On Keeneland's second floor, just off the Sports Bar, lie a series of balconies that can tell a million Lexington stories. They are among my very favorite Kentucky places.
Yes, it would be easier to just say that Keeneland itself is one of my favorite places. That would be a true, true statement. But the thing about Keeneland is that there are so many different worlds within the track. There's the everyday folks, dressed down and hanging out by the track. There's the college crowd, dressed for church or a fraternity semi-formal, in the Sports Bar and the Equestrian Room. There are the professionals taking in meetings and working lunches in the upstairs dining rooms. And then there's the Clubhouse crowd, enjoying a more subdued, members-only atmosphere.
Most of the time, the worlds never meet. You go through an elaborate ritual of text messages and near-misses to find a friend who's enjoying a very different day at a different part of the track. But the second-floor balconies provide an equalizer of sorts. You'll see many romantic assignations go down on those balconies. You often watch business deals take shape. You see suit-clad professional types sneak a smoke, while true horse enthusiasts strain to get a better look at the magnificent creatures that will soon be racing. In a lot of ways, it's a microcosm of Lexington itself- college town meets horse town, rural meets urban.
For my money, the balcony on the farthest left (just off the betting windows) is the preferred spot. It's the most scenic. It sees the most action. And, it always seems to have a roomful of people on constant watch to find a vacant spot. But, no matter which balcony you find yourself standing upon, you'll always have a great view.