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.
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?
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.
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.