04/26/2007 11:00PM

Day by day Keeneland trends

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - As this is written on Thursday night, there is just one day of racing left at Keeneland. A number of the horses who ran at this meet will race next at Churchill. How should handicappers factor Keeneland's track bias into their handicapping for that meet?

Some will simply ignore it and handicap the runners from Keeneland as if track bias was not a factor there. Handicappers who choose this path are asking for trouble.

A number of wiseguys will choose the generic approach. They know that closers won many races at Keeneland, so they will simply generalize and assume that closers were dominant on every day at Keeneland. They will be right more often than they are wrong, but there were a number of days that were exceptions, and the generic approach misunderstands all of those days.

The best way to handle the transition from Keeneland to Churchill is to refer to notes about what actually happened on each day at Keeneland. Isn't it better to know than to guess?

With that in mind, here is a rundown of the daily track bias at Keeneland through the second-to-last day of the meet.

I kept track of the 4 1/2-furlong races for 2-year-olds separately, since they tended to be much more speed-favoring than the races at other distances.

April 6: The 4 1/2-furlong race was won by the early speed. Besides that race, five of the seven races on Polytrack were won from the rear half of the pack. That includes the nightcap, where the winner was located fourth early, but few knew it due to a snowstorm. The Klein Track Bias rating for the day, excluding the 4 1/2-furlong race, was a 43. These ratings, which are explained in my book, "The Power of Early Speed," range from a high of 300, which is extremely speed-favoring, to a low of zero, a day dominated by closers.

April 7: Once again, the 4 1/2-furlong race was won by the early speed. Horses from the rear half of the pack won four of the seven other Polytrack races. None of those other winners was first or second early. This day also earned a 43 track bias rating.

April 11: Finally, the first front-running winner at a distance longer than 4 1/2 furlongs. Four of the seven races were won by horses from the front half of the field at the first call. Off-the-pace runners and closers had a mild edge, but this was the fairest of the first three days of the meet. My track bias rating is 86.

April 12: The 4 1/2-furlong race was won by the early leader. Off-the-pace runners and closers were best again. Besides the 4 1/2-furlong race, there were no winners as close as first or second. Six of the seven other races were won by horses who were 3-4-5-6-7 at the first call. The other winner was a deep closer. My track bias rating is another 43.

April 13: The 4 1/2-furlong race was won from third. There were no front-running winners from the seven other Polytrack races. Even so, this day was different from the others that preceded it. The winners weren't far behind early. Most were not closers. Five of the seven winners won from the front half of the field. My track bias rating was the highest so far, a 100.

April 14: There were no front-running winners, but deep closers were not dominant. Horses who were 2-3-4-5 early won nine of the 10 Polytrack races. My track bias rating for this day is 80.

April 15: The early leader won the 4 1/2-furlong race. Half of the other six Polytrack races were won from the front half of the field. There were no other front-running winners, but two winners from second-place at the first call. My track bias rating is 83.

April 18: Oddly, the 4 1/2-furlong winner came from sixth, but this was still the most speed-favoring day of the meet so far. There was a front-running winner, and two winners from second. Five of the seven winners came from the front half of the field. This day earned a 128 track bias rating.

April 19: This was a throwback to the old-school Keeneland dirt biases of the past. It was a genuine speed-favoring day. There were three winning front-runners. Two other winners came from second. And six of the seven races were won from the front half of the pack. The track bias rating is 200.

April 20: The 4 1/2-furlong winner came from fourth. Five of the eight other Polytrack races came from the rear half of the pack, but there was a front-running winner, and two winners from second. The track bias rating is 87.

April 21: Early and tactical speed were best. There were three winning first-call leaders, with another winner from second. Six of the eight Polytrack winners came from the front half of the pack. The day earned a 162 track bias rating.

April 22: Closers won most of the races on Polytrack. Just two winners came from the front half of the field. They were third and fourth at the first call. The track bias rating is 28.

April 25: There was one winning first-call leader, but most of the races were won from mid-pack and farther behind. The track bias rating is 64.

April 26: No front-running winners. One winner came from second. Off-the-pace runners were best. This day earned a 62 track bias rating.