I am lucky enough to live just about 60 miles from the most beautiful horse country in America – the area around Lexington, Kentucky. The horse racing track located here is Keeneland Race Track, ranked in 2009 as the #1 premier horse racing track in the United States by the Horseplayers Association of America. Keeneland has two racing meets per year. One in April for 4 weeks and one in October for 3 weeks. Here is a photo of two horses in the padlock in the 2016 October meet:
Besides racing, Keeneland does many other things. They have sales meets every year at which some of the best all-time race horses have been sold. Nineteen Kentucky Derby winners have been sold at Keeneland along with 21 Preakness and 18 Belmont winners. Eighty-two of 88 Breeder’s Cup World Championship race winners have been sold at Keeneland.
.The atmosphere at Keeneland can’t be beat. It is a bit old-world and certainly “old Lexington” and reminiscent of the thoroughbred industry of both the past and the present. Lots of old and new money changing hands but the common person off the street can also have lots of fun. There is seating from general admission at $5 per person to very expensive box seating. You can always “ride the rail” and feel the dirt being kicked in your face by the horses as they pound the track running by.
The dining options are extraordinary with three fancy dining rooms. Make your reservations way in advance! Then there are the equivalent of fast-food restaurants but many serve a Keeneland specialty food called Kentucky burgoo which is a type of stew. Burgoo can be made out of almost anything. The recipe is a closely guarded secret. Rumor has it that it may have rabbit, squirrel, or other game meats in it.
Of course there is the gambling. Betting on horses is certainly gambling. Racing forms abound at Keeneland and there are experts sitting around in the most varying costumes. There are also ATM machines which this writer advises you to stay away from!
There are so many things to do at Keeneland. You can go there early in the morning, watch the horses exercise, and sometimes have breakfast. They have a famous equine library you can peruse. Their gift shop and its merchandise is to die for. Arrange a trip to the backside (the stables) if you can and see the horses, grooms, and what really goes on in racing stables up close and personal.
There is also the quite fascinating people watching. Sit on a bench, relax, and watch the quite varied types of people who wander through Keeneland Race Track. That will entertain you all by itself. This is truly a travel destination. #amwriting #amblogging #writing #Keeneland