Keeneland, which last fall experimented with a reduced 16 percent pari-mutuel takeout, has made adjustments for its spring meet, which begins April 5. The takeout for win, place, and show wagers will remain 16 percent, but for exotic bets, it will go back up to 19 percent.
The takeout reduction last fall led New York off-track betting corporations and a group of racetracks in the Mid-Atlantic Cooperative to pull the Keeneland signal from betting outlets. The Mid-Atlantic tracks got back on board a few days into the meet after a deal was made, but the New York outlets did not. As a result, total handle on the Keeneland product was off by $11 million from the spring 2001 meet.
"We experimented last fall, and we very much believe that it's the right direction to go in," said Jim Williams, director of public relations for Keeneland. "Unfortunately, one of the major distributors of our product chose not to take our product because of (the takeout reduction). It may be difficult to judge the true value of the lower takeout during a short meet."
Keeneland generally races 15 or 16 days each meet.
The track also scrapped the pick 5, which it implemented last fall at the 16 percent takeout rate, and will instead offer a pick 6 with a special 12 percent takeout. When the track last offered a pick 6, the rate was 19 percent.
"It's kind of a continuation of the experiment," Williams said. "It will be an enticement for people to play our pick 6."
The wager never went over big in Lexington. It has been much more popular at tracks in California and New York, and at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.