by Steve Moody
Keeneland bettors get “free” money in
guaranteed Pick 4
Keeneland made its first venture into guaranteed betting pools
with mixed results Sunday. The Pick 4 was offered with a $300,000
guaranteed purse and a lowered 17 percent takeout, but despite
the attractiveness of the bet and all the promotion, the actual
pool came up a bit short at $244,896. That meant Keeneland had to
ante up just over $55,000 to bring the pool up to the guarantee.
The winners in the whole deal were the bettors who saw their
winning tickets balloon to $418.80 even though three of four
races were won by favorites and the other was listed at 4-1 in
the morning line. One of the favorites was the champion mare
Azeri (Jade Hunter), who eased away from rivals late to win the
Spinster at 2-5 odds. Even though her presence essentially made
the bet a Pick 3, the payoffs were still very robust.
There were $1,189 worth of winning tickets purchased and if
the payoff had been figured on the actual pool, it would have
been $341.80 for a $2 ticket. Winning bettors got $77 added to
each $2 ticket. Free money is rarely there for the taking in
racing outside of carryover pools, but bettors got some of it on
Keeneland officials were reportedly meeting Tuesday to discuss
the situation and to determine whether to go forward with two
more scheduled guaranteed Pick 4’s on Sunday, October 17, and
Sunday, October 24. As of this writing, Keeneland has decided to
continue with the guaranteed pools, but they’ll reduce the Pick 4s
to only the guaranteed one in races 6-9. Normally, Keeneland
offers the Pick 4s in races 2-5, 4-7 and the last four.
On Sunday with the guaranteed pool, the middle Pick-4 had
already been eliminated. Keeneland claims the decision to now
eliminate the Pick 4 on races 2-5 was made to remove any
confusion about which Pick 4 was guaranteed. Bettors who normally
play all the Pick 4s have had their options drastically reduced.
Last Sunday’s early Pick 4 had a pool of only $44,919.
HORSES TO WATCH
1ST — The early leaders barely changed position from start to
finish in the meet’s first race, but MINING FOR SILVER (Silver
Charm) did rally from dead last to finish a decent fifth.
TRICKY DEVIL (Coronado’s Quest) ran a freakishly fast time
while breaking her maiden, stopping the timer in 1:14 4/5 for 6 1/2
furlongs, just one tick off the track record.
2ND — BARTENDING MIKE (Dove Hunt) was sent off as the 8-5
choice while dropping in claiming price, but appeared to clip
heels in the first turn and didn’t look good finishing through
the stretch on the wrong lead.
3RD — ROYAL EPIC (Tale of the Cat), the 9-5 favorite, was
unsettled when loaded in the gate, then ran into some trouble in
the first turn.
MOTHER SUPERIOR (Petionville) was steadied sharply when
Conduct (Broad Brush) bore out on the first turn.
WINNING SEASON (Lemon Drop Kid) was never able to save any
ground from post 11and could do no better than seventh.
4TH — TORNADO WARNING (Belek) was hard used trying to the get
to the front from the outside, but could never get there and was
hung four wide.
7TH — SUPER FUSE (Lite the Fuse) was off slowly in the
Phoenix Breeders’ Cup (G3) and was steadied at the head of the
lane before unleashing a big late run to finish fourth.
CLOCK STOPPER (Gilded Time) rallied from far back while wide,
but ran into some trouble in mid-stretch and could not get
eventual winner Champali (Glitterman) in the final yards.
9TH — SHARP LISA (Dixieland Band) ran a bang-up race in her
second career start, finishing second in the Alcibiades (G2). She
was steadied for a stride or two at the head of the lane, then
found running room when she dove to the rail in the very late
going only to be outfinished by RUNWAY MODEL (Petionville).
4TH — CHEKHOV, a $3.3 million Pulpit colt, didn’t have the
best of trips in his debut despite finishing second. He was away
slowly and had only three rivals beaten after a half-mile. After
being steadied briefly at the five-furlong pole, he launched a
good late run. Doesn’t figure to remain a maiden much longer.
STUDENT COUNCIL (Kingmambo) was well back in the early going,
then made a big middle move while wide to finish fourth.
7TH — PATRIOT ACT (A.P. Indy), who’s still a maiden, ran a
big race to finish second in the Breeders’ Futurity (G2). The
colt was going long for the first time and rallied strongly from
off the pace to be only two lengths behind the front-running
winner Consolidator (Storm Cat).
9TH — ASPEN TREE (Holy Bull) was wide through the early part
of this race, then steadied in behind the leaders turning for
home. He found running room late along the rail and finished well
to be second.
1ST — MAJOR FOCUS (Major Impact) was steadied between rivals
early and again turning for home before settling for sixth in
this claiming race.
2ND — LIKE TO DO (Scatmandu) was unruly in the post parade
and in the starting gate, tossing rider Calvin Borel before the
start. She was rank during the running as well, finishing last
after flashing brief speed.
3RD — CONFIRMED (Unbridled’s Song) was steadied going into
the first turn and was last when heading up the backstretch. He
began to steadily pick off rivals and wore down the leader in the
5TH — SOUTHERN SURPRISE (Northern Prospect) was in position
turning for home, but had to check and offered no further