Fans responded positively to a month of spectacular fall weather and world-class, competitive racing, with fields averaging 10.06 starters per race. Keeneland’s signature FallStars Weekend produced a number of Breeders’ Cup World Championships entries, notably Forever Together, who prepped for her win in the Emirates Airlines Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) by taking Keeneland’s First Lady (G1) on opening day.
“We are thrilled with all the positives to come out of the fall meet, especially considering it was conducted during one of the toughest economic periods in U.S. history,” said Nick Nicholson, president and CEO of Keeneland. “We enjoyed a month of unusually mild weather; strong on-track attendance; the best trainers and jockeys in the world; and some very rewarding special events, such as Make-A-Wish Day and Military Family Day. We absolutely have the best fans in the world, and their energy is what makes Keeneland racing so special.”
On-track wagering on live racing totaled $19,065,818, down 8.3 percent from last year’s total of $20,790,718. All-sources wagering on Keeneland (includes on-track and off-track handle) totaled $109,487,996, a decrease of 17.8 percent from $133,210,885 in the fall 2007. Average daily all-sources handle on Keeneland was $6,440,470 compared to $7,835,934 last year.
The race for leading trainer honors between Mike Maker and Ken McPeek went down to the final day of the fall meeting, with Maker clinching his first Keeneland title with nine wins in 38 starts. McPeek finished second with eight wins, while Albert Stall Jr. and Bill Mott tied for third with six wins each.
Jockey Robby Albarado earned his first fall meet riding title and third overall (spring 2002 and 2004) with 22 wins. Albarado won three stakes during the fall – the Darley Alcibiades (G1) on Dream Empress, the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) on Thorn Song and the Thoroughbred Club of America (G3) on Indyanne – for a total of 41 Keeneland stakes wins. He ranks fourth among the track’s all-time leading riders by stakes victories.
Julien Leparoux finished second in the standings with 19 wins, while Miguel Mena closed in the final days to rank third with 13 victories.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey won eight races in the fall to take their fifth Keeneland title, having earned honors in the fall 2007 (tie), spring 2006, spring 2004 (tie) and fall 2002 (tie).