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FAQ: Keeneland



As the Algerian-French philosopher and author Albert Camus once said, “ Autumn is a second spring when every leaf’s a flower.” He said a lot of things like this, and as such has long been a writer whose work is often seen in the hands of people who are trying to impress you, much like I have no doubt done by opening this very piece with a quote from him. I am a very, very fancy person.

What autumn means to the Big Blue Nation, of course, is that we are in the thick of football and tailgating season. It also means, quite wonderfully, that the Keeneland Fall Meet is rapidly growing closer. I’ll be out of town next week, friends, so I thought I might take this space today to explore the magnificence of the horseracing mecca a little early, just to whet your collective whistles and get you ready for the great days which begin on October 8 off Versailles Road. Here, then, I present to you Frequently Asked Questions about Keeneland.


What is Keeneland? Is it a U.S. State?

No. Keeneland is a thoroughbred racing track and sales hub located in the green pastures surrounding Lexington, Kentucky. Each year Keeneland has two racing seasons, in the spring and the fall, each lasting a few weeks.

What’s a thoroughbred?

A thoroughbred is a special type of purebred horse with a predisposition for speed, which is why it is the particular breed at the crux of the horse racing industry. Thoroughbreds are easily spotted by their particularly lean bodies, long legs, deep hindquarters, top hat, cravat and monocle.

Can anyone visit Keeneland?

Yes, Keeneland is a great spot for families spending the day together, racing enthusiasts, college students, co-workers, old men wearing oddly-fitting hats which sport the names of battleships, and jobless divorcees.

What is there to do at Keeneland?

Keeneland is a favorite spot for many, from the beautiful parades of the paddock to the heart-pounding excitement of each race. Mostly, though, Keeneland is known as a place where your friends to incessantly tell you how much money they would have won if they had picked two horses differently in their trifecta, and how they almost picked those horses. You will not care, and these professions will become more frequent dependent upon the amount of alcohol your friend has ingested.

Everyone seems to be very dressed up. Should I dress up?

You may elect to dress nicely when visiting Keeneland, but it is not required. Most often, those who dress up at Keeneland include the very wealthy, those on a work team outing, fraternity members who think a hat and flip flops complement a tie and women over thirty who secretly drink three or more nights a week and just want to feel “classy.”

Will I be allowed to ride a horse when visiting Keeneland?

It’s widely known that while most horses and jockeys are sanctioned by the sports governing bodies and sponsored by particular farms in the area, if you show up at the southwest entrance with your own horse and ask for Skeet, he will try to sneak you into a late-afternoon race after people aren’t paying as much attention.

How do I know what horses are running in the races?

It is always wise to buy a program which will detail that day’s races and list the names of the horses running in each race.

Is there a secret to picking horses?

Many factors can be included in the picking of a horse, including the horse’s pedigree, the farm where the horse is trained, the jockey riding the horse, the horse’s name, the horse’s build or color, and whether or not the horse is, in fact, not a real horse but two people in a Halloween costume.

What is a trifecta?

A trifecta bet is a bet in which the bettor determines which horse will finish first, second and third, in order. It is a bet commonly made by people who have a solid knowledge of racing.

What is a superfecta?

A superfecta bet is a bet in which the bettor determines which horse will finish first, second, third and fourth, in exact order. It is a bet commonly made by people who pretend to have a solid knowledge of racing.

I would like to pick all fourteen horses and the exact order they will finish.


Can I watch Keeneland on TV?

Yes, you can, on the cable network TVG. Normally, however, if you spot someone actively watching TVG, it’s a safe bet they need an intervention of some sort, as they are clearly high, drunk or a gambling addict.

Do you think that if you put a hat on a horse, he would know if it looks good on him or not?

Maybe. Horses are very smart.

My niece has a horse and she rides it around the house. It has a purple head and its body is a wooden stick.

That is a toy commonly called a hobby horse. It is not a real horse.

Oh. I think I would like to go to Keeneland this fall. I’m going to win a ton of money.

Good luck with that.

Or at least drink a lot of bourbon.

I’d call that a big win as well.

Article written by C.M. Tomlin