105,100 Brave Coldest Oaks Day Since 1940 Just Shy of Setting the All-Time All-Sources Wagering Record
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 5, 2017) – Fans braved an all-day rain and the coldest Oaks Day since 1940 as Abel Tasman captured the 143rd running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) at Churchill Downs Racetrack. The dreary weather, which kept thousands of fans at home, still resulted in attendance of 105,100. The highest all-time attendance record for the Kentucky Oaks of 124,589 was set just last year under perfect weather.
Wagering from all-sources on the full Kentucky Oaks Day race card of $48.9 million was down only slightly to 2016’s record-setting total of $49.0 million and represents the second highest all-sources wagering on Oaks Day. All-sources wagering on the Kentucky Oaks race of $14.9 million was also down slightly compared to 2016’s $15.0 million.
On-track wagering on the Kentucky Oaks Day race card of $9.3 million was down 22% compared to 2016. On-track wagering on the Kentucky Oaks race of $2.4 million was down 21% compared to 2016’s $3.0 million.
TRACK PRESIDENT COMMENTARY “Congratulations to the connections of Abel Tasman and special thanks to all of our amazing guests who braved record cold and rainy conditions,” said Kevin Flanery, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “Today’s near-record handle numbers, despite the dismal weather conditions, shows that the Kentucky Oaks continues to grow and has established itself as one of the world’s most popular events. Our guests were able to benefit from the most recent improvements we made inside the facility which focused on improving the guest experience, especially in light of the less than desirable weather conditions. Special thanks to the team that worked all day to ensure the track was fair and safe for everyone.” CHARITABLE Churchill Downs held its ninth annual “Pink Out” in support of two cancer-related charities - the Breast Health Program at Norton Cancer Institute in partnership with the Derby Divas and Horses & Hope - during the celebration of the 143rd running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks. The Churchill Downs Incorporated Foundation donated $50,000 and helped raise an additional $27,580 through on-line donations to benefit the Breast Health Program at Norton Cancer Institute, a local non-profit, focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. Churchill Downs also donated $1 from each Friday sale of the Grey Goose Oaks Lily®, the official drink of the Kentucky Oaks, to Horses & Hope, a breast cancer outreach program in Kentucky’s horse industry. The Kentucky Oaks Survivors Parade Presented by Kroger celebrated 143 cancer survivors who marched down Churchill Downs’ historic homestretch prior to the running of the Longines Kentucky Oaks to help raise national awareness of breast and ovarian health and honor survivors. OAKS WINNER Abel Tasman, owned by China Horse Club and Clearsky Farms and bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farms, rallied from far back to win the Longines Kentucky Oaks by 1 ¼ lengths at odds of 9-1. Jockey Mike Smith won the race for the second time after his 2013 win on Princess of Sylmar. Trainer Bob Baffert won the race for the third time with prior victories in 1999 with Silverbulletday and in 2011 with Plum Pretty. The daughter of Quality Road out of the Deputy Minister mare Vargas Girl was the first Longines Kentucky Oaks winner owned by China Horse Club and Clearsky Farms and returned $20.40 for a $2 win wager.