Some sporting venues transcend their designated purpose. Founded by horsemen in 1936, Keeneland, in Lexington, Kentucky, is one of those places. Every April and October, Keeneland plays host to a melting pot of horse trainers, Kentucky society, busloads of college kids, long-odds punters, and on one occasion, the Queen of England, all ostensibly watching some of the finest thoroughbred racing in the world but primarily gazing at one another. Wearing the familiar green-over-iron of iconic venues around America, Keeneland’s historic grandstand faces west into the rolling bluegrass. The persistent hum of private aircraft arriving and departing across the highway from the track provides a not too subtle reminder of the stakes.
There we found ourselves seated on an impossibly beautiful October Friday morning awaiting the opening of the Fall Meet, not quite sure what to expect but drawing on the collective anticipation. We were hooked from the outset. Lunch was the famed Keeneland Burgoo, paired with essentially a perfect hot dog and crisp beer. The day only improved from there. Races were punctuated by socializing. Or was it vice versa. Universal problems, grande and small, were addressed and mostly resolved. The horses were majestic. The length and surface of each race varied, but all were thrilling. The whole affair reached its crescendo somewhere among the fifth, sixth, or seventh race of ten. But who’s to say for sure.
The spectacle repeated itself again on Saturday, as it will for the remainder of October. If your schedule permits this month, we endorse the experience entirely. And should you require additional enticement: Keeneland plays host to the 2022 Breeders’ Cup on November 4 & 5, doubling the crowd with horse racing’s elite from around the world. We hope to see you there.