09/07/2001 12:00AM

Keeneland reduces takeout, pick 5 possible


The takeout rate at Keeneland's fall meet this year will be reduced to 16 percent for all wagers, racing officials said Friday.

The cut will make exotic and superexotic bets at Keeneland the cheapest in the country. Takeout on those bets, which include exactas, daily doubles, trifectas, pick threes and superfectas, was previously 19 percent. Nick Nicholson, the president of Keeneland, said in a release that the track was influenced by the decision this summer by the New York Racing Association to reduce the takeout on most bets.

"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 said.

Keeneland, which will hold a live race meet this fall from Oct. 5 to Oct. 27, will also coordinate its post times with Belmont Park in New York, the racing officials said, so that races from the tracks alternate every 15 minutes.

Keeneland is also hoping to receive approval from the Kentucky Racing Commission to drop its pick six wager in favor of a $1 pick 5. In Kentucky, bettors have not warmed to the pick 6, which is most popular in New York and California.

The changes are meant to spur handle on the Keeneland signal, especially in the out-of-state market, where bettors are increasingly migrating towards signals with low takeouts and full fields. By coordinating its post times with Belmont, Keeneland is hoping bettors do not have to make a choice between two of the most popular signals in the country during the fall.

Keeneland was advised to cut takeout and establish the pick 5 by Ken Kirchner, the simulcasting director of Breeders' Cup.