With all it’s gorgeous scenery and almost regal pageantry, one tends to ask oneself, why in the dickens is Keeneland such a challenge to the average horse bettor? Favorites struggle, longshots come out of nowhere and the obvious becomes errant. And in fact, several recent studies placed Keeneland as one of the toughest tracks in America to handicap. Favorites win less often at this thoroughbred track located in the heart of horse racing than anywhere else. It’s enough to stress the casual bettor to the max.
Let’s take a look at 6 major reasons why this is the case:
1) The quality of the competition. Only a handful of US tracks draw the quality of horses found at this Lexington, KY race track.
2) The quantity of the competition. Notice how many horses, on average, are entered and actually go off in Keeneland races. They average over 10 horses per race with some races handling up to 15 entries.
3) The length of the meets. A Spring and a Fall meet are separated by about 5 months with each meet having only 16 to 18 days of racing. It makes for the typical horse, stabled at the track, to maybe get 1 to 3 races during the month and therefore making comparisons more difficult than say a 3 month season.
4) The ability of the connections. With the high purse amounts of the races and the tradition surrounding Keeneland it is logical that only the best are attracted. The list of jockeys, trainers and owners is a “who’s who” of the thoroughbred racing world. It’s futile to place a bet just based on a top jockey or a leading trainer at Keeneland!
5) The time of the year. The Spring meet ends just days before The Kentucky Derby and the Fall meet ends just days before The Breeders’ Cup. It’s the jockey’s time to shine in order to get the good mounts and the trainers time to get their barn in order. That may be why you see jockeys bringing home longshots and top horses seemingly out for a brisk workout.
6) The track. Polytrak is still hard to figure at times and comparing the synthetic surface of one track to the next can be difficult too.
So, as you can see, it can be a bit overwhelming and for the unknowing – it can be costly. That is precisely why it is important to be armed with more information than the average Joe Exacta out there.
Keeneland is not just a racetrack, it’s an experience, no wait, it’s the ultimate thoroughbred racing experience in America. So if attending or simulcasting or watching at home and want to get the edge on this most exciting challenge in horse racing – pick up our selections at The Track Philosopher – you’ll have the advantage and make your day so much more rewarding than the not so gentle-man shown above.
Tip: Be the hit of your table and print out several copies of “The Track Philosopher” Keeneland cards for that race day and pass them out to your friends. Make the day more, let’s say, relaxing!