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Beginner's Guide To The Keeneland Fall Meet

October 2, 2018

The essentials

Race dates: Oct. 5-27, with no racing Mondays or Tuesdays

Gates open: 11 a.m.

First post: 1:05 p.m. daily, with the exception of Saturday, Oct. 6, when first post is 12:40 p.m.


How to get tickets

  • General Admission: General admission tickets are $5, and always available for purchase at the gates or online in advance of your day at the races.
  • Reserved seating: Purchase Reserved Grandstand tickets online in advance.
  • Dining: Limited dining may be available. Click here to view reservation and ticketing options.


Information at your fingertips

  • Keeneland Race Day App: Your complete guide to a day of racing at Keeneland. View entries and results, use the Bet Simulator to calculate your wagers, watch race replays and share your location with friends via interactive maps of the grounds.
  • Follow Keeneland on Social Media: One of the best ways to stay informed is to connect with us on social media. Be sure to follow Keeneland on Instagram (@keeneland), Twitter (@keenelandracing and @keeneland) and Facebook for the latest and greatest updates.


All things wagering

Wagering Central

  • Keeneland BETologists & Wagering Central: Roaming BETologists can answer any of your wagering questions. Look for them throughout Keeneland or at Wagering Central on the first floor Grandstand.
  • “Today at Keeneland” with Jesse Ullery: Watch the daily show that previews the day’s races and offers wagering advice at 11:30 a.m. from Wagering Central. Also available on Keeneland.com, TVG2 and in Lexington on The CW!

  • “BETmobile” Golf Cart: New this season, Pop-Up BETology will send BETologists into large tailgating groups and highly congregated areas at Keeneland for betting demonstrations. Keep an eye out for the specially branded BETmobile golf cart roaming The Hill and parking lots.

  • Daily 101 BETology: Stop by Wagering Central at 12:05 p.m. for a quick 15-minute session for beginning handicappers. Topics will include “The Vocabulary of Betting," “Understanding Odds" and more.

  • Keeneland Select: Skip the mutuel line and place your bets from your phone anywhere on the grounds with Keeneland Select. The mobile site also offers live racing video and replays. There’s even a sign-up bonus!


Best time to see Breeders’ Cup-bound horses

  • Keeneland’s first weekend of racing, Fall Stars Weekend on Oct. 5-7, offers 10 stakes races, 9 of which are Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In Races.” Winners will receive automatic berths to the Nov. 2-3 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs.

  • The newest Breeders’ Cup Challenge race is the $200,000 Indian Summer, a 5½–furlong race on turf for 2-year-olds on Oct. 7. The winner will earn a spot in the starting gate for the new $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.

  • Keeneland’s final Breeders’ Cup Challenge race is the $200,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2), a 1 1/16-mile race on turf for 2-year-old fillies on Oct. 10. The winner of the race earns a berth to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).


Best photo ops for a “likeable” post

  • The Jockey Garden: The colorful jockey statues near the Saddling Paddock represent the silks of Keeneland’s Grade 1 stakes-winning owners, and provide the best backdrop for selfies or photos with your group.

  • Fall Meet Commemorative Print by Lee Wybranski: This larger-than-life print by the noted golf artist that celebrates the Fall Meet is near the Grandstand South entrance.

  • With a Horse: In between races, Keeneland’s four outriders (mounted attendants who escort the horse and jockey to the starting gate) are stationed in the tunnel between the Walking Ring and track and mingle with racing fans of all ages.  

Signature Eats 

  • Track Kitchen: Enjoy one of the best breakfast burritos in town … or pancakes, sausage gravy and biscuits, bacon, etc. Located in the heart of Keeneland’s Stable Area, the Track Kitchen is open 5 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and 5 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday and Tuesday during the race meet.

  • Clockers Corner: A favorite spot for trainers, grab a made-from-scratch donut and coffee at Clockers Corner on the track apron while watching morning workouts. 

  • Burgoo: You can’t come to Keeneland without sampling this tasty Southern stew. Find it at Blue Moon BBQ or the Winner’s Circle Stand on the first floor, Fresh Express or the Keeneland Grill on the second floor and Draft Dog on the third floor Grandstand.

  • Bread Pudding: Nobody does bread pudding better than Keeneland, especially when it’s served warm and topped with Maker’s Mark bourbon sauce. Get your dish at Fresh Express on the second floor Grandstand.

  • Midweek Lunch Specials: Head to any concession stand on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. for $1 hot dogs and half-priced beers. 

  • Keeneland Breeze Truffle: Milk chocolate tones down the sweetness of a creamy orange center, which is filled with the flavors of Maker’s Mark bourbon and orange liqueur. 


Tasty beverages

  • Buffalo Bow Tie: Check out this delicious