Keeneland (Lexington, KY)
(Racing Days: 4/02/2020 - 4/24/2020, 07/08/2020 - 07/12/2020, 10/02/2020 - 10/24/2020, 11/06/2020 - 11/07/2020)
Keeneland Association, Inc. is an equine business based in Lexington, Kentucky. It includes two distinct divisions, the Keeneland Race Course, a Thoroughbred racing facility, and Keeneland Sales, a horse auction complex. It is also known for its reference library.
In 2009, the Horseplayers Association of North America introduced a rating system for 65 Thoroughbred racetracks in North America. Keeneland was ranked #1 of the top ten tracks. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986.
Keeneland originated as a nonprofit racing–auction entity on 147 acres (0.59 km2) of farmland west of Lexington, which had been owned by Jack Keene, a driving force behind the building of the facility. It has used proceeds from races and its auctions to further the thoroughbred industry as well as to contribute to the surrounding community.
Keeneland Race Course has conducted live race meets in April and October since 1936. The 15-day spring meet is one of the richest in North America, with fifteen graded stakes races featuring the Blue Grass Stakes, a prep race for the Kentucky Derby. The 17-day fall meet features seventeen graded stakes races, six of which are Grade One events used as Breeders' Cup preps.
Keeneland takes pride in maintaining racing traditions; it was the last track in North America to broadcast race calls over its public-address system, not doing so until 1997. Most of the racing scenes of the 2003 movie Seabiscuit were shot at Keeneland, in part because of the track's "retro feel". Keeneland was also used in the 2005 movie Dreamer and the 2010 movie Secretariat for several key scenes, including the running of the Belmont Stakes where the horse completes the Triple Crown.
Nonetheless, Keeneland has adopted several innovations. In 1984 in preparation for a visit by Queen Elizabeth II, it built a trackside Winner's Circle and created the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes. In 1985, it installed a turf course over which the Challenge Cup, as well as a number of other turf races, is now run.
It reshaped the main track and replaced the dirt surface with the proprietary Polytrack surface over the summer of 2006 in time for its fall race meeting. The track was restored to a dirt racing surface during the summer of 2014.
Keeneland was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986.
Keeneland hosted the Breeders' Cup for the first time in 2015. The Breeders' Cup Classic was won by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah by six and a half lengths. He became the first to win the unofficial Grand Slam of horse racing; winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic.
Many horse industry personnel were skeptical of Keeneland as a suitable venue because the track and town were too small to host such a large event. However it was a huge success and even had a Thoroughbred Daily News writer report "I was wrong...it was spectacular" and how he "couldn't be more impressed". In August 2018 Keeneland was named as the host of the 2020 Breeders' Cup.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia