Thursday, March 20, 2008

Keeneland - How a Track Should Be Run

I noticed that the Keeneland Meet will be starting soon in the thoroughbreds. I enjoy the meet as a racing fan; they seem to do it up right there. So I decided to check out the website to see if they offered anything neat, peruse the web for some info on the meet and do some general due diligence.

What I found was surprising: They are what a racetrack should be.

First, check out the website. It is simple, navigable and nice to look at. Now click around. Here is what I found when I did:

1. Handicapping statistics, archived. Trainer stats, post position stats, trainer stats by horse age (important), ROI figures and more.

2. Free Video, yes free video. Some tracks lock their video up like it is Fort Knox, for some bizarre reason. Not Keeneland.

3. Race Replays, in a partnership with; and archived results.

I don't know about you guys, but if they consider the bettor a nuisance like some in racing seem to, they hide it pretty damn good.

Now, how about distribution of the signal? Well, Keeneland - one of the largest track's in the world, and perhaps the most respected, has signed with Premier Turf Club. If bettors want value, they can bet Keeneland. To think someone actually called Premier Turf Club a "rogue operator". Keeneland seems to disagree.

Lastly, do they respect us as bettors and offer us fair prices? They sure do. As Cangamble noted in his latest blog post, Keeneland has the lowest takeouts in North America.

There you have it: A great website with handicapping info, free video, free race replays, ability to bet through a rebate shop and finally, the lowest prices in North America.

I am playing Keeneland this year.

Oh and guess what? They continue to shatter handle records. Last year's fall meet was their best ever.

After doing the above research, I am not surprised.

Note: As we are chatting about below, meets in racing are a good thing for buzz. Wall-towall harness racing can not generate that. We do not take advantage of it, imo. Here is a video, on the Keeneland site about a meet, and people having fun. Can anyone see this happening for harness racing? Could you imagine a bar b que in the Woodbine parking lot? The city cops would be there telling you to move inside. The video is here, and this is something we do not do enough of. As with most things - we don't even seem to try.

Photo: Courtesy of the Keeneland website.


Anonymous said...

Keeneland is racings' best meet, better than "The Spa"(as hard as it is for me to say that). Besides the reasons mentioned, they have full fields every race, everyday., with the nations best trainers and jockeys. They race on the turf when it rains. You are not slammed by cheap claimer after claimer, maybe 1 or 2 a day to fill a card. Loads of allowance races and a least a stake race everyday, plus the start of the 2 yr old season if you enjoy the babies (I don't really). It's like racing used to be. It's the best six weeks (3 spring, 3 fall) you can find.

Pull the Pocket said...

This meet stuff is very important in racing. I think you summed up KEE nicely. It generates some buzz with the horsepeople, owners - but most importantly the fan.

It is kind of my back-thought to my Breeders Crown 2010 post. Using the Red Mile for the short meet that generates that buzz, and turning it into an event with the World Harness Racing championships. As it stands now the meet is too long, and does not generate interest. I think, if the Red Mile was seeded with slots, for a three week meet, there would be more trailers in the parking lot than at Woodstock 2010. all of the best trainers and drivers would be there, and the trainers would be bringing barnfuls. It is something that is promotable.

Anyway, I digress. I am told it can't be done. The higher ups in racing say so.

Anonymous said...

Of course, if you bet with WEG on Keeneland, be prepared to have your triactor payoffs to be marked up as if the takeout were at least 25%. I'm sure the same will happen with exactors (ramped up to a 20%+ takeout) and other exotic bets.

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