Saturday marks the opening of the five-day 2015 Kentucky Downs meet, which will provide 50 of the best betting races of the year. Subsequent dates for live racing over the European-style turf course are on Sept. 10, 12, 16 and 19.
This year marks the first time the track reached the top spot in the Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) Track Ratings, and for good reason.
Kentucky Downs is the most horseplayer friendly racetrack in North America.
While other tracks care about corporate profits Kentucky Downs thinks about you, the horseplayer, first because they know that without you they would not be in business.
Here are five reasons you won't want to miss the 2015 Kentucky Downs meet:
5. Unique European Style Turf Course
Kentucky Downs has the only European-style turf course in North America. The 1 5/16 mile course has a tight first turn, a long sweeping final turn and undulations making it a true test of stamina for both rider and horse.
The layout makes it one of the fairest tracks in North America as the final turn and home stretch leave no horse, that is good enough of course, without a chance.
4. Ever-Increasing Wagering Pools
Kentucky Downs increased its purses a few years ago and naturally started attracting more and more horses. Bigger fields, as horseplayers know, lead to increased wagering handle which leads to higher purses which leads to bigger fields. The total handle has increased year over year the last three meets by more than 150%.
The bigger pools mean there is more money to be won and more chances to hit it big on any given day.
3. Deep, Competitive Fields
The larger fields are not just composed of the same local stock. Instead, the massive purses are drawing horses from coast to coast, from north of the border and even a few from across the pond. Horses that started at 47 different tracks made a start at Kentucky Downs over the last three years. The melting pot of horses creates a challenging handicapping experience that will test even the best horseplayers.
Of course those that pass the test will be handsomely rewarded and in any case every race will be a learning experience.
2. Near Double Digit Average Field Size
From 2012 to 2014 the average field size at Kentucky Downs was a shade under 10 horses per race. While many tracks struggle to get eight horses in the gate consistently and others card five- and six-horse fields on a regular basis it is a refreshing experience to see 10- horse field after 10-horse field at Kentucky Downs.
As mentioned above the bigger the fields the more money is bet and statistically the higher the returns will be. With the purses reaching $1.5 million per day this year it will be no surprise if most of the fields are filled to capacity, which at Kentucky Downs is 12.
1. Lowest Overall Takeout Rates in North America
The No. 1 reason Kentucky Downs should be on your radar is they care about you, the horseplayer. They have the lowest overall takeout rate structure in North America. Every wager type has a takeout rate of 19% or lower, which means more money in your pocket when you win.
The player friendly takeout rates mean every pool is on the table. This cannot be said of any other track, except Keeneland. No more passing the Trifecta or Pick 4 because of 25% takeout rates. Both wagers are only 19% at Kentucky Downs.
With a full complement of wager types at your disposal, you will have maximum opportunities to make the most of your handicapping opinions.
Kentucky Downs is one of the few great betting opportunities of the year and it would benefit us all if other tracks followed their successful game plan.
Over the next two weeks you will have roughly 50 of the best betting races of the year so I encourage you to handicap the races and support the most horseplayer friendly track in North America.
The more we bet, the more likely other tracks will take notice and maybe one day instead of being one of the few, Kentucky Downs will be one of many tracks that are worth our full attention.
If you have never bet a race at Kentucky Downs or if you have but are looking for an edge on your pari-mutuel competition I encourage you to check out my complete guide to the 2015 meet: Conquering Kentucky Downs. The guide provides in-depth coverage of what to expect at the upcoming meet.Which running styles are best? What jockeys and trainers can be counted on? What to expect from the wagering pools and much more.
Lastly for those that have played Kentucky Downs please share what has worked for you and what has not in the past in the comments below because sharing knowledge and experience is what this site is all about.
Lenny Moon is an avid fan, horseplayer and handicapping tournament player who grew up attending tracks in Maryland with his father, a horse owner. This article originally appeared at his www.equinometry.com blog and is republished with permission. Lenny encourages readers to share their handicapping experiences at Kentucky Downs either in the comment section below or where the article first appeared.
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