October 3, 2022 | By Jeremy Plonk/
Originally published on

Welcome to a continuing handicapping series for our Monday blog space, “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities.


The Kentucky Downs turf horses are where you should focus for Keeneland’s Fall Meet on grass.


With no turf racing at Churchill Downs during its September stand, the natural assumption for horseplayers at Keeneland – which begins Friday – will be to focus on the grass horses who last raced at Kentucky Downs. How do those performers fare historically? Let’s go to the numbers.

Data Points:

I fired up the Betmix database to look at all Fall Meet races run at Keeneland going back to 2014. I looked at win percentages and $1 ROI for each horse who raced at Keeneland on turf and dirt via Kentucky Downs final preps and compared vs. all other venues.


Horses exiting Kentucky Downs races won 9.2% on the Keeneland turf with a $0.59 ROI.
Horses exiting other venues than Kentucky Downs won 10.4% on the Keeneland turf with a $0.83 ROI.


Horses exiting Kentucky Downs races won 11.9% on the Keeneland dirt with a $0.92 ROI.
Horses exiting other venues than Kentucky Downs won 12.8% on the Keeneland dirt with a $0.76 ROI.

Bottom line:

The Kentucky Downs-prepped turf horses have underperformed on grass at Keeneland in terms of win percentage (-2.2%) and especially $1 ROI for every $1 bet (-$0.24) when compared to horses from all other venues. Interestingly, it’s on dirt where the Kentucky Downs-prepped value lies, posting a sharp $0.92 ROI (+$0.16 compared to all other venues). The numbers – in the past at least – indicate the Kentucky Downs turf path isn’t what the perception is. But that could change without Churchill turfers available this meet. But expect the KD horses to be overbet to start the meet, and be flexible in hopping on board if this trend shifts due to the CD situation.

Additional details:

You can go into Betmix and run your own queries for a deeper dive into this theory and any that you can create. For instance, was there a particular class of race in which the KD performers did better or worse at Keeneland?