Turfway Park has scratched its premier fall racing event, marking the latest setback for the struggling track in northern Kentucky.
The Kentucky Cup Day of Champions has been a launching pad in the past for horses prepping for the Breeders' Cup, but Turfway said Wednesday it's canceling the event for the second time in three years.
Interim General Manager Lee Dillard says, "We had to make some tough decisions. We decided to cut the Kentucky Cup race again this year because we wanted to save that money to beef up the winning purses for the rest of our races".
Not even a sponsorship by WinStar Farm, a prominent horse farm in Kentucky's bluegrass region, could save the Kentucky Cup this fall.
WinStar's sponsorship helped revive the event last year. Turfway says WinStar was still a willing sponsor, but the track shifted its share of the series' funding into non-stakes races.
When asked if he thought the move was due to the economy, Dillard said, "Not just the economy but the horse racing business in general. It's suffered, especially in Kentucky".
Turfway has said it's struggling to keep pace with purses offered by other tracks that benefit from an infusion of casino gambling money.