Keeneland, KY: day at the races, white tablecloth tailgating and cornhole

Keeneland is everyman’s gentility at the races in Lexington, Kentucky.

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My employer has a large office in Louisville and I had the opportunity to meet clients there and enjoy with them a day at Keeneland, my first-ever time at a horse race.

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Keeneland has seasons of Race Meetings in April and October. The fashion parade is on full display, and Keeneland does have its luxury boxes, yet I was surprised at the reasonable price. General admission is $5 and a tempting hot dog at the concession stand is $3.50. $40 gains an all-day table at the Phoenix Room with buffet lunch, though no direct view of the track, instead accessed across the hall on a viewing platform.

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The frequent traveler should note that the track is just across the highway from Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport (LEX). You can walk over in a layover.

The tailgating was my favorite, ranging from white tablecloth and champagne set-ups to bow-tied youths playing cornhole, a game new to me.

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Keeneland 2

The races are exciting. One was terrifying delayed when a horse jumped up and trapped its leg in the starting gate. It was eventually extracted and walked away with enough strength that the mortified crowd was relieved.

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Strolling the grounds is a pleasure. Meander around the paddock to see horses on parade and painters whiling away the hours.

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  • Ctb

    It’s probably just me, but I think there needs to be more horse racing content on Boarding Area!

  • @Ctb – if you know a bit about it, can you suggest the ‘must see’ venues around the world?

  • Andy

    Have you been to Churchill in Louisville yet? I think their meets run at the same time as Keeneland so you could hit them both up in a weekend if you wanted. Churchill is a little different as it is the middle of a neighborhood. Different vibe but still pretty cool, and a good museum to boot. As far as beauty of the track though, you started at the top with Keeneland.

  • @Andy – due to business constraints we only had time to drive by Churchill Downs, I have been lobbying to be part of the company group for the annual client party for the Derby but I now have a last-minute trip to China. We did spend a day in Louisville in meetings had one dinner at Proof, I had to take a long conference call during which I walked its modern art galleries, another dinner at St. Charles Exchange, drove by the Louisville Slugger Museum but was already closed, and a breakfast at Toast.. Great city, great meals, I will be back.

  • Rasputin

    I make it a point to go there at least twice a year. If you liked Keeneland, I suggest trying out the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington too.