While synthetic tracks remain a work in progress in Thoroughbred racing, Keeneland has developed an innovative new database to help its handicappers get a better grasp of its Polytrack surface.
A handicapping tool, dubbed PolyCapping, will be unveiled this week when the track launches its redesigned Web site in advance of the start of its fall meet, which begins on Oct. 3.
The new database, which is free to access, will allow horseplayers to search for a wide range of information on winners of Keeneland races since Oct. 2006, including positions at key junctures of the race, last start, workout information, track maintenance and temperature.
"The concept behind this was everyone had their theory on what was important," said Julie Balog, digital marketing manager for Keeneland. "Rather than bundle it all together and tell them, 'This is what we think you want,' we're going to let them choose what they think is important."
PolyCapping was developed in partnership with Jeremy Plonk, editor of HorsePlayer magazine, and also includes data from Keeneland's past turf races. Once the fall meet gets under way, the data will be updated at the end of each card.
Nick Nicholson, president of Keeneland, said part of the motivation behind the creation of PolyCapping was to address the apprehension some bettors felt about handicapping races over the sometimes unpredictable surface.
"We recognized we have a new surface, fuller fields than we've ever had before, much less track bias than we've ever had before ... so the more data we can give people the better," Nicholson said.
"What got lost in all this is (that) the acceptance of this new surface has been extremely positive. The four meets we've had on this surface have been the four most successful meets in the history of Keeneland."