watching Keeneland .there are 20 lengths from winner to last horse with fav's rolling in..Is this really what you wanted? #GladItIsOverToday
— Angle J (@Raps7) October 25, 2014
Used to feel kinda shit about Keeneland ending during the halcyon days of the recently departed poly era but now, nothing.The meet that everyone looked forward to, that everyone prepared for, that everyone was sad to see go, is relegated to just another meet now. The 2014 Fall Meet was very different than the ones we've been used to since 2006. Keeneland's edge with worldwide players was that it was pari-mutuel chess - a deep handicapping mind game with a stout payoff if you're right. This fall it moved to pari-mutuel checkers - a rudimentary 40%+ dirt chalk fest that has befallen track after track the last few years.
— Drew Roberts (@DrewRoberts63) October 25, 2014
The proof is in some of the numbers: Dirt field size below 7.75, almost 300% fewer shippers to the poly, from Presque Isle, Woodbine and Arlington Park. This killed overall payoffs. On poly in 2013 in the fall, the average mutuel was $17.38. On dirt this fall, it was $11.13. In a game with 20% blended rakes, $11 payout averages are horseplayer suicide.
Racing must learn what makes players tick. It's not about what type of surface a horse runs on, it's not about if your track gets a Breeders' Cup (we can bet a BC at another track, we really don't care), it's not about food trucks or bands, it's not about what the Daily Racing Form tells us to think. We need good races to bet. Keeneland last year provided it, this year it did not. If other tracks follow and make decisions that decrease field sizes or makes races "easier to handicap" it only drives another nail in this industry's coffin.