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DOs and DON’Ts Guide to Keeneland


Keeneland’s Spring 2013 meet kicks off tomorrow and will run through Friday, April 26. I know a lot of KSR readers will be making a trip or two out to the track this season, so I thought I’d chime in with some valuable advice for racegoers.

Here are the official unofficial Dos and Don’ts of Keeneland…


DO drink responsibly.

Your definition of “responsibly” is totally up to you.

I’ll be at the bar upstairs if you have any questions.

DON’T drink if you’re underage.

Let’s be honest here — minors are going to drink outside of Keeneland. It’s part of college life in Lexington and there’s no stopping it.

Just be smart about it, kids. No one likes a citation and there will be tons of undercover folks looking to write one.

DO carpool.

The Transportation Cabinet of this fine state is doing construction on Versailles Road directly in front of Keeneland during the spring meet. You should plan to arrive early, be patient and courteous to others in traffic, and most importantly, CARPOOL.

Carpooling will cut down on the number of vehicles entering the grounds and the additional passengers in your vehicle will help crank that car party up a notch as you sit in traffic.

DON’T drive home if you’ve been drinking.

We’ve all been there. The last race just ended and you don’t have a clue where the group that promised you a safe ride home ran off to. You try calling but cell service at Keeneland is as reliable as, well, the group that promised you a safe ride home.  Where the hell did they go???

Try hailing a cab or, if you like adventures, try climbing in a random shuttle out front and just pretend you belong. It’ll take you somewhere — it has to, right? — and you’ll meet new friends on the way.

Last spring, a friend and I ended up eating dinner at Sal’s with a group of married couples from Ohio, all because we hopped in their van. It’s a friendship I’ll never forget and one they probably don’t remember.

DO bet on the races.

Even if you’re anti-gambling, it’s okay to put a little money on the ponies at Keeneland.

Your definition of “a little money” is totally up to you.

I’ll be at the ATM if you have any questions.

DON’T pretend to know what you’re doing, when we know you don’t.

Bringing your own ink pen to the track doesn’t give you the right to offer betting advice to others. Every group has that one guy who claims to be the expert and it’s usually the guy you’ve known your whole life and he’s never mentioned horse racing before. You know who I’m talking about. He’ll be there tomorrow, pen in hand, circling his favorites and wanting you to listen to why he believes Edgar Prado is unbeatable on the 3 horse.

Oh, you know (L) means lasix? Please, tell me about the time you won $232 on a trifecta last fall.

DO wear sunglasses, guys.

You get what I’m saying?


DON’T wear high heels, gals.

Those stilettos look great on you and we love the way they accentuate your body by exaggerating your curves. But if we have to listen to you complain about your feet hurting one more mother f-cking time, we’re going to take them off of you and toss them directly in the trash like a losing ticket from yesterday’s races.

Besides, you don’t want to get stuck in the grass while we’re tailgating and I’d hate for you to fall down as a result of an unexpected heel plug. I’m just looking out for you, baby. Wear the flats.

DO visit the paddock.

Keeneland describes it as “the hub of activity–alive with grooms, owners, trainers, jockeys and fans awaiting breathlessly as last-minute instructions are dispensed and fans get one last look at the magnificent horses before they run the race of their lives.”

Ya know, that area where the trainers walk the horses around in a circle. It’s really pretty.

DON’T underestimate the winning potential of a horse that just took a shit.

Some say it’s an old Keeneland myth; others will flaunt their riches from only wagering on horses they saw pooping in the paddock prior to a race.

Is it legit?

You decide.

DO cough up the cash for your own program.

If everyone goes in with the plan to share a program with someone else, everyone ends up huddled around that guy with the ink pen. And no one wants to be around that guy when he’s drawing circles and guaranteeing picks.

You’ll want your own.

DON’T geek.

It’s not uncommon to run into a celebrity at Keeneland during the spring. For instance, you may see a Kentucky basketball player or Alan Cutler. Who knows? Maybe Matt Jones will walk by you after a long day of Keeneland Breezes with the KSR crew upstairs.

You never know who you might see wandering around the track, so be prepared to keep your geeking to a minimum if any of these encounters should occur.

DO enjoy yourself.

DON’T stay home and regret not going, at least for a day. Keeneland season is fun for everyone and it only comes around twice a year.

I hope to see you there.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

41 Comments for DOs and DON’Ts Guide to Keeneland

  1. Bobbum man
    2:05 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    *starts slow clap*

  2. bilbo
    2:06 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    Churchill downs is better

  3. impressed
    2:12 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    This is my favorite Drew Franklin piece of all time

  4. wkcatsfan
    2:13 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    Makes sense. I feel like I could win a race after taking a shit.

  5. salty
    2:13 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    if you think Churchill is better than Keeneland… you’ve never been to Keeneland. beautiful horsefarms > 3rd street ghetto

  6. The Real Pioneer
    2:13 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    You may geek though if you see any former UK basketball players — especially a one Troy McKinley. He won’t sign autographs during races, but he will give out high fives!!!

