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Jeremy Plonk has worked in the racing industry professionally for 20 years and has been a statistical consultant to Keeneland, Del Mar and Oaklawn Park, as well as NBC Sports and ESPN. He has been a national racing columnist for ESPN.com and Daily Racing Form and is the owner of Horse Player NOW, creators of the Night School national fan education program. A former chart caller for Equibase, he continues to be a public handicapper in the Horse Player NOW BUZZ report.
JEREMY PLONK'S 2013 FALL MEET PREVIEW
Part 1 of 2
We commence the eighth Fall Meeting in the Polytrack era at Keeneland when racing returns Friday, October 4 to Lexington. This session is a melting pot like no other in American racing. An unbelievable 50 – yes 50! – different last-out prep venues have produced Keeneland Fall Meet winners since the 2006 advent of Polytrack. The 2012 Fall Meet added even a few new ones to that list, from as far flung as European forays like Rome and York, to little Mount Pleasant Meadows in Michigan.
When handicapping Keeneland, knowing where horses from each circuit are most successful is a major angle for discerning horseplayers. From free information gleaned out of the Polycapping database (available to all at Keeneland.com), here’s my study of where the winners come from – and most importantly where they fit the best.
FALL 2012 LAST-PREP LOCALES OF MEET WINNERS
20 Presque Isle Downs
19 Kentucky Downs
15 Keeneland (ran more than once at meet)
14 Turfway (no September meet in ’13)
4 Churchill, Monmouth, Woodbine
’06-‘12 FALL LAST-PREP LOCALES OF WINNERS
112 Keeneland (ran more than once at meet)
80 Presque Isle
79 Kentucky Downs
29 Ellis Park
NYRA’s (Saratoga/Belmont) Kee Fall Meet winners
2006 21 2007 28
2008 24 2009 21
2010 28 2011 32
JP’s NYRA synopsis: Extremely potent at the higher-class races, and the recent trend is becoming even more dangerous during this meet – 12 of the 18 stakes races during ’12 Fall Meet were won by NYRA preppers. Look more for Saratoga than Belmont types (8-4 in stakes wins).
Arlington’s Kee Fall Meet Winners
2006 14 2007 18
2008 27 2009 35
2010 25 2011 27
JP’s Arlington synopsis: A precipitous drop-off last Fall can’t go unnoticed after 4 straight very strong meets of production, perhaps indicating a weakened meet in Chicago. Also noteworthy is that 5 of those 16 wins in 2012 Fall at Keeneland came in 2YO maiden special weight races (3 of those on turf).
Kentucky Downs’ Kee Fall Meet Winners
2006 11 2007 9
2008 13 2009 10
2010 10 2011 7
JP’s Kentucky Downs synopsis: I predicted in this space last year a record # of Fall Meet winners at Keeneland via the Kentucky Downs meet, but even I didn’t see a whopping 19 of them coming. Most importantly, they averaged 8-1 odds and boasted only 2 favorites among those 19 wins! Keep in mind Kentucky Downs raced only 6 days in 2012 and this year it’s a 5-day meeting. While the raw #s may drop this year, expect the quality of each of the KD invaders to be highly worth your evaluation given the exorbitant purses raced for and depth of those fields in Franklin, Ky.
Presque Isle Downs’ Kee Fall Meet Winners
2006 N/A 2007 12
2008 10 2009 12
2010 12 2011 14
JP’s Presque Isle Downs synopsis: PID shippers easily posted their most impressive Kee Fall showing in 2012. But the public has caught on with their success. PID winners averaged 8-1 odds over the first five meets of their Kee appearances, but last fall, only 2 of the 20 winners went off more than 6-1 with an average winner of 4-1 if you remove one crazy 45-1 shot. 14 of those wins came in claiming or starter allowance races. What’s really interesting is that the winners came from 18 different trainers, so it’s about the horse, not the barn.
Random Notes About Other Circuits
With no meetings at Turfway Park or Hoosier Park this year to lead into Keeneland, the prep forays will be quite different. Churchill Downs shippers from the September meeting obviously will take on a new life, while Indiana Downs runners should be new kids on the block that we’ll have to take a look-and-see approach with.
Woodbine’s stakes and allowance invaders have produced 20 of that circuit’s 24 winners at Keeneland in Fall Meets with only 4 of those 24 winners post-time favorites.
Ellis Park shippers accounted for only 3 wins last Fall at Keeneland, but they were 29-1, 23-1 and 5-1 price plays. In fact 10 of 29 Ellis winners all-time in Fall Meets have been 10-1 or more.
DAILY LIVE CHATS WITH THE EXPERTS
Join me and my handicapping partners Joe Kristufek and Caton Bredar throughout the 2013 Fall Meet for live chats during the Keeneland cards. Presented by Keeneland Select, the analysis begins daily at 12:30 p.m. ET and runs through the entire card, accompanied by free live streaming video. Access them through the live racing link on Keeneland.com.
DAILY STATS BLOG AT KEENELAND.COM
Each day I offer my statistical blog for the Keeneland racing card at Keeneland.com under the “Expert Picks” navigation in the site’s “Handicapping” section. Stats such as what you see here are incorporated into each race’s situation and past trends in hopes of landing on some winners. It’s free and exclusively at Keeneland.com.
WHERE TO FIND MY SELECTIONS FOR KEENELAND?
My website Horseplayernow.com is the exclusive home to my daily Keeneland key wagering strategies and horses to watch on the card, available in our Horse Player NOW BUZZ report. Purchase daily, or save money by investing in a subscription. The BUZZ includes my Keeneland information, but also info from around the country from our team of expert analysts. For more details, go to the “Products” section at Horseplayernow.com.
Part 2 of the 2013 Fall Meet Preview will be posted Thursday morning!