Dick Downey posted the Kentucky Downs 2016 handle numbers yesterday on twitter.
That's a pretty good meet. With one day left.
Kentucky Downs has had good weather in the Nashville region, and they had a carryover, so the fundamentals have been solid, but with, say, a $4M handle on Thursday, they will break $22 million this year. In 2011 they did $4.5M for the whole meet. That's big.
They've clearly had some good fortune with gaming money and the like (and using it smartly) but a lot of tracks have gaming money and good fortune. It's been more than that and some of the things would be considered pretty minor to the movers and shakers in the business.
Remember the Churchill Downs "storm" back in June? A fellow had a chance at scoring $750,000 in a pick 6, but after the storm was set to begin, they quickly scrapped the card? The same thing happened at Kentucky Downs on Saturday. However, in this case they waited out the storm, saw it passed, saw no lightning in the area and asked the jocks to test the track to see if it was safe. It was, and off they went.
That might be considered a "little thing" to some, but to people who had a nice $18 winner to start the pick 5 carryover, that little thing was big. Even if the races were not run and there was a refund, Kentucky Downs' betting customers felt they were important.
Kentucky Downs, with a weird turf course, European style turf racing, hand timed races, and a shaky camera because of the ups and downs, is somehow attracting some serious dollars, and really, they should not be doing so well. In part, they've grown from the little things -- things they can control and improve upon in a "Good to Great" way - because these little things aren't looked at as a barrier to do nothing, but an opportunity to grow.
Racing often has trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time. It's a maddening business. Kentucky Downs proves that there are people out there who believe you can incrementally improve things year over year - to try and fix the fixable, no matter how big or how small, with the goal of increasing handle, and reach - and, for them, it's paying off.
They no doubt consider these issues difficult, they just don't consider them too hard.
Have a nice Monday everyone.
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