  7. datdude
    2:13 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    @2 #SaidNoOneEver

  8. LigginsLoveSAT
    2:14 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    Drew, is it ok to come alone? More adventures or desperate?

  9. SexnNursinHomes
    2:19 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    hahahaha Franklin. This post makes me wanna get drunk and play with lucky horse shit.

  10. Rockfield, KY
    2:20 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    8. If you must go alone, do it. Keeneland is one place where everyone seems to chat it up with strangers. Last April my buddy and I ended up at a huge table at Malone’s with people I’d never bet because we just got stuck in a betting and drink line together.

  11. Women Everywhere
    2:23 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    Ladies…if you are going to hang out on the balcony of the clubhouse, know that men look up. Plan underwear choices with this in mind.

  12. Rockfield, KY
    2:23 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    KSR Keeneland tailgate on April 13th before the Spring Game. Let’s make this happen.

  13. LexCathCat
    2:24 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    @2… No.

  14. Xmas Vacay
    2:25 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    Clark Griswald will be there.

  15. SexnNursinHomes
    2:30 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    12- what are you doing???? Don’t say that. Damn. You’ll ruin it for all of us..

  16. Tyler
    2:37 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    12) You bastard

  17. twelve get lost
    2:39 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    Stop hatin’

  18. Rockfield, KY
    2:40 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    Someone must have seen #12’s undercarriage in October. What a hater.

  19. MissInnocent
    3:00 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    #12-why would men care about what undergarments I chose to wear?

  20. I Say
    3:09 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    Was the wearing sunglasses thing a weed smoking reference?

  21. Idunno
    3:18 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    21 – I think it was an ogling women reference.

  22. kyle heavy
    3:20 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    21- No. It’s for window shopping. If you’re dating or married… always remember… window shopping is free, just don’t handle the merchandise.

  23. I Say
    3:21 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    22,23 hahaha Oooo okay I get it, thanks.

  24. blackhawk509
    3:24 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    Tomei…the horse=winner.

  25. OTIS
    3:40 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    DO make your bet before going up to the betting MACHINE and trying to hit the elusive $2,000 dime superfecta. The line of people behind you would like to bet; instead you stand there trying to see what horse(s) you can play in your superfecta wheel to pay your electric bill for the month.

  26. Wild Blue
    3:51 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    @2 no way. Keeneland is far more beautiful than Churchill Downs. You see the Louisville ghetto at CD. It’s called U of L.

  27. RealCatsFan
    3:52 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    I think 21 is too stoned to be horny… 🙂

  28. inlinefor9
    3:54 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    #26 YES! And I’d like to add to that. If you do not know how to bet, go to the window/machine with someone who does. Nothing more frustrating than a drunk newbie spending 5 minutes at the window to bet $2 across the board.

    And if you are betting multiple races for the day, do it early in the time between races, not 5 minutes before when everyone is rushing to get their bet in.

  29. atlantacat
    3:56 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    If Matt Jones were to walk, I’m sure I would get a tingle down my leg.

  30. atlantacat
    3:56 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    “walk by”

  31. RealCatsFan
    3:58 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    Expanding on what #26 said…

    1. Say the race number “For race #3…”
    2. Say the dollar amount “I want to place a $5.00…”
    3. Type of bet “exacta, Win, place, show, etc…”
    4. Use the horse number “on horse #2 and horse #7”

    None of this bull$hit:

    “umm, can I put $2 on the blue horse to win?”

    Also, have your money ready and in hand, look at the monitors while in line in case your horse has scratched, and have a back-up plan in case that happens. And write all of this down before hand.

  32. RealCatsFan
    4:00 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink


  33. quickie
    4:10 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    Don’t take advice from KSR and someone who has been there once.

  34. CHFan
    4:15 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    Will Chris Harrison be there? I can never seem to find him.

  35. PatGLex
    4:35 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    Always bet the Miss. [fillies/mares with “Miss” in their names. Got this from a visiting better and it works about half the time.]

    And I never bet against the Cat — either horses with “Cat” in their name or sired by one (like ‘Storm Cat’)

  36. Ruppeat Offender
    5:06 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    Cheezits, Drew. Everyone knows that if you don’t wear heels/sundress, Option 2 is tall boots/skirt. Flats? Nothing sexy about flats, yo.

  37. Women Everywhere
    8:02 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    Regarding #12: Sorry fellas. Well, maybe most ladies won’t see this. At least you know where to go hang out between races 🙂

  38. carl spackler
    10:16 pm April 4, 2013 Permalink

    …if a horse is sweating it up pretty heavily in the paddock, SAVE YOUR MONEY…..

  39. Bobby Knight's Shrink
    8:23 am April 5, 2013 Permalink

    and, watch for Sam Bowie, he won’t be hard to spot !

  40. Joe
    7:06 pm April 5, 2013 Permalink

    How about all you whiny “experts” make your bets early? Gotta love self important pricks!