Is Kentucky Downs’ America’s best betting product? Proof is in the payoffs

August 31, 2021

FRANKLIN, Ky. (Monday, Aug. 30, 2021) — When it comes to Kentucky Downs making its case as the best betting product in America, the proof is in the payoffs. 

Last year’s average return for a $1 exacta at Kentucky Downs was $65.32, $75.99 for the $1 double, $269.20 for the 50-cent trifecta, $374.06 for the 50-cent Pick 3 and $23,076 for the 50-cent Pick 5. Even the $2 win payoff average was a healthy $16.73.

The all-grass FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs runs this Sunday, Labor Day Monday and Sept. 6, 8, 9, 11 and 12. First post is 12:20 p.m. Central.

“One of the highlights for handicappers and for fans is that you get this amalgamation of horses from different racing circuits around the country that you normally only get at a meet like the Breeders’ Cup,” said Ken Kirchner, Kentucky Downs’ Director of Wagering Development: “When you have more than $2 million a day in purses, not only are your stakes races this mix of New York, Kentucky, Florida, California and other horses, you have that in the maiden and allowance races across the board. It’s just a fascinating exercise for the handicapper to say, ‘Gosh, I can find great value every single race of this meet.’”

Kentucky Downs offers full fields and large betting pools — the formula for big payouts. Last year Kentucky Downs averaged a $3,295 payoff for its 50-cent Pick Four, with the betting pool averaging $357,778, according to an Equibase analysis. With the Pick 4 one of racing’s most popular bets, Kentucky Downs has added a third daily Pick 4 to its betting menu for 2021.

Kirchner said there “is not another meet in the country that matches up with Kentucky Downs” as far as betting value. Kirchner is an internationally recognized expert on simulcasting and wagering who, as a senior vice president for both industry organizations, was instrumental in creation of the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) for the Breeders’ Cup and the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

“I would almost equate this one-week meet at Kentucky Downs to Royal Ascot, where it is so unique in terms of the racing surface, the mix of horses and horsemen, the top jockeys all coming in from around the country,” Kirchner said. “This has that Royal Ascot meets county fair-type feel at Kentucky Downs.”

Contests offer ‘chance to turn small bankroll into big reward’

Kirchner also was involved in expanding Kentucky Downs’ 2021 King of the Turf Handicapping Challenge presented by Daily Racing Form into a trio of two-day handicapping contests spanning the entire meet.

Seats at the 2022 NHC will be awarded to the top finishers in all three individual competitions, with seats for the 2021 BCBC also up for grabs in the final two contests. The overall winner who participates in all three contests over the six dates will be crowned National Turf Handicapping Champion and earn additional prize money, along with the National Turf Handicapping Champion Trophy presented by BetMakers.

The separate online tournaments are live-money events, meaning that entrants use a real bankroll and get to keep whatever they might earn. All contest bets must be placed through the TVG, 4NJBets or Xpressbet advance-deposit wagering platforms.

“We’re excited about the new tournament format,” Kirchner said. “It’s a very unique format. With the betting value and being a live-money contest, players have a chance to turn a small bankroll into a big reward.”

For more information or to sign up, contact tournament director Brian Skirka at

Click here for complete rules

Kentucky Downs Press Release

Photos: Courtesy of Kentucky Downs

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