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Pennsylvania versus Kentucky: Your Betting Pools Are Your Brand

Yesterday was an interesting day. The Del Mar and Saratoga meets were winding down with some decent racing, and together they did well over $30 million in handle. Expected. These are your summertime signals.

Meanwhile, over in Franklin, Kentucky, a newer track (I say newer because it has been making noise for only a few years) was up against those two strong signals: Kentucky Downs.

Many hundred miles away, in Philadelphia, Philly Park Parx had a Saturday card going. It was a part of their "Fall Festival", with juiced purses and plenty of promo.

Kentucky Downs, who was not up against those two strong signals last year, would be expected to see a handle shortfall. One would expect, anyway. They didn't:
Up 36% to over $3.6 million, is well done. Especially when a few short years ago this track averaged less than $900,000 in handle per day. Kentucky Downs is now a strong signal that can stand on its own two feet, Woodward Day at Saratoga or not. And it's capturing hearts and minds each day.
At Parx it was a different story:
The Kentucky Downs brand, like some other smaller tracks is strong, and growing stronger. The Pennsylvania racetrack brand is suffering mightily.

Tracks can offer tons of stakes races, a million dollars in purses, and promote, but still not gain any handle whatsoever, if their brand is tarnished with customers. Pennsylvania has a long way to go, Kentucky Downs is doing a hell of a lot right.




Notes:

$2.8 million was bet on last evening's Canadian Pacing Derby card at Mohawk. Other than ditching the all stakes pick 4 (those are usually chalky in harness), the races were promoted and carded pretty well; there's probably not much more they could've done. The first pick 4, even at high rake and low mins, was fairly bettable. They also ran a 12 horse field in a Simcoe, which was good for bettors trying to make a few dollars at high juice Mohawk.

Liams Map, a total fade for me (I thought he'd bounce like a ball), made me look bad in the Woodward. All you can say is wow.

Saratoga handle for the Woodward card was down about $3 million.

Players and fans do not much like the camera work at Kentucky Downs - it's a huge track with undulations, and the setting sun poses issues - but they improved it this meet. I noticed the difference.

Great issue put together by @gregreinhart of the Horseplayer Monthly magazine. It's free. Some dude even wrote a harness piece for it you might like. Download it and save here. It's 23 pages.

Enjoy your long weekend everyone.


Comments

kyle said…
Love KD. I'd say it's major shortcoming at this point are the relatively shallow win/place/show pools - and consequentially unstable odds board. I'd like to see them push the state to allow lower rates in those pools.