True to its original mission to be a model race track, Keeneland today serves as an industry leader in developing and promoting innovations to advance Thoroughbred racing, improve its safety, and preserve the sport’s history and integrity.
While the racing program is most prominent in the eyes of the public, the sales company is the engine that drives Keeneland. Sales revenue funds purse money for horsemen; pays for capital improvements and the costs of operating Keeneland’s expansive facility; enables Keeneland to make charitable contributions that aid the local community and the Thoroughbred industry; and allows Keeneland to pursue innovative equine safety and welfare initiatives and support equine research that benefits all breeds and disciplines.
Keeneland is the world’s premier Thoroughbred auction house, selling more champions and stakes winners than any other sales company and unmatched in terms of offering the best horses, state-of-the-art sales facilities and a range of client amenities.
Keeneland’s global brand attracts a diverse international clientele. In 2011, buyers from nearly every state and 48 countries, encompassing Europe, the Middle East, Central and South America, Australia, Asia, South Africa, Russia and India, participated in Keeneland’s four annual auctions — it’s signature September Yearling and November Breeding Stock Sales, the April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale and the January Horses of All Ages auction – where sales totaled more than $468 million.
Among its accomplished sales graduates are 73 Breeders’ Cup World Championship winners, 19 Kentucky Derby winners, 20 Preakness winners, 17 Belmont winners, 12 recipients of the Eclipse Award as Horse of the Year, and five Epsom Derby winners.
The world’s best Thoroughbred owners, trainers and jockeys converge each April and October at Keeneland to compete in an idyllic setting like no other in the world. The spring race meeting is anchored by the Toyota Blue Grass and Central Bank Ashland Stakes, Grade 1 prep races for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, respectively. Keeneland’s fall meet opens with FallStars Weekend, featuring nine graded stakes which serve as a springboard to success for many horses in the Breeders’ Cup.
The safety of the sport’s human and equine athletes is at the core of Keeneland’s operation.
Keeneland is a leader in developing and promoting innovative safety initiatives, highlighted by:
- An all-weather track in which the specially-designed top layer works in tandem with a unique vertical drainage system to provide a safer and more consistent racing surface.
- The Jockey Health Information System, which enables emergency personnel at racetracks throughout the country to immediately access a jockey’s updated medical histories.
- Participation in The Jockey Club’s Equine Injury Database and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders (TOBA)’s Career Ending Injury Database, and
- A state-of-the-art safety padding system, Best Pad Safety Solutions, for added protection in the starting gate.
Keeneland’s grounds also feature a state-of-the-art Library, which serves as one of the world’s largest repositories of information related to the Thoroughbred. Founded in 1939, the Library today houses thousands of racing-related books and journals, photographic negatives, and such priceless collections as the Daily Racing Form archive, the photographs of Charles Christian Cook and Bert T. Morgan, and the equine cartoons of the internationally celebrated artist “Peb.”
For more than 75 years, Keeneland has been committed to good corporate citizenship, both in the Central Kentucky community and the horse industry. To date, more than $18 million has been contributed by Keeneland to charitable and equine-related programs in the areas of health and human services, education, arts and culture, animal welfare and historic preservation.
A National Historic Landmark, Keeneland’s beautifully landscaped grounds are open to the public every day. Fans and horsemen alike are welcome to enjoy its spectacular racing, attend one of its annual horse sales, or simply visit the grounds and celebrate Keeneland’s timeless beauty.