Keeneland Racecourse has informed the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission that it plans to increase takeout to the maximum allowed under state law during its 2017 fall meeting, reports drf.com. Officials confirmed that takeout on win, place and show wagers will move from 16 percent to 17.5 percent, and it will increase from 19 percent to 22 percent on most other wagers. The Pick 5 takeout will be decreased, however, from 19 percent down to 15 percent for the October meet.
“I hope the wagering public understands that this is going to our purses to keep us competitive, it's not going into our pockets,” said Bob Elliston, vice president of racing and sales. “You have to look at it comparatively. We're going to be on par with New York, with Oaklawn, and we think we will continue to offer bettors a good product, if you look at depth of field and the quality of the fields.”
Racecourses in Kentucky are allowed to increase takeout to the maximum percentages when daily on-track handle averages lower than $1.2 million, which has been the case at Keeneland for several years. Churchill Downs boosted its rates to the same thresholds in 2014, and records indicate that despite horseplayer backlash handle has continued to increase slightly over the past several years, from $501.3 million in 2014 to $511.8 million in 2015 and $516.9 million last year.
The Horseplayers Association of North America released a statement on Tuesday regarding the takeout increases: HANA is extremely disappointed with the new Keeneland management's decision and will have further announcements after talking with our members.
“I was part of a group from HANA that spent a week visiting Keeneland back in April 2009,” recalled HANA President Jeff Platt. “On the day we left (outgoing Keeneland president) Nick Nicholson presented our group with a Keeneland poster which he signed. Above his signature are the words, ‘Horseplayers will always be welcome at Keeneland.' Right now I'm not sure if that's true anymore.”
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