At the races - Make wager without leaving car at Keeneland

November 05, 2007|By LARRY YANOS

The drive-thru window at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., is unlike any other in the country.

No, you can't order a Big Mac or a quarter pounder and you can't make a withdrawal or deposit.

But yes, you can wager on the ponies.

"We're the only racetrack in the country to offer such a service - folks can drive and make a wager and leave," simulcasting operations manager Jim Goodman said. "We average about $30,000 a day, using four tellers to handle the customers. It's a real convenience for our fans."

Keeneland, one of the outstanding thoroughbred racetracks in the country, offers a spring and fall race meetings each year, but the drive-thru early-bird wagering system is maintained year-round from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. as simulcasting continually gets more popular.

Goodman said the bettors enjoy the added service.

"You should have seen Breeders' Cup day this year. We were extremely busy," Goodman said. "And earlier in October, we had a number of University of Kentucky fans drive in, make their bets for the day, and then head to the tailgating before the home football game a few miles away.


"It was money we would have not gotten if not for the drive-thru."

Charles Town update

Charles Town Races & Slots will feature four days of live racing in November, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon.

The only exception will be when live racing is conducted on Nov. 21, instead of Thanksgiving Day.

Pony tales

Construction of the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Pa., continues, with Opening Day projected for early in 2008.

The final stages of construction will necessitate a temporary shutdown of live racing operations to move equipment and systems. Under the current construction schedule, track officials anticipate live racing will be suspended for about six weeks.

Dec. 21 is being targeted as the last official live racing day for 2007.

Assuming no changes in the current construction schedule, live racing would resume on Feb. 5, 2008 in the new facility.

William Condren, co-owner of Kentucky Derby winners Strike the Gold and Go for Gin, died last Monday at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The cause of death was not released.

The 74-year-old Condren and Joseph Cornacchia won the 1991 Derby at Churchill Downs with Strike the Gold. Three years later Condren and co-owner B. Giles Brophy won the Derby with Go for Gin.

Condren and Cornacchia also owned 1996 Preakness winner Louis Quatorze.

Most of Condren's racing success came with Hall of Famer Nick Zito, who trained Stike the Gold, Go for Gin and Louis Quatorze.

Condren was a co-founder and director of the National Thoroughbred Association and a trustee for the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. He also served on the board of directors of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.

Putting the finishing touches on the Breeders' Cup World Championships - held last Saturday at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.: Garrett Gomez was named the 2007 recipient of the AIG Bill Shoemaker Award - presented to the outstanding jockey in the championships, as voted on by the international media.

It is the second time Gomez has won the award since it was established in 2003.

A 35-year-old native of Tucson, Ariz., Gomez rode two winners Saturday in the 24th edition of the Breeders' Cup, guiding Indian Blessing to victory in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and Midnight Lute in the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint. He also finished third aboard Octave in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff.

Previous Shoemaker Award winners are Alex Solis in 2003 at Santa Anita; John Velazquez in 2004 at Lone Star Park; Gomez in 2005 at Belmont Park; and Frankie Dettori in 2006 at Churchill Downs.

The two victories increased Gomez's Breeders' Cup total to four. His mounts have earned $7,047,750 - 13th all-time.

Larry Yanos is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His horse racing column appears every Sunday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at

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