If I wanted to figure out if a FREE picks website was any good, these are some of the questions I would ask.
Q: If your picks are so good, why do you give them away for free? A: We are betting our own picks, so we are confident that we will be getting paid. Also, the pools are pretty deep at Keeneland and the traffic on our site isn't heavy enough yet to get us too worried about you ruining our odds. Plus, think about how rewarding it is when you give somebody a winner. It feels good to be right.
Q: Why don't you provide picks for other tracks? A: We have a lot of experience with the Keeneland meets, and we found that it is one of the few tracks where we can make a sizeable profit over the long haul. Also, we have full time jobs in the Finance world, and those time demands do not allow for intense analysis year-round.
Q: What is your method for handicapping the races? A: The Keeneland meets are unique and you need to apply a different approach than you would at other tracks. The meets are short and draw horses and trainers from a variety of different circuits and surfaces, which tends to limit comparative races and makes speed & pace handicapping difficult. Class handicapping is tough too --there are plenty of well-bred, accomplished horses in the Keeneland meets, but often they might be racing off of a layoff or are inexperienced with the Keeneland surface. Trainer angles can still be useful to find winners, but the easy access to these stats now makes them less valuable. Our method starts with a quick quantitative assessment of who the logical contenders might be and what would generally be the fair odds. Then using the traditional handicapping methods (speed, pace, class, form, trainer, breeding -- we've read all of the books), we adjust that simple opinion based on what factors work best given the conditions of that particular race. And then, the pattern recognition from years of handicapping the Keeneland card and watching the races in person starts to kick in. Finally, we construct a bet that we think gives us the best chance to produce a positive long-term return on investment.
Q: Do you really bet all of your picks exactly as you have given them? A: Generally we do, but sometimes last minute circumstances call for adjustments on the fly: scratches, weather changes, track bias, jockey changes, shorter-than-warranted odds, unusual early or late money, how the horse looks in the paddock or warming up. But the keenelandpicks.com ROI and Historical Record are only calculated based on the exact bets that were suggested on the website.
Q: I have some photos that could really improve the Photos page. Do you want them? A: Absolutely! Send your Keeneland-related photos (horses, people, grounds, etc) to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get them posted. For that matter, we welcome all contributions and suggestions for our site.
Q: How much should I bet? A: The simple answer is "however much you can afford to lose" -- this is gambling after all. But generally, the bet amounts on our site are intended for the person with a $200 bankroll for the day. You can adjust the bets proportionately to your own bankroll. The more sophisticated answer is to employ the Kelly criterion. This is a formula developed by a Bell Labs researcher, which suggested varying the amount that you bet by the "edge" that you have. Google it.