Keeneland will be starting soon. I had never been to Keeneland, but I was fortunate enough to visit for the first time this year. Why? Because it is Keeneland and they seem to love players.
For my trip I needed to do a few things, mostly get familiar with the new poly and the track itself.
I decided to check out the website to see if they offered anything neat, peruse the web for some info on the meet and do some general due diligence.
What I found was surprising: They are what a racetrack should be.
First, check out the website. It is simple, navigable and nice to look at. Now click around. Here is what I found when I did:
1. Handicapping statistics, archived. Trainer stats, post position stats, trainer stats by horse age (important), ROI figures and more.
2. Free Video, yes free video. Some tracks lock their video up like it is Fort Knox, for some bizarre reason. Not Keeneland.
3. Race Replays, in a partnership with racereplays.com; and archived results.
I don't know about you guys, but if they consider the bettor a nuisance like some in racing seem to, they hide it pretty damn good.
Now, how about distribution of the signal? Well, Keeneland - one of the largest track's in the world, and perhaps the most respected, has signed with player-friendly Premier Turf Club and numerous others. If bettors want value, and want to play it from virtually any account, they can bet Keeneland.
Lastly, do they respect us as bettors and offer us fair prices? They sure do. As Cangamble noted a blog post, Keeneland has the lowest takeouts in North America.
As for the Poly debate, well Keeneland does not take it for granted that some players will not play the fake surface. Recently I opened my inbox and there was a Keeneland survey asking about poly, what people like or dislike and how they can make the experience better for the horseplayer. They know poly is not a panacea, and it does not stop them from trying to improve the surface for us - the bettors.
There you have it: A great website with handicapping info, free video, free race replays, ability to bet through many ADW's, a true respect for the customer and finally, the lowest prices in North America.
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip this year. I was treated like a king, and all I am is a horseplayer. I am playing Keeneland this year and would love to make this fall my second trip.