Anne M. Eberhardt

Keeneland to Teach New Fans About Wagering

Keeneland plans to educate new fans on pari-mutuel wagering.

Keeneland is unveiling a host of enhancements for the upcoming spring meeting to help make betting easier and more enjoyable for fans.

"Keeneland is fortunate in that it draws a number of new fans to the races each meet and we want these people to become lifelong fans," said Keeneland president Bill Thomason in a release. "To that end, it is important for us to make racing, and betting, a little easier to understand so that it is fun and entertaining."

At the 2011 fall race meeting, Keeneland launched Wagering Central, a full-service concierge-style area located trackside under the grandstand where fans could ask questions, learn more about betting, and pick up tips for the day's wagering. The success of Wagering Central has spurred other enhancements including:

• BetologistsKeeneland is deploying easy-to-spot Betologists to roam around the facility on race days so that they can mingle among the crowd and answer questions about betting.

• Beginner Handicapping Seminars at Wagering Centralat 12:15, 1:15 and 2:15 p.m. each race day.

• Bet From Your PhoneFans can go to Wagering Central where one of the helpful staff will show you how to bet using your smart phone or tablet, saving valuable time instead of standing in line to make bets.

Keeneland also is introducing additional race analysis this spring from handicapper Katie Mikolay Gensler. She, along with longtime Keeneland handicapper Mike Battaglia, will give selections and analysis for each race with Gensler concentrating on offering up-to-the-minute analysis from the Keeneland Paddock.

In addition, staff from such local and trade media outlets as the Blood-Horse, Daily Racing Form and Lexington Herald-Leader will provide their daily selections for each race. Those picks, along with Battaliga's and Gensler's selections, will be showcased on the infield board, in-house televisions, and simulcast signal prior to each race, giving fans an at-a-glance set of selections going into each race.

Gensler, along with handicappers Jeremy Plonk and Joe Kristufek, will give selections on Keeneland's twitter handle @keenelandracing.

The race-day program content also has been extensively redesigned to reflect an easy to understand wagering guide.

"We're trying to speak to our customers in a variety of ways and in the mediums they are comfortable using," Thomason said. "If they prefer one-on-one consultation, they can visit Wagering Central or speak with one of our Betologists. If they are tech savvy, they can follow us on Twitter and bet from their phone. Or, they can look at a program. Whatever their preference, we will make it available."