Keeneland Reduces Exotics Takeout

Keeneland has announced that effective with the start of its autumn meeting Oct. 5 it will be lowering the takeout on exotic wagers from 19% to 16%. Bettors with winning tickets on daily doubles, exactas, trifectas, superfectas, and Pick Threes will see a higher percentage of money returned to them.

The 16% takeout on exotics will match the amount withheld from win, place, and show wagers, which remains at 16%. Keeneland retains 12.5% of each dollar wagered for purses and operating expenses. By law, 3.5% goes to the state of Kentucky.

"It's unusual to have takeout on win, place, and show wagers be the same as the takeout on exotics," said Keeneland director of racing Rogers Beasley, "but our takeout on W,P,S was already low, so now we're consistent across the board. Historically, our W,P,S betting is equal to our betting on exotics. Other tracks take considerably more on exotics when compared to straight bets."

Although the New York Racing Association has run ads recently claiming they offer the "lowest takeout," Keeneland now claims its combined takeout is the lowest in the nation. Whereas NYRA boasts a 14% takeout on win, place, and show wagers, its daily doubles, quinellas and exactas feature a 17.5% takeout, and its trifectas, Pick Threes, Pick Fours, and Superfectas are taxed at 25%.

Keeneland clearly is following the lead of the NYRA, however, which lowered its takeout numbers before the start of the recently concluded Saratoga meeting, which ended up setting record attendance and handle figures.

"Bettors on track and at simulcast outlets throughout the country will receive a greater return on each dollar bet, which we believe will result in more money being wagered on our races," said Keeneland president Nick Nicholson. "Keeneland's experiment with the reduced takeout is the next step in an industry effort to make the racing product more attractive to the wagering public."

Nicholson added that Keeneland this autumn will coordinate its post times with the NYRA fall meeting at Belmont Park, with races from the two tracks spaced about 15 minutes apart to enable patrons a greater opportunity to watch the respective post parades and then wager.

"Coordination of post times between Belmont Park and Keeneland is a simple exercise that will benefit both racing associations in better serving our customers," said Bill Nader, NYRA senior vice president. "This concerted effort is good for both racetracks and for the entire industry."

Keeneland will also seek approval from the Kentucky Racing Commission next week to replace its Pick Six with a Pick Five wager. "The majority of the comments we hear from our customers center around high takeout, overlapping post times, and additional handicapping information," said Nicholson, "and we're taking steps to address those issues."

Keeneland will race from Oct. 5 through Oct. 27, with races being run at 31-minute intervals.