Full Fields and the Blue Grass Stakes Produce All-Time Single-Day Handle
As the racing heats up in the Bluegrass state and the Kentucky Derby entrants get ready to Run for the Roses, Keeneland tracked some near record wagering in its recently completed Spring Meet.
Keeneland all-sources wagering surpassed $157 million, highlighted by an all-time single-day handle record on Blue Grass Day ($22,634,861). Driven by full fields of quality horses and competition among the nation’s top owners, trainers and jockeys, the 16 day meet that concluded April 27 produced the second-largest wagering handle behind the 2013 Spring Meet.
Average daily all-sources wagering of $9,823,288 rose 7.24 percent from $9,159,970 in 2017.
A rollback from the takeout increase in the fall of 2017 was favorably received by horseplayers as evidenced by the substantial increase in all-sources handle.
“This was an exceptionally successful Spring Meet in so many ways – from near-record handle to robust attendance and racing of the highest caliber.” – Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason.
KeenelandB offered an early Pick 5 wager with a 15 percent takeout for the first time this meet on the first five races of each race day, and it was an unqualified success. Total handle for the wager over 16 days totaled $4,104,850, an average of $256,553 per day.
On-track attendance and wagering were just shy of last year’s Spring Meet totals despite inclement weather for the meet’s opening two weekends. Total attendance of 250,475 was nearly even with last spring’s 252,247.
On-track wagering this spring was $17,457,750 with an average daily on-track handle of $1,091,109.
Spring Meet Racing Moments and Milestones
Keeneland offered average daily purses of $714,601 this spring to rank among the richest racing programs in North America and contribute to fields that averaged 8.8 starters per race.
Champion Good Magic and Monomoy Girl, both Keeneland sales graduates, won the $1 million Blue Grass and $500,000 Ashland respectively to qualify for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. And in the final Derby prep, My Boy Jack rallied from far back to win the Lexington Stakes and secure his spot in the Kentucky Derby.
Jockey Jose Ortiz recorded his 1,500th career win at Keeneland on April 21. Jockey John Velazquez earned his 50th stakes win at Keeneland, becoming the sixth rider to reach that milestone.
On Twitter, @BetKeeneland delivers real-time handicapping tips and insights to horseplayers each race day and also benefits an industry cause through its Handicapper of the Day Series. A total of $5,193.55 in winnings was raised to help fund the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA).