(Trainer Mike Maker had another robust Holiday Meet at Turfway Park / Photo Courtesy of Churchill Downs)
From the Turfway Park Media Team:
Turfway Park closed out its 16-day holiday meet December 31, 2019, the track’s first race meet as a property of Churchill Downs Incorporated. With purses virtually twice those of the previous holiday meet, average field size jumped from 8.6 in 2018 to 10.2.
The entry box expanded under interest from trainers new to Turfway, including Anthony Quartarolo and West Coast-based Billy Morey, and some who in recent years had saddled only stakes runners at Turfway, including Larry Jones, Larry Rivelli and Steve Asmussen. Others, such as Genaro Garcia, Ken McPeek and Ethan West, significantly increased their Turfway presence over the previous holiday meet.
“From the barn area, during training, among our employees and from our patrons, there has certainly been a renewed sense of excitement and optimism regarding the future of Turfway Park,” said General Manager Daniel ‘Chip’ Bach. “In just 30 days we have seen a glimpse of the great potential to return Northern Kentucky racing to the level expected of a Kentucky Thoroughbred racetrack.”
Familiar faces returned as meet leaders, but competition was tight and two categories came down to the wire. Ken and Sarah Ramsey got a win with their lone entry on closing day to earn outright their 16th leading owner title at Turfway. The Ramseys finished with five wins from 18 starters to break a tie with Ronald Brown, who ended with four wins from just six starters. Tied for third were Kevin Brown’s Small Town Paddock with three wins from only four starters and the partnership of Genaro Garcia’s Southwest Racing Stables and Bruce Murphy with three wins from eight starters.
Mike Maker earned his 22nd training title at Turfway, padding the record for titles he set in the 2018 holiday meet. Maker saddled two winners on closing night to catch and pass Wesley Ward, finishing with nine wins from 37 starters to Ward’s eight wins from 25 starters. Genaro Garcia saddled five winners from 26 starters to finish third.
After a year’s absence, Albin Jimenez returned to Turfway to score his seventh riding title at the track, topping all jockeys with 17 wins from 84 mounts. Jimenez tallied nearly twice as many wins as runner-up Martin Garcia, who finished with 10 wins from 59 mounts in his first meet at Turfway. Apprentice jockey Joseph Ramos, riding his first full meet at Turfway, was one behind in third with nine wins from 61 mounts.
Two black-type races highlighted the meet: the Holiday Inaugural, won by Jimenez aboard Jean Elizabeth for Rivelli and partners Richard Ravin, Patricia’s Hope LLC and Rivelli; and the Prairie Bayou, with John McKee aboard winner Peekacho for trainer Brian Michael and owner Andrew Ritter. Each stake offered $50,000 with an additional $25,000 in KTDF money available to Kentucky-bred starters.
New for the holiday meet, Turfway introduced the Single 6 Jackpot wager, with a 20-cent base bet and 15 percent takeout, and also lowered takeout on its Pick 5 to 15 percent.