04/09/2015 9:58AM

Horseplayers' group names Kentucky Downs top track


The Horseplayers Association of North America, a coalition of racing fans, has named Kentucky Downs in Franklin the top racetrack in the U.S., displacing Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., which had held the association’s top spot since it launched the rankings seven years ago.

The principal criteria for the rankings are field size, takeout, and handle. Kentucky Downs, which used subsidies from slot-machine-like devices to boost purses to almost $1 million a day in 2014 – and which only runs on turf – had an average field size last year of 10.75 horses per race, easily the best in North America. In addition, its blended takeout rate is the lowest in the country.

HANA noted in its release announcing the new list that handle at Kentucky Downs has grown from approximately $900,000 per day in 2011 to $3 million in 2014.

While Keeneland has similarly low takeout rates (Kentucky Downs’s blended rate is slightly lower), the track’s field size suffered last year due to heavy rains during the track’s fall meet, which was the first held over a dirt surface since 2006. Keeneland replaced its artificial surface between its spring and fall meets last year.