Keeneland threw itself an 85th anniversary party and horseplayers responded with a wagering gift: a record $181 million in all-sources handle for its just-concluded Fall Meet.

Independence Hall-Keeneland record handle
Independence Hall (right), pulled away from Code of Honor in the Keeneland slop to win Saturday’s Grade 2 Fayette. This final stakes race of Keeneland’s Fall Meet helped the track bring in a record handle of more than $181 million. (Image: Coady Photography)

The 17-day Fall Meet, which ran from Oct. 8-30, brought an all-sources handle of $181,009,626. That destroyed the previous mark of $164,680,229, set during the 2021 Spring Meet in April. It also smashed the previous Fall Meet mark of $160,207,916 set two years ago. This year’s record wagering haul surpassed last fall’s mark of $148,229,708 by 22%.

“Welcoming fans back to Keeneland this fall, along with the return of our special events and tailgating on The Hill, felt like a breath of fresh air after the restrictions of the past year and a half,” Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin said in a statement. “It was a terrific way to mark our 85th year of racing and to celebrate the important role Keeneland plays in our community and the horse industry.”

Horseplayers wasted little time responding to a meet record 22 stakes races and $6 million in stakes purses. On what the track calls “Fall Stars Saturday,” Oct. 9, Keeneland set records for Fall Meet single-day all-sources wagering and Pick 5 wagering. That day’s all-sources handle hit nearly $21 million ($20,926,640), besting 2019’s haul of $18,392,756 by 12%.

Keeneland’s Turf Pick 3 may grow to other tracks

The All-Stakes Pick 5 brought in $1,244,080, shattering the mark of $868,303 set last year.

This year, Keeneland established a new wager that likely will get legs at other tracks around the country: the Turf Pick 3. That race and its $3 minimum mandated bettors pick the winners of the final three turf races each day. Bettors took to the 15% takeout, producing total handle for the wager of $1,683,502, an average of $112,233 per day.

Keeneland officials said the average payout on the Turf Pick 3 was more than $1,300 for a $3 wager.

The Lexington, KY. track wrapped up its Fall Meet with three stakes Saturday, headed by the Grade 2 Fayette. Independence Hall captured his first race in nearly a year, beating the retiring Code of Honor by more than seven lengths. The Fayette win on a sloppy track for the Constitution colt was his first graded stakes score since the 2019 Grade 3 Nashua at Aqueduct. That came nearly two years ago.