Keeneland board chairman Louis Lee Haggin II died.
In early 1980, work began at the rear of the pavilion on an enclosed walking ring where buyers could inspect horses just before they entered the auction ring. The 6,400-square-foot addition was octagonal in shape with a stone facade and floor-length windows.
William S. Evans retired as Keeneland's director of sales.
Construction began on three 40-stall training barns on recently purchased property west of the main racetrack.
For the summer yearling sale, the Keeneland sales pavilion had a 4,000-square-foot addition on its east side. Constructed of local stone with an exposed wood ceiling, the addition contained a large bar, hot and cold food service counter, a lounge area separated from the room by planters and 18 additional telephones.
A new clubhouse dining room (seating 170 people) was built overlooking the walking ring.
W. B. Rogers Beasley was appointed director of sales.
Longtime Keeneland track superintendent Hobert Burton died.
A second Versailles Road entrance was constructed, providing an additional access lane to Keeneland.
Following the spring meeting, Keeneland's training track was renovated and the Fontana Safety Rail was erected, replacing the inside, aluminum rail installed prior to the 1949 spring meeting.
Improvements for the fall meeting included two new clubhouse ticket booths, a new food service stand and bar on the ground floor of the clubhouse and additional hard-surface parking.
The first phase of a $3-million construction project was completed before the spring meeting. Sixteen new saddling stalls were built in the paddock during the winter, and preliminary work was started on a 40,000-square-foot addition to the rear of the grandstand. Half of the old saddling stalls were demolished following the 1983 fall meeting, and new stalls (with a stone exterior and copper roof) were constructed in a semi-circle at the west end of the paddock. The balance of the old stalls and adjoining concession stand were torn down after the spring meeting.
Completed for the fall meeting, the grandstand addition provided a fine view of the paddock from three levels. Two elevators, located at each end of the addition, connected all floors, and the second and third levels were both enclosed.
Queen Elizabeth II attended the races at Keeneland.
A new grandstand entrance adjacent to the paddock and walking ring was ready for the spring meeting.
At its fall meeting, Keeneland became the first organized track in Kentucky to hold grass racing, and it installed exacta wagering for the first time in its history.
Keeneland began a $2.7-million construction project that would be completed in early 1986, the year the track celebrated its 50th anniversary. The project called for a 12,000-square-foot addition to Keeneland's administration building. Aside from featuring a new jockeys' quarters and grandstand entrance, the addition provided more space for racing and sales personnel and allowed for the expansion of the library and clubhouse dining facilities. The jockeys' room and grandstand entrance occupied most of the 50-foot extension of the administration building. The new jockeys' quarters were 1,500 square feet larger than the former quarters for riders and included separate facilities for female jockeys. A second-floor addition provided more office space.
James E. "Ted" Bassett III was elevated from president to chairman of the board. Bill Greely was promoted from vice president to president.
Keeneland is designated a National Historic Landmark.
An addition to the Lexington Room increased its capacity from 250 to almost 500.
Duval A. Headley, former president of Keeneland Race Course, died.
The date for the Blue Grass Stakes was changed, moving it to three weeks before the Kentucky Derby, and a stakes race was run each day during the spring meeting.