson said in the news release.

This was the last meet over which Nicholson will preside. He announced in April that he will retire on Sept. 1. Bill Thomason, Keeneland's vice president and chief financial officer, will succeed him.