Eastern and Central Kentucky
April means horse racing at Lexington’s Keeneland race track. The historic track is celebrating 75 years of racing this year. In recognition of the milestone, Keeneland spokeswoman, Julie Balog wants patrons to get involved.
“On Wednesdays we’re gonna have 75 cent hot dogs that people can come out and enjoy. We are asking fans to share ideas and photos and stories with us on our facebook page about things they’ve enjoyed through 75 years here at Keeneland,” said Balog.
The actual formal ceremony will take place during the fall meet, but the anniversary will be a major focus over the next few weeks as well. Balog says Keeneland draws good horses, riders, trainers, and owners.
“The best horses and horsemen convene here because we do have among the highest purses in North America. And that’s such a draw for people. The horsemen like to come here because it’s good quality racing. They know that their horses will be very fit and they’re competing for high purse money and all of that comes together to create a really great race meet,” added Balog.
The spring meet begins Friday. Balog says a big race is scheduled Saturday.
“The Ashland stakes, has really, very quietly become a tour de force of its own for the Kentucky Oaks,” said Balog.
The annual race for fillies is run each May the day before the Kentucky Derby.
While Keeneland holds on to much tradition, Balog says innovation is also a priority objective at the track. She says this spring, a new horse racing ‘facebook’ game is being launched. Balog says a new mobile site for ‘smart phones’ is also available this year.
“We do think that all of our social media outreach can, not only get people interested in the sport overall, but we think it can also get people to come to races here at Keeneland,” explained Balog.
Balog says attendance during last year’s spring meet was about 238 thousand, a figure she says was not a record breaker, but ‘solid.’