Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:05 AM

At the Gate - Thursday

It looks as if that temper tantrum we had last fall after Keeneland raised their takeout rates has paid off.

Many horseplayers, myself included, decided to boycott the fall Keeneland meeting after the racetrack decided to raise takeout. The track raised takeout on win, place and show wagering from 16% to 17.5% and from 19% to 22% on other wagers.

Horseplayers took a stand and track executives noticed.

Takeout on win, place and show has been dropped back to 16% while exactas will go from 22% down to 19.5%.

“Keeneland’s goals are mission-oriented, and we continually review, measure and listen to our customers across all business lines to ensure our operations promote the health and vibrancy of the horse industry,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “The changes to takeout last fall were aimed at further enhancing the quality of our racing program. We were successful in that goal and will offer a season record $4.4 million in stakes purses this spring.

“Higher wagering also generates purse money, and we believe these takeout rates strike a competitive balance to which our customers will respond favorably,” Elliston said. “We targeted win, place and show and exacta wagers because they make up nearly 60 percent of our total wagers.”

Keeneland got plenty of bad publicity over their price hike last fall, and horseplayers can chalk this one up as a small win for the good guys.

To purchase my Aqueduct Report for Thursday click here .

Here is the opening race from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:

AQU Race 1 Md $20,000 (12:50 ET)
#5 Buy for Less 4-1
#6 Ouro Verde 1-1
#2 Matinee Babe 5-2
#3 New York Event 15-1

Analysis: Buy for Less has just four starts under her belt and more upside than some of these that include a 0 for 40 and a 0 for 20. Last out she came back off a 3 1/2 month break and checked in fifth for a $40,000 tag for Jacobson. Her two previous starts came on turf, a fifth and a sixth. She is by Bodemeister out of the stakes winner Ayla Bella ($107,206) who has dropped three winners.

Ouro Verde had the lead heading for the wire but got run down, beaten a neck for her ninth in the money finish in a dozen starts. She is the logical one to beat but Donk is having a tough meeting and this gal loves to land for minor shares. Hard to back her for the top spot at even money.

WIN: #5 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 2,5,6
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 6 Alw $50,000s (3:26 ET)
#1 Diamond Setter 7-2
#6 Polar Outbreak 3-1
#2 Regalian 2-1
#4 Factor This 4-1

Analysis: Diamond Setter gets the call and with three of these exiting the Remsen this guy hopefully gets overlooked a bit. He made a good late rally to graduate last out against state bred $50,000 foes going 6 1/2 furlongs. Comparing Beyers in their maiden wins this guy has the best fig. The third-place finisher Beyond Honor returned to graduate in his next start on Dec. 16 for a $50,000 tag. He returns off a 2 1/2 month break her and has enough pedigree to handle the extra ground.

Polar Outbreak broke his maiden at Philly for a $20,000 tag in his second career start and then was second last out against Alw-1 optional claimers at Laurel Park going two turns in his first start against winners. The winner went gate to wire and checked in fifth in the Frank Whitely in his next outing. The colt still looks as if he has some upside.

WIN: #1 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,6 / 1,2,4,6
TRI: 1,6 / 1,2,4,6 / 1,2,4,6,7

Live Longshots:
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.

R1: #3 New York Event 15-1
R4: #2 Jeter 8-1
R5: #2 Da Wildcat Girl 8-1
R7: #5 Decorator Jenn 10-1

Good luck today!

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