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.


$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.

1 comment:

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.


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