Business was booming at the Churchill Downs September Meet, which concluded on October 1st with incredible returns.
“Our September Meet has been a joy for racing fans, handicappers and members of our Churchill Downs team since its introduction in 2013, and the meet’s continued growth in its fifth year made the 11 days of racing and entertainment very exciting and satisfying,” said president of Churchill Downs, Kevin Flanery. “Our team and horsemen were optimistic when the meet was introduced. Over its five years, the September session has provided both a strong racing product and an entertainment option that is now a highlight of the local and regional calendar at a time of year packed with attractive entertainment and sports options.”
The entertainment aspect of the Churchill Downs September Meet was a big focus. They offered late night parties and celebrations following big race cards, and also featured “Twilight Thursdays” which attracted 5,367 guests. The Downs After Dark party, which was held on September 23rd, also drew a crowd of over 15,000, which helped keep the track busy well after the races had concluded. This environment fueled a strong month at the window with strong betting numbers overall.
“Churchill Downs appreciates the ongoing and growing public support for September racing, and deeply values its partnership with horsemen that has resulted in the creation of a daily racing product that is attractive and entertaining to fans at our track and throughout North America who follow and support Churchill Downs racing via online and satellite wagering.”
The improved atmosphere spilled on to the track as well, where a total of 967 horses competed at Churchill Downs September Meet, yielding an average of 8.9 competitors per race. That was up from the 8.5 that averaged the gates in 2016.
Purses saw a spike from the increased entries with $4.692 million being offered over the course of the Churchill Downs September Meet. That’s a jump of just over 11-percent, which can only mean positive things for the country’s most renowned race track.
The Churchill Downs September Meet was highlighted by the Iroquois Stakes won by the Tabulator, the Ack Ack Handicap scored by Awesome Slew and the Lukas Classic Stakes which was won by Honorable Duty.
With the track inovating ideas to draw guess to the complex for entertainment during and after races, there are high hopes that Churchill Downs will once again see a massive return when they host the next renewal of the Kentucky Derby in May.