The horses run at Keeneland


Mary Cage

“and they’re off” as the horses leave the starting gates at Keeneland

Every April and October, the gates open to a magnificent place called Keeneland. As a National Historic Landmark, Keeneland embodies the tradition carried out for years in the bluegrass state. Home to both a racetrack and auction house it is historically tied in with thoroughbred racing. Ever since it was started in 1936, it has been known to be one of the most special places in all of thoroughbred racing. The course today still carries on the very traditions and roots from the very beginnings of the sport. Showcasing some of the most gifted horses, jockeys, trainers, and owners; Keeneland draws in the public’s eye year after year.

From the time that horses reach the post they will endure many training sessions and workouts so that they will be able to compete and win races. Most of the big races require horses to be three years old, giving them only one shot at winning a great honor, although they can race at other tracks no matter what age they are, races like The Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes.  It definitely is not a sport for all, jockeys must maintain a certain height and weight in order for them to guide their thoroughbreds to victory.

Many people will visit the tracks or sales at Keeneland, usually fans will go down for a day or two with friends to watch and wager on some of the action down on the track. Keeneland and the University of Kentucky even offer shuttle rides from Kentucky football games to Keeneland during the October season of racing.

Many are familiar with the race tracks at Keeneland, however, only a few are aware that Keeneland is home to the world’s best auction house, with more wins than any other company. Horses whom have been sold at Keeneland have won a plethora of events including: 20 Kentucky Derby winners, 22 Preakness Stakes winners, 19 Belmont Stakes winners, and 11 recipients as the Horse of the Year.

Although it is only opened annually for auctions and two months of the year for racing, fans can check out the grounds any time, as well as the library which is home to a vast knowledge of the history of thoroughbred racing.