Growing up in Central Kentucky, one of the institutions you become familiar with at a very early age is Keeneland racetrack located across US 60 (Versailles Road) from Bluegrass Airport. Our first experience with Keeneland began in high school when we would occasionally skip class and head to the track to hang with our friends. Over the years, we have maintained our biannual pilgrimage past the ivy-covered entrance and onto the hallowed grounds of this beautiful piece of property. There are many reasons why one would fall in love with this unique venue, but here are our top five reasons why we can't get enough of this place!
1) Parasols and Dresses - Where else in the world can you hold a white ruffle parasol and not look out of place? Keeneland is the best place to check out all sorts of ladylike Southern fashion. And not to be outdone by the women, the guys give a nice showing with their bow ties from great designers like E.F. Meeks (although Leigh's not a fan) and bright-colored pants from Southern Tide and Peter Millar.
2) Winning - Horse wagering is like predicting the weather: All manner of scientific methods can be used to forecast, but really anything can happen when it comes to horse racing. That's what makes it so exciting! So whether you put $2 down on the grey to show, or you put $20 on an exacta, nothing can compare with the exhilaration that comes from seeing your horse cross the finish line in first place! We do recommend you check with the experts, like our friend Ed De Rosa @EJXD2 on Twitter, to help increase your odds of experiencing this adrenaline rush!
3) Cocktails and Food - What's better than the three B's? Burgoo, beer cheese, and bread pudding! Executive Chef Mark Thierrien does food the right way by offering delectable choices to feed hungry patrons as they linger over their racing programs. And you have to have one of their signature cocktails like the Keeneland Breeze to wash it all down. Of course, bourbon is king in Kentucky, so it's a great place to experience this libation.
4) The Beauty - Covering more than 1,000 acres, the jaw-dropping landscape of Keeneland really shines in the spring. The combination of the cherry blossoms, budding pear trees, and the bright yellow of the forsythia bushes is something you won't find at any other horse track in the country. Nature's splendor is at its peak here, a spectacle like none other.
5) Horses - There would not even be a Keeneland if not for one very important thing...horses. They're an integral part of our culture, something we are known for world-wide. Thoroughbred racing is a sport and these are the athletes. Watching them race by you at the rail and feeling the vibration of their thundering hooves will definitely quicken your pulse. Rubbing their velvet noses while feeding them peppermints is another highlight for not only children, but adults as well. They're the piece de resistance and the reason we all return meet after meet, never tiring of the mystique and charm of this Kentucky treasure.