10/16/2008 11:00PM

A closer look at Keeneland's track biases

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - A lot of friends have asked me what the Keeneland track bias is at the current meet. The short answer is that many of the winners are up close in contention, tracking the early leader. The longer answer is that it depends on which day you are looking at. Those details are listed below.

Keeneland is a very tricky track to bet on if you are used to judging track bias as favoring either early speed or closers. The Polytrack pace bias has been more subtle than that at this meet. Viewing it any other way can be hazardous to your wealth.

Here is a summary of how the track has played through Thursday, Oct. 16. Refer to it for the rest of this meet, when you are handicapping horses who last ran at Keeneland in the Breeders' Cup, and when these Keeneland horses run back at Churchill.

Oct. 3

Horses who tracked the speed from striking position won most of the Polytrack races. Five of those seven races were won by horses who were in the front half of their field at the first call. Five of the seven winners were either third or fifth at the first call. Both of the turf winners rallied from third or farther back.

Oct. 4

Two of the Polytrack sprints were won by the first-call leader, but they were the exceptions. The three other sprints and the two routes were won with different tactics. The winners waited for the speed to fade and rallied from third and fourth place. The first-call leader won 2 of the 3 turf races. The exception was a route winner who closed from sixth place.

Oct. 5

Six of the eight Polytrack winners were located in the front half of their field at the first call, but none of them led at that point. Seven of them were second through sixth at the first call. There was no apparent trend in the turf races.

Oct. 8

The track bias changed today. Six of the eight winners on Polytrack rallied from the rear half of their field at the first call. Those six winners were sixth or farther back at that point. The one turf route was taken by a deep closer.

Oct. 9

Yesterday's track-bias trend continued through most, but not all, of today's races. The five Polytrack races run through race six were all won by horses located in the rear half of the pack at the first call. A new trend took hold in race 7, and it was strong enough to continue through the next day. Please make a note of this distinction. In race 7, the horses who were first and second at the first call finished second and first. The first-call leader won the next Polytrack race. Neither of these winners were favorites. Both paid $10 and change.

Oct. 10

Seven of the eight races on Polytrack were won by horses located in the front half of their field at the first call. They were first through fifth at that point. The two turf routes were won by horses who tracked the speed from third and fourth at the first call.

Oct. 11

The track bias changed today. Seven of the eight winners on Polytrack were fourth or farther back at the first call. The two turf route winners came from second and fourth at that point.

Oct. 12

There was another change in the track bias today. Five of the seven races on Polytrack were won by horses located in the front half of their field at the first call. They were first through fourth at that point. The two turf route winners came from second and fifth.

Oct. 15

Four of the five Polytrack sprints were won by horses who were first or second at the first call. Both Polytrack routes were won by closers who were eighth and 11th at the first call. With the exception of a favorite who paid $6, the rest of the Polytrack winners were not easy to find as the fourth betting choices or worse. They paid from $14.80 to $29.80. The two turf routes were won from third and 10th place.

Oct. 16

The seven Polytrack winners all came from second through fifth place at the first call. The two turf routes were won by horses in the front half of their fields in second and fourth.