Hello, friends. I hope you’re well. Did you see that thing the other day? That thing was amazing, or unsurprising, wasn’t it? I sure did or didn’t enjoy it, how did you feel? I completely agree or disagree with you. You know, I love these chats we have. I feel so close to you and value this time we spend together each week.
Friends, as you surely know by now, that wondrous time of the year is upon us; that time of year only signaled by the crisp smell of autumn air and paddock horse manure. It’s the phenomenal, marvelous Fall Meet at our very own Keeneland, and it never fails to bring happiness to central Kentucky. But perhaps you’re among the unitiated to Keeneland. Perhaps you wonder what the big deal is. Today we thought we’d bring you the information you so crave in a piece we’ll call, appropriately, Frequently Asked Questions about Keeneland. As always, you’re welcome. And have a fantastic weekend.
What is Keeneland?
Keeneland is a racing and sales facility for the Thoroughbred horse racing industry which opened in 1935 and which is consistently held to be one of the premiere racetracks in the entire country. Keeneland’s sales operations are also quite a big deal, bringing prospective owners worldwide to the Bluegrass each year, and the entire facility is a designated national historic landmark.
What can I do at Keeneland?
As was previously mentioned, you can — if you have the means — purchase a horse during Keeneland’s annual sales, or the casual racing enthusiast can visit Keeneland to enjoy placing wagers on a slate of races each day featuring some of the industry’s top jockeys, trainers and horses.
I don’t really know a lot about horseracing. Can I still go to Keeneland?
Yes, you can. The scientifically proven ratio of people who know something about horseracing to people who don’t know anything about horseracing on an average day at Keeneland is 497:1. Here’s a special tip: just act like you care if a race is on mud or dirt or grass,and that you think that changes things from what you were planning on wagering, and you can slide by without anyone questioning you because the statistical probability is that they don’t know anything either.
Can I ride a horse at Keeneland? That sounds like a hoot.
That depends. Are you an experienced jockey qualified to race horses professionally?
Then no, you cannot.
I would like to suggest the name “Gentleman Cat Burglar” as the name for a race horse. Don’t you think that’s a great name? And classy?
Can you tell me how to suggest this, or who I should contact?
The naming of a race horse is entirely up to the horse’s owner. Many times owners prefer to infuse part of the names of both sides of a horse’s pedigree to create that horse’s unique moniker. For example, if a horse’s father was named “Rim Shot” and its mother was named “Job Seeker,” it would only be natural for that horse to be named “Shot Seeker.”
Or maybe it could be called —
“Shot Seeker.” That’s all. Move on.
What’s a typical day at Keeneland like?
The Keeneland experience is a wonderful experience. It will begin with your putting on your finest clothing and heading out to the racetrack. There, you’ll purchase a program filled with valuable information you cannot possibly understand at all, but it contains the names of the horses running that day. You will also inevitably run into someone you didn’t want to see — an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, a former co-worker — and be forced to make some small talk. Hopefully by then you’ll have a couple of bourbons in you, so this banter will be easy. Your first few bets of the day will be light — a couple of bucks here, a ten-dollar bet there — but by the end of the day you will be too intoxicated to care that you just placed a twenty-five dollar bet to show on a horse that has been scratched just because its name reminds you of a hilarious story that happened to your roommate. By three o’clock or so you’ll have spilled some gumbo on your shirt but you will be convinced no one can tell, and by five o’clock you’ll be rounding up people you don’t know to go to Rincon. By eight o’clock that night you’ll reach drunkenly into your pocket and find about twenty seven dollars in crumpled up fives and ones. Congratulations! You won!
Sounds like a great time. Let’s go. I’ll come visit in November.
Okay, We’ll do it in February. Or next June, when I’m in for my cousin’s wedding.
I don’t understand.
It’s okay; if you’re not a Kentucky native it’s reasonable for you to be confused. You see, Keeneland is only open during selected days in April and October. It’s like a magical Brigadoon of attractive people, bourbon, cigars and gambling — always confounding those who arrive outside of the predetermined time period so that those of us who live in Kentucky can talk about how wonderful it is to no end and then be completely unable to prove it to you.
So I’ll never know the majesty of Keeneland?
No, you won’t. We can’t just let anyone in on Keeneland, you know. But cheer up. Maybe there’s an art fair or traveling parking lot carnival in July I can take you to. That’s fun too.
You’re so mean.
Hey, I don’t make the rules, buddy.