Located across from Bluegrass Airport, Keeneland Racetrack is home to high-level thoroughbred racing every April and October. Today, it attracts the world’s best horseman, racers, and their horses to compete at this renowned track.
Keeneland Racetrack is a National Historic Landmark and has been operating since October 1936. The track was opened after the historic Kentucky Association track closed in 1933 and left the Horse Capital of the World without a track. This had never happened in its 100 years. The community rallied and through the works of horseman Hal Price Headly and Major Louis Beard a nonprofit was formed to fund the track’s creation.
It was decided any proceeds would be put in the racing purse money, used to improve the facility, and any left would be donated to local charities. Jack Keene, a Thoroughbred trainer, sold his land to the venture as he had already begun to build his own racetrack and donated it to the efforts of Keeneland. Though it was during the Great Depression, more than 25,337 people came out for the first racing season and wagered more than $500,000.
To date, Keeneland has contributed and donated more than $18 million to the equine industry and charitable organizations. They support equine safety and welfare, host races, and work an auction house. 19 of their auctioned horses have been Kentucky Derby winners and 78 are Breeders’ Cup World Championship winners.
The track is home to racing events in the spring and fall every year. It’s off to the races for the 2016 Spring Race Meeting on Friday, April 8. Races will continue until Friday, April 29 but there is no racing on Mondays or Tuesdays. Races are held Wednesday through Sunday. On Friday, October 7, the 2016 Fall Race Meeting begins and runs through Saturday, October 29. Again, no races are held on Mondays or Tuesdays during the race meetings.
Guided tours are available of Keeneland and the grounds are open to the public every day. Tour times vary, especially during race meets, and tickets can be purchased online. Visitors are welcome to request additional tour days or times by calling 859-288-4142 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For early risers, we recommend attending the morning workout, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., where there is no admission fee to watch the horses train.
Visitors are also welcome to dine at the Keeneland Track Kitchen, open Monday – Friday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.