The Southern Agenda

Play the Ponies Like a Pro

Kentuckian Jonathan Fowler manages Keeneland’s crew of “betologists,” who teach novices the basics of wagering. Here are a few of his simple tips

Illustration: Illustrations by Tim Bower

  • Consider the distance.

    “Nearly every race is a different distance. You might have a horse that has done well at six furlongs, but has it done well at a little over a mile? If it’s new to this distance, focus on proven winners.”

  • Research trainers and owners.

    “Todd Pletcher is one of the top trainers in the country, so you want to look at his horses. Also look at trainers who have done well here. Wesley Ward, for example. Some owners do well here, too—like Ken Ramsey.”

  • Pay close attention to the track.

    “Our main track has recently come back to dirt. As far as reading it goes, that’s a day-by-day thing. If it has recently rained, that might favor front-runners.”