While no single race or track is more famous than the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Keeneland Race Track remains the gem of the state.
Keeneland, located in Lexington, seems born from the mind of a novelist: a quintessential English-inspired racing village nestled in the rolling hills of surrounding farms with fences that stretch as far as the eye can see. Stone walls blanketed in ivy give way to the manicured paddock area, where crowds of excited racing fans mill around to view the horses on parade. It really is a beautiful site -- something that instills great pride in every Kentuckian.
Nothing says spring (or autumn for that matter!) like a trip to Keeneland. Those of us hailing from the Cincinnati area tend to plan chaffeured transportation and an extensive tailgate party in the parking areas prior to the opening race. We've taken tour buses and even our Grandpa's motor home (we hired a driver who is also a professional Santa Claus, no joke!). The point is to get a great group of friends together, dress in your finest horse racing ensemble, and go down to enjoy a day of thoroughbreds and the thrill of winning or losing a trifecta box bet.
Racing knowledge need not be a strong point for a trip to Keeneland, but having a slight idea in your head may make the day just that much more fun. Refer to Jenny's Derby article for tips on betting (always bet responsibly, please!)
The biggest days to go with the most excitement and the largest crowds are Opening Day and the Bluegrass Stakes, which is a Derby-qualifying race. Jenny and I are headed down this Saturday, April 13th, with our group of girlfriends to enjoy the big day, which is sponsored by Toyota.
Keeneland is open Wednesday through Sunday, with races continuing up until April 26. If you don't have tickets to the Derby, then you can also celebrate the Oaks and Derby there. Keeneland opens again for racing in the fall, from October 4th through the 26th, Wednesday-Sunday. Check out the calendar here. General Admission tickets are $5 at the entrance, and unlike the Derby, these tickets give you access to watch the races trackside. Grand Stand seats are also available, as well as Clubhouse tickets for a reasonable price.
If you've never been to a race before, Keeneland is a great place to whet your appetite and give you a taste of that beautiful Kentucky thoroughbred spirit!
Viewed 4134 times so far.
Like this? Tweet it to your followers!