How to Play Keeneland

by Ed Meyer

posted on October 6, 2018 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, | No Comments >>

How do you begin to handicap a track that is open for 15 days twice a year? – I love the boutique meet and the beauty that’s only Keeneland. But, there are a few hints on how to maximize your bankroll for the meet. – Keep these in mind before heading to the windows. – Best of luck from Winning Ponies!


Maiden races can be tricky. If they are a first-time starter this late in the year tread lightly. – Many trainers target Keeneland and train in Lexington. – Look for a sparkling morning work and see how the trainer does with first-time starters.

The turf is one of the best in the country. – Closers and stalkers do very well overall; be sure to examine the pace scenario. – If the race is lacking speed, a wire-to-wire winner could be on the horizon. – Stay away from the far outside post positions and look for the middle runners 4-7. They seem to get a garden trip from the break and don’t get trapped on the rail or run the extra ground from the outside.

Look for top trainers and riders who have done well in the past. – Many riders come in to ride for the meet for an outfit. – BTW, keep an eye on the Ortiz brothers in New York this weekend as they are not at Keeneland.

There are two finish lines. – One is used for 1 1/16 races only – The finish line can be found by looking for the red “stop sign” right at the post. – The turf has one finish line.

Speed and stalkers do very well overall. – Pay close attention to wet tracks and fast tracks. – Sometimes a little extra moisture helps the runners dig in and make late runs. – When Keeneland switched back to dirt from synthetic. It was a national holiday for horseplayers!

The value is incredible! – Pricing on win, place and show wagers will decrease from 17.5 percent to 16 percent and from 22 percent to 19.5 percent on exactas. Takeout for the Pick Five will be 15 percent. Takeout for all other exotic wagers will remain at 22 percent; according to a Paulick Report article on Keeneland value.

The TV coverage is incredible and levels the playing field for off-track bettors. – They show runners working on the track, and have a free live racing feed to watch all of the action in real-time.

Keep a lookout for long time layoff runners who have shown a love for the oval. – If they sport a red-hot work, you may want to “dig in the jeans and pull out some greens!”

Be sure to look over the trainer info. You may find some hidden gems on who has an edge with babies, turf runners or horses fresh off the claim.


Where can you find all of this in one place? – Right here on Winning Ponies! – You’ll get color-coded tier levels and handy icons to keep you up-to-speed on the how the race will take shape. – Winning Ponies is your one-stop-shop for your handicapping needs. – As we kick off the Keeneland meet and beyond, be sure and check-in with the E-Z Win Forms for a clear view on how the race takes shape.