Overall Cost of Wagering Lowest in the Nation
Kentucky Downs has lowered the takeout on its Pick 4 wager from 19 to 14 percent for its 2018 meet starting on Sept. 1, further reducing what already was the country’s lowest overall cost for placing bets.
“I think that’s awesome,” said Jeff Platt, president of the Horseplayers Association of North America, which has ranked Kentucky Downs its No. 1 track for the past three years. “I’m at a loss for words, it’s that awesome. The Pick 4 is hugely popular among players, insanely popular. Having a 14-percent Pick 4 is huge.”
America’s most unique race meet runs Sept. 1, 6, 8, 9 and 13 over the country’s only European-style race course. Kentucky Downs offers among the world's highest average-daily purses at $2 million a day for that five-date run as well as the highest average field sizes in North America, almost 11 horses per race last year.
The low takeout combined with big fields is what puts Kentucky Downs on top, Platt said.
Takeout is the amount of each dollar wagered that comes off the top before winning bettors are paid. That money goes toward horsemen’s purses, the racetrack and parimutuel taxes. The Pick 4 is a 50-cent minimum wager where horseplayers seek to have in a single combination the winners of the four consecutive races comprising the bet. At 14 percent, the Kentucky Downs’ Pick 4 is among the lowest in the country. By comparison, most major tracks are at least 20 percent, some 24 percent or higher.
“We want to be known as the horseplayers’ racetrack,” said C.J. Johnsen, Kentucky Downs’ director of broadcasting and interstate wagering. “In keeping with that goal, we felt a reduction in our Pick 4 takeout was warranted. The low takeout combined with our field size and quality should boost pool sizes even more to make it one of the best and most attractive wagers in racing.”
Going from 19 to 14 percent reflects a 26-percent reduction in the cost of the bet. Under state regulations, the track could assess a takeout on multi-horse bets as high as 22 percent. The highest takeout on any wager at Kentucky Downs is 19 percent.
“That’s a big drop, for sure,” Ray Arsenault, winner of the 2017 National Horseplayers Championship, said. “That’s great for the horseplayers. It’s like a rebate. I play the Pick 4 all the time. That’s one of our main bets.”
Kentucky Downs also has a 14-percent takeout on its Pick 5 wager, with its 18.25-percent rate on the popular exacta bet and 16-percent takeout on win, place and show wagering among the lowest in the country. The minimum wager is 50 cents for the trifecta, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5 and Super Hi-5; $1 for exactas and daily double; $2 for win, place and show, and 10 cents for the superfecta.
Said Platt: “It’s an incredibly enjoyable handicapping and betting experience.”
Kentucky Downs Wagering Chart