Keeneland Racetrack betting is some of the most competitive in North America. The two race meets per year – with a special summer meeting in July 2020 – are considered as special and boutique as the meets at Saratoga and Del Mar. The horses, trainers, and jockeys are all first class.
Keeneland is also a worldwide leader in horse auctions. Millions of dollars of equine athletes are sold each year at the September Yearling Sale, with $13.1 in 1985 being the highest price ever for a Keeneland yearling. In 2019, an American Pharoah filly sold for $8.4 million.
Keeneland Betting Online
The Keeneland spring meeting is rich with stakes races offering the best horse racing odds and competition.
The races are as follows:
- $1 million, Grade 2 Toyota Blue Grass for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles.
- $500,000, Grade 1 Central Bank Ashland for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles
- $400,000, Grade 1 Maker’s 46 Mile for 4-year-olds and up at 1 mile (turf)
- $350,000, Grade 1 Coolmore Jenny Wiley for fillies and mares 4 and older at 1 1/16 miles (turf)
- $300,000, Grade 1 Madison for fillies and mares 4 and older at 7 furlongs
- $250,000, Grade 3 Commonwealth for 4-year-olds and up at 7 furlongs
- $250,000, Grade 2 Dixiana Elkhorn for 4-year-olds and up at 1½ miles (turf)
- $200,000, Grade 2 Shakertown for 3-year-olds and up at 5½ furlongs (turf)
- $200,000, Grade 2 Appalachian Presented by Japan Racing Association for 3-year-old fillies at 1 mile (turf)
- $200,000, Grade 3 Stonestreet Lexington for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles
- $200,000, Grade 3 Ben Ali for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles
- $150,000, Grade 3 Beaumont Presented by Keeneland Select for 3-year-old fillies at 7 furlongs
- $150,000, Grade 3 Kentucky Utilities Transylvania for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles (turf)
- $150,000 Giant’s Causeway for fillies and mares 3 and older at 5 ½ furlongs (turf)
- $150,000, Grade 3 Baird Doubledogdare for fillies and mares 4 and older at 1 1/16 miles
- $150,000, Grade 3 Bewitch for fillies and mares 4 and older at 1½ miles (turf)
- $100,000 Limestone Turf Sprint for 3-year-old fillies at 5½ furlongs (turf)
That's just the spring meet. The Blue Grass is a Kentucky Derby prep race, while the Ashland is a Kentucky Oaks prep race. Both offer 100 Road to the Derby or Road to the Oaks points to their respective winners.
The fall meeting is also full of rich horse races and Breeders’ Cup preps. The schedule goes:
- $1 Million, Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile for 3-year-olds and up at 1 mile (turf)
- $500,000, Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster for fillies and mares 3 years old and up at 1 1/8 miles
- $500,000, Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles
- $500,000, Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane’s End for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles (turf)
- $400,000, Grade 1 First Lady for fillies and mares 3 years old and up at 1 mile (turf)
- $400,000, Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles
- $250,000, Grade 2 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix for 3-year-olds and up at 6 furlongs.
- $250,000, Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America for fillies and mares 3 years old and up at 6 furlongs
- $250,000, Grade 2 Lexus Raven Run for 3-year-old fillies at 7 furlongs
- $250,000, Grade 3 Dixiana Bourbon for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles (turf)
- $200,000, Grade 2 Woodford Presented by Keeneland Select for 3-year-olds and up at 5 1/2 furlongs (turf)
- $200,000 Indian Summer for 2-year-olds at 5 1/12 furlongs (turf)
- $200,000, Grade 2 Hagyard Fayette for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles
- $200,000, Grade 2 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles (turf)
- $150,000, Grade 3 Buffalo Trace Franklin County for fillies and mares 3 years old and up at 5 1/2 furlongs (turf)
- $150,000, Grade 3 Sycamore for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/2 miles (turf)
- $150,000, Grade 3 Pin Oak Valley View for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles (turf)
- $125,000, Grade 3 Rood & Riddle Dowager for fillies and mares 3 years old and up at 1 1/2 miles (turf)
How to Bet Keeneland
Keeneland betting includes playing the best jockeys and trainers. Top riders are Julien Leparoux, Javier Castellano, Corey Lanerie, Jose Ortiz, and Tyler Gaffalione. Top trainers include Chad Brown, Mike Maker, Wesley Ward, and Brad Cox.
