Kentucky Downs: 2021's Average Winning Pick 5 Payout Was $43,128 - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Kentucky Downs: 2021’s Average Winning Pick 5 Payout Was $43,128

A view of the paddock during the 2021 Kentucky Downs meet.

To horseplayer Dennis Poppe, Kentucky Downs provides all the tools one needs to make money betting horses, short of coming up with the winners in advance.

The all-grass FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs, which offers some of the largest purses for horse owners in the world, begins Thursday and continues Saturday, Sunday and Sept. 8, 10, 11 and 14. Post time is 12:25 p.m. Central every day except Sept. 10, when the first race is set for 11:30 a.m. CT.

Why bet Kentucky Downs? Poppe, a veteran handicapper who lives outside Seattle, responds in part with three numbers: $15.40, $2,205 and $43,128. Those were the average winning payouts, respectively, at the track in 2021 for a $2 win bet, the 50-cent Pick 4 and 50-cent Pick 5.

“Not a typo,” Poppe notes of the Pick 5.

Those payouts are the product of full fields (with Kentucky Downs averaging nearly 11 horses a race in recent years when 12 is capacity) and the lowest overall takeout in America. Takeout is the amount of money taken off the top of every dollar bet that goes toward purses for horsemen, taxes and the track's share.

Not only is the 16-percent takeout on win, place and show wagers lower than most tracks, Kentucky Downs also follows Ellis Park as the first tracks in the nation to pay out to the penny rather than rounding down to the nearest dime on a dollar bet. (That's thanks to legislation the Kentucky General Assembly passed in the spring.) Poppe's also a huge fan of the 14-percent takeout on the Pick 4 and Pick 5 bets, which he refers to as “raining bills.”

Said Poppe: “Kentucky Downs rewards players with larger payouts when you handicap the races correctly.”

Of course, that's always the rub, that business about being correct. But the higher payoffs can make up for errant handicapping or bad racing luck in other races.

The average return for a $1 double at Kentucky Downs' 2021 meet was $58.87, $73.15 for the $1 exacta and $235.85 for a 50-cent Pick 3, according to industry data-keeper Equibase. The 50-cent trifecta averaged $430.32.

“With the lowest takeout rates in the country, Kentucky Downs offers horseplayers the best value for their betting dollar of any track in the country,” said Ken Kirchner, Director of Wagering and Simulcasting at Kentucky Downs. “The payouts in the exotics pools are sensational, with 50-cent Pick 4s averaging over $2,200 and Pick 5s at over $43,000.”

“Full fields, top trainers and jockeys, large betting pools and purses over $2.5 million per day are a recipe for success for handicappers everywhere.”

According to an Equibase analysis, Kentucky Downs' Pick 5 betting pools averaged $544,211, the Pick 4 $263,716, exacta $253,126 and trifecta $152,672.

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