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Kentucky Downs: Numbers bloom, Handicapping angles emerge

By Gary West


The first three days at Kentucky Downs produced record numbers, standout racing, and a tale of two courses. The early racing emphasized some constants — such as winning favorites and success for horses from Arlington Park and Saratoga — but also stressed the importance of observation and warned handicappers against inflexible assumptions, reminding them that circumstances can change as fast as, well, the weather. Most of all, though, the racing supported the premise that Kentucky Downs, because of the quality of its racing and the value of its wagering, has become one of America’s most bettor-friendly racetracks.


On opening day, Sept. 7, Kentucky Downs handled $2,837,897 in wagers from all sources, a record for the all-turf-all-the-time racetrack in Franklin, Ky., and an increase of 108 percent from a year ago. A week later, the track was host to what was arguably the best day of racing in its history, with more than $1.3 million offered in purses. Boji Moon sparkled in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile, stalking the pace and then popping with the suddenness of a champagne cork to win by more than five lengths in his turf debut. It was his third win in as many starts, with his margins of victory totaling, with the help of a calculator, nearly 30 lengths.


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