Pulling into the parking lot of Keeneland Race Course, the scene was more similar to a U of L football game than a day at the races. Unique to Keeneland is the tailgating area located near Gate 1. Lawn chairs, coolers, and grills are encouraged and a free shuttle is even available to take the revelers to the grandstand. If, as it sometimes happens at football games, the fans cannot break away from the party, wagering facilities are available in the tailgate area.
Having perfected the art of enjoying a good tailgate at U of L football games in college, tailgating at the racetrack is such an intriguing combination to me. What could be better than hanging out with your friends, drinking cheap beer, and enjoying some racing? I approached a group of tailgaters to get the skinny. Eastern Kentucky University Senior, Whitley Floyd, confirmed my own thoughts--"the benefits of tailgating is cheaper hot dogs and beer." She and her friends typically gather at Keeneland once a week for their morning tailgate before heading into the Keeneland track.
The tailgating option is a good way to get people out to the track. Whether racing fan or not, everyone enjoys a good time with friends. The parking is free, transportation from the lot to the track is free, and track admission is only $5. Churchill Downs could learn a thing or two from Keeneland's ingenuity!
Photo: Courtesy Keeneland Race Course