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Kentucky Downs is a (Glorious) Struggle


If there's something we learned about Kentucky Downs - other than the miraculous handle growth - is that comments from people like Rob are very common.
From what I see, Rob is a fine handicapper. Him struggling is no reflection on his skill, no doubt. We all struggle at Kentucky Downs - don't let anyone fool you on that. It's simple math and circumstance.

Kentucky Downs' races are not a six horse field at Santa Anita where you can like a Baffert maiden at 9-5, as the clockers extol her virtues. It's not a Saratoga race where you can have a strong opinion based only on who Chad Brown or Todd Pletcher is training.

When you put 13 horses - coming from all over, on a weirdly configured turf course, with a high breadth training colony - it takes a different mindset...... and some luck. This does not mean things aren't formful - they are - but it's much like old polytrack Keeneland, where you could take a stand on a price horse, configure some tickets right, and make a nice score. And like old Keeneland, your entire meet can be made with one single trifecta, or superfecta, or even a pick 3.

This is the lure of a place like Kentucky Downs. Where your average every day player is priced out of pick 6's, know that they aren't going to ever hit a Rainbow Six for a lottery ticket score, and are generally relegated to play short fields with short prices, it's a track they can sink their teeth into, and if they're right - even once - they can get paid.

My mindset at a place like Kentucky Downs is completely different than anywhere else. I go into each and every race looking for something to attack, then I build around it. After I submit my tickets, I know I am very likely to lose the race. I don't expect to win, or get mad when I lose, because with so many permutations and variables, losing is an obvious outcome.

I think Kentucky Downs is a struggle. If we realize it's going to be difficult, we are very likely not to walk away with eight winners on a card, and we take some shots, it's - and it's not even close - the best gambling racetrack in North America.

This is why, in my view, it keeps growing. It stands out; it's hard. The struggle - and getting paid for navigating that mental struggle - is why we patronize it.

Have a great Monday everyone. And congrats to CJ Johnsen and his dad - along with everyone else at Kentucky Downs - on their record setting meet. Your efforts deserve to be rewarded and I'm happy that horseplayers have responded.


Comments

Anonymous said…
It is no surprise to see Kentucky Downs get this glorious response from the wagering public. When the public is treated fairly, you not only keep your customers, you also pick up customers from tracks that haven't treated their customers the same way. This is exactly what has happened and explains why Kentucky
Downs has continued to build on their incredible success story in 2017 with a Saturday handle if more than $8.4 million.
The amazing thing about Kentucky racing is that if you go back in time, Keeneland and Churchill used to operate the same way. Go back and find me a better racing product then Keeneland was in 2013.
Winning favorites were always vulnerable. The races were ultra competitive,each a complex puzzle that had a lucrative reward if you could solve it. Keeneland was the perfect wagering product in 2013. A more predictable dirt track,
which saw super trainers dominate and late flashes on speed horses become commonplace, arrived the next year. Add a hefty takeout increase in 2017, and you barely see any resemblance to the Keeneland that Nick Nicholson wanted the gamblers to have, the Keeneland that handled over $10,000,000 a day in the spring meet of 2013.
Nick once described himself this way....." He tried hard, he
listened to different people , he didn't feel like he had to be obsessively right all the time and
he always did what he felt was in the best interest of the horse and the industry. "
Nick not only wanted a safer track for the horses, he wanted the gamblers to be treated fairly. Kentucky Downs learned that lesson well . The results are an inspiring lesson that we players can only hope other tracks that want their handle and revenue to increase will follow .