Thursday, August 02, 2001

Kentucky Cup won't be as full

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FLORENCE — The purse total for the Kentucky Cup Day of Champions at Turfway Park in September will drop below $1 million because of increased competition from other gambling sources.

        Officials announced Wednesday that the track needed to cut $150,000 from the Kentucky Cup purses because of reduced revenues directly related to competition from Indiana riverboat casinos and other racetracks.

        The Grade II Kentucky Cup Classic, the premier event of the Sept. 22 race card, will have a purse of $400,000, $100,000 less than originally planned.

        The Grade III Turfway Park Breeders' Cup, which last year produced Breeders' Cup distaff winner Spain, will be cut $50,000 to a $200,000 purse.

        “It's disheartening to reduce purses for the Kentucky Cup,” Turfway Park president Bob Elliston said. “But we have to protect the integrity of our daily purses. It is important to retain the loyalty of the horsemen who race at Turfway year-round.”

        Last week, Mr. Elliston told members of the Kentucky Racing Commission that Turfway must contend with the stiffest competition of any racetrack in the country because of the three riverboat casinos along the Ohio River in nearby southeast Indiana, and nearby Ohio and Indiana race tracks that compete for simulcast dollars.

        Marty Maline, executive director of the Kentucky Horsemen Benevolent Protection Association (HBPA), said the organization “applauds Turfway for taking this unfortunate but necessary step to keep the daily purses at a competitive level.”

        Purses for the three remaining stakes races on the Kentucky Cup card remain the same — $150,000 for the Grade II Kentucky Cup Sprint, and $100,000 each for the Grade III Kentucky Cup Juvenile and the Kentucky Juvenile Fillies. The track previously canceled the $50,000 Kentucky Cup Starter Stakes.

        Live racing resumes at Turfway Park Sept. 5 and runs through Oct. 4.


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