Live racing returns to Keeneland this weekend as the Lexington, Ky. racetrack kicks off its fall meet. The 17-day meet opens Friday, Oct. 4 and runs through Saturday, Oct. 26. Keeneland has traditionally offered race fans a unique experience in addition to a stellar class of horses and stakes races and this year, they’ve added a few options to keep fans entertained the whole day through.
The meet starts with a bang as Keeneland holds Fall Stars Weekend this Friday through Sunday. Nine of the 16 stakes to be held during the fall meet will run this weekend, seven of which are part of the Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In challenge series. Winners of the challenge series races win an automatic berth in the corresponding Breeders' Cup race, as well as a travel stipend.
Some of the nation’s top horses are expected to participate in this weekend's races, including My Conquestadory, a filly who comes in off a win against males in the Summer Stakes (G2), who will run in the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1) on Friday. Reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan is entered in the $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) on Saturday. The Central Bank Ashland (G1) winner Emollient is entered in Sunday’s $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1).
Friday’s stakes action consists of the $200,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (G3) for three-year-olds and up going six furlongs and the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1) for fillies two years old and up going 1 1/16 miles.
Saturday’s stakes include the $150,000 Woodford Stakes (G3) for three-year-olds at a 5 ½ furlongs; the $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes for fillies and mares, three years old and up going six furlongs; the $400,000 First Lady Stakes (G1) for fillies and mares, three years old and up going one mile on the turf; the $400,000 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) for two-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles; and the $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (G1) for three-year-olds and up going a mile on turf.
Sunday’s stakes action includes the $150,000 Bourbon Stakes (G3) for two-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on turf and the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (G1) for fillies and mares, three years old and up going 1 1/8 miles.
Other stakes throughout the meet include the $150,000 JP Morgan Chase Jessamine (G3) (Oct. 9), the $100,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County (L) (Oct. 11), the $100,000 Sycamore (G3) (Oct. 17), the $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View (G3) (Oct. 18), the $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2) (Oct. 19), the $125,000 Rood & Riddle Dowager (L) (Oct. 20), and the $200,000 Hagyard Fayette (G2) (Oct. 26).
Special events are planned throughout the meet and include returning features like Tailgating on The Hill, BETologists, Sunrise Trackside, College Scholarship Day, Heroes Day, trunk shows at the gift shop, and jockey autograph sessions. New this fall is the craft beer tent on the Northern Terrace. Local craft beers will be offered here Fridays and Saturdays during the meet. For more details about daily activities and events, visit the Keeneland calendar.
See Blue Day on Friday, Oct. 11, invites fans to celebrate the rivalry of the University of Kentucky and the University of Alabama, who will battle on the gridiron Saturday, Oct. 12 at Commonwealth Stadium. On See Blue Day special events will take place on The Hill, including dedicated fan zones, the University of Kentucky cheerleaders, live music, and a handicapping contest between Tom Leach, the Voice of the Kentucky Wildcats, and Alabama radio announcer Eli Gold. All proceeds will benefit the University of Kentucky’s DanceBlue and the University of Alabama’s Dance Marathon.
For Louisville residents, Sandollar Transportation will take race fans from Louisville to the Keeneland racecourse in Lexington. For $25 patrons will receive round trip transportation, a race day program, and general admission to the track. The shuttle runs Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the meet and will pick up from the old Executive Inn lot near the fairgrounds (at 8:45 a.m.), the Walmart at Bashford Manor Lane and Bardstown Road (at 9:30 a.m.), and the Walmart in Middletown (at 10 a.m.). Call (502) 561-4022 for reservations.
Keeneland is located at 4201 Versailles Road in Lexington, Ky. Racing runs Friday, Oct. 4 through Saturday Oct. 26; no racing Mondays and Tuesdays. Gates open at 11 a.m., with the first daily post at 1:05 p.m. Admission is $5 and children 12 and under are free. For reserved seating information, visit the Keeneland website.
Photo: Courtesy Keeneland