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Jul 16, 2010

Tough times continue at Turfway Park


Florence, KY (Sports Network) - In an effort to maintain daily purses equal to last year's, Turfway Park president Robert N. Elliston announced Wednesday that the track has asked the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to approve a request to cut four Wednesday cards and all but one stakes race from the 2010 Fall Meet.

"We were forced to make deep cuts to at least stay even with last fall's daily purse averages and support our local horsemen as best we can," said Elliston. "We have to do whatever we can to maximize our field size, which means fewer race dates. And we are not alone. Churchill Downs ran four days instead of five except for (Kentucky) Derby week during their spring meet, and their average field size fell below eight. Keeneland cut more than $1 million from its fall meet purse structure and dropped two graded stakes. Except for Labor Day weekend, Ellis Park is racing only three days a week. Meanwhile, Indiana Downs just increased their purses by 30 percent and last month, on an ordinary Wednesday card, set a track wagering record."

Turfway is requesting to run Thursdays through Sundays from September 9 through October 3, a total of 16 days as opposed to last year's 20.

The lone stakes race to remain on the schedule will be the $100,000 Turfway Park Fall Championship at 1 1/2-miles, a Breeders' Cup Challenge race.

Eliminated from the schedule are the three Kentucky Cup Day of Champions races; $200,000 Kentucky Cup Classic, $100,000 Kentucky Cup Distaff and $100,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint.

"We are especially disappointed to have to drop the Kentucky Cup Day of Champions," Elliston continued. "Great horses came from all over for those races, and they've had a significant impact on the Breeders' Cup. If the state legislature allows us to level the playing field with surrounding states that enhance their purses with gaming revenue, the Kentucky Cup would be high on the list of races we would restore."

Additionally, Turfway has asked permission to move its Fall Meet post-time on Thursday and Friday up 90 minutes to 5:30 p.m. (et).

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is scheduled to consider the request at the group's next meeting on Tuesday, July 20.

Turfway Park is the home of the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes, a major prep race for the Kentucky Derby.

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