The number one question that HerKentucky readers have for us is "What should I wear to Keeneland?" Here in Kentucky, a trip to Lexington's storied Keeneland Race Course isn't just a trip to bet on the ponies. It's a full-scale experience of racing, food, fun, and, of course, fashion. Trust me when I say that 70% of all the people you've ever met in your life will be at the track any day you go.
Well, that may be a slight exaggeration, but with weekend crowds reaching over 25,000 people, you sure will see a lot of Kentuckians at Keeneland. To help you look your best, we've put together a few dress code tips that will help you look great at the track!
If you're going to stay near the Paddock --General Admission, Grandstand, or Equestrian Room-- there's no need to dress up very much. Guys often opt for khakis and polo shirts, and women can wear slacks. You're actually dressing for a horse race in these sections. These are the areas nearest the track itself, and people are truly there to watch (and bet on) the horses. With that said, don't be surprised to see a lot of dresses and sport coats in the lower-levels.
If you'll be dining in the upper-level, enclosed dining rooms-- The Lexington, Kentucky, or Phoenix Rooms-- then expect to dress for a business event. The Lexington and Kentucky rooms -- dining rooms often reserved for business and social gatherings-- have a "business formal" dress code; these areas require men to don a coat and tie, and skirts/dresses/dressy slacks for ladies. The Phoenix Room-- another reserved dining room-- is "business casual", requiring collared shirts and slacks for men and dresses/pantsuits for ladies.
The track's members-only turf club, the Keeneland Clubhouse, similarly requires coat and tie for men and dressy pants/skirts for ladies. I find that a skirt suit or a dress paired with a pretty cardigan or wrap is always appropriate for the upper levels. In general, if you'd wear it to church or a business meeting, you're golden.
Of course, some days at the track are a little more dressy than others. Weekends are generally for more high profile races, and Opening Day tends to bring out dressier clothing. When in doubt, remember dress nicely, look good, and have a great day at the races!