Winning Post Positions: Keeneland Turf
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

Keeneland is one of America’s premiere racetracks, and for many good reasons. Its boutique approach to race meets in combination with a beautiful location (in the heart of breeding country) is only the beginning of what makes Keeneland so great. They’ve also mastered “the details” of providing great on-track customer experience (fast WiFi, hands-on betting help and well-priced, bettable races).

Another detail that puts Keeneland over the top is that they make data about their races freely available in an easy to use format, something that unfortunately doesn’t happen very often in racing. In 2008, two years after installing their now defunct synthetic surface, Keeneland offered the ‘Polycappng Database” as a way to help players better understand how to handicap their new surface. While the polytrack information is obviously less useful now, they also captured information about their turf course going back to 2006.

As I was readying for the fall 2014 meet I was wondering about post position stats for the turf races. After grabbing the data it was relatively easy to put together the following stats for winning post positions over Keeneland’s turf course by distance.

Winning Post Positions by Distance over Keeneland’s Turf 2006 – Fall 2016
Does not include 2015 Breeders’ Cup races

View our D3.js visualization of this data

A few notes: The post positions that display N/A have not had any starters at the distance in the time frame. The post positions highlighted in green have produced the highest numbers of wins at the distance. The post positions that have produced no winners at the distance are highlighted in red.

We’ve made a few updates since publishing this post. In addition to the number of wins we’ve added a percentage column and the total number of starts at the distance in the last row. We’ve also added a column for average $1 odds (final, not morning line). It’s not surprising that none of of the posts that have produced the highest amount of winners have the highest average winning odds.

Those posts with a low number of wins and relatively chalky average odds (e.g., posts 1 & 11 at 5.5 F, post 11 at 8 F) reinforce the notion that a good horse is more likely to overcome an unfortunate post. On the other hand, there’s only been one winner from post 3 at 9.5 F at odds of roughly 13-1.

The Keeneland Handicapping Database is updated after each race day. We will update this post at the end of the every meet as opposed to daily throughout the meet.

As with all handicapping information, post position alone is only small piece of the puzzle. And, we did not drill down deeper to factor condition of the surface (firm, yielding, etc), number of entrants, race conditions or running styles and pace scenarios. But, you can always grab the data for yourself and investigate further!

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  • Dana, love the post position information. Quick clarification – do you have the data on how many starts have been taken at each post position? Would be helpful to know as there are less starts as post positions get higher.


    Steve Mercieca

  • Hi Steve, thanks for stopping by.

    Great question! I should be able to compile that from Keeneland’s data, check back at the end of the weekend. That will be a helpful edition!

  • Steve – I’ve redone the whole thing, adding the total for each distance and the percentage for each post position. I’ve also added the data from this year’s spring meet.

    Thanks again for the suggestion!

  • very use thanks

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