Keeneland offers $1 win, place, and show bets, as well as bets (minimum Keeneland wagers in parenthesis):
- Exacta ($1)
- Trifecta (50 cents)
- Superfecta (10 cents)
- Rolling Doubles ($1)
- Pick Four (50 cents)
- Super High Five (50 cents)
- Pick Five (50 cents)
- Pick Six ($1)
Keeneland Betting Tips
To cash a winning ticket at Keeneland, bettors can go in person to the windows, mail the ticket in, or visit Keeneland's drive-thru betting. The Keeneland drive-thru betting hours are from 8 am until the feature race every day during Keeneland's live meeting.
For Keeneland payouts and wagering rules, the Pick Three is refunded if there is a scratch from your ticket in the first leg. If there is a scratch in the second or third leg, the ticket holder is entitled to a consolation payout. If the racing surface is abruptly changed due to weather, the bettor receives an All Win situation where any horse in that race is counted as a win.
For the Pick Four, there are no consolation payouts. A late scratch in any leg means the bettor is assigned the race favorite as a substitute. There are no carryovers in the Pick Four; it pays out every day.
Keeneland Breeders Cup
Keeneland held the Breeders’ Cup for the first time in 2015. It will host it again in 2020 on November 6 and 7.
Keeneland was not considered a host site for a long time because of the size of the beautiful venue. Its maximum crowds are under 38,000 people, with the Breeders’ Cup bringing many thousands more than that at other venues such as Churchill Downs or Santa Anita. Temporary seating was installed and horses were trained out of barns across the road, rather than on the Keeneland grounds.
American Pharoah at Keeneland
When three-time Breeders' Cup winner Beholder was scratched out of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic, that left Triple Crown winner American Pharoah as a heavy favorite to win the race. The Bob Baffert-trained son of Pioneerof the Nile faced Grade 1 winners Honor Code, Keen Ice, Tonalist, and Frosted, as well as Irish star Gleneagles, and trounced them all by 6 1/2 lengths. The horse who ran second, 33-1 shot Effinex, became a Grade 1 winner in his very next start.
Victor Espinoza rode the famous winner, who had previously won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Haskell Invitational, and Arkansas Derby. American Pharoah retired with nine wins in 11 starts and earnings of $8.6 million.
His feat of winning the Triple Crown and the Breeders' Cup Classic, now called winning horse racing’s Grand Slam, has not been duplicated since.
Other winners on the day included the filly Found defeating the great Golden Horn in the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1). The Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) went to unbeaten Nyquist, who would go on to win the Kentucky Derby. Also in the race was future Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator.
The Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) went to the filly Tepin, who beat a world-class field by more than two lengths. Mark Casse trained the winner, who scored under top Keeneland jockey Julien Leparoux.
The Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) went to popular Runhappy, trained by Maria Borell. The Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf went to Stephanie's Kitten, who beat heavily favored Legatissimo (Ire).
Mongolian Saturday won the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) by a neck, while Wavell Avenue won the Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) at 10-1 odds over New York star La Verdad.
The Friday races were also thrilling. Songbird won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) en route to winning 12 races in a row. Irish runner Hit It a Bomb paid $16.40 when winning the Juvenile Turf (G1) for Aidan O'Brien and jockey Ryan Moore. The Dirt Mile went to Liam's Map by 2 1/2 lengths in a stellar performance, beating Grade 1 winners Lea and Wicked Strong. Canadian-based Catch a Glimpse was a very popular winner in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), and the Distaff went to Stopchargingmaria in a rough race filled with bumping.
2020 Breeders Cup
The 2020 Breeders’ Cup will take place at Keeneland on November 6 and 7. There will be $35 million in purses topped by the $7 million Longines Classic and the $6 million Longines Turf. Seven more races, the Distaff, Mile, Sprint, Juvenile, Juvenile Fillies, Filly, and Mare Turf, and Dirt Mile, are worth $2 million each.
Keeneland would like to host the Breeders’ Cup every few years as part of a rotation with Santa Anita, Churchill Downs, and Del Mar. It is likely that the Breeders' Cup will be back at Keeneland again in the future.