Kentucky Places: Keeneland

1949 crowd scene, via Keeneland.
When the HerKentucky team put together our list of Favorite Things earlier this year, it was no surprise that most of us mentioned Keeneland.  It's pretty much a universal thing -- everyone who's spent any time in Lexington loves Keeneland.

One of my very favorite things about going to Keeneland is that the track is always catching my fancy in new and unexpected ways.  Sometimes, I'm overcome by the majesty of the horses and the thrill of the races.  Other times, I'm struck by the beauty of the grounds, completely amazed that I'm standing less than a mile away from the clutter of the airport and the sprawl of Man O' War Boulevard.  Some days, the track is so filled with friends, classmates and acquaintances that I barely have time to place a bet amidst all the catching up.  Most often, however, I find myself getting lost in romantic notions of the track's 75 year history. 
1950 Paddock scene, via Keeneland.

Now, I love hearing about the glory days of horse racing.  I simply can't get enough of those movies like Seabiscuit and Secretariat, or any of those racehorse biographies, or any other stories of the history of the sport.  I love the idea that racing was once  a national phenomenon, and I am fascinated by the idea that thoroughbred racehorses were once celebrated as celebrity athletes.  Every time I walk the paddock at Keeneland, I envision a time long past, when everyone took horses as seriously as we do in Lexington.

via Keeneland.

  What's your favorite part of a trip to the track?

{You can read more thoughts on Keeneland from the HerKentucky team here. My article in the latest issue of Ace Weekly magazine provides an overview of the Keeneland experience for first-timers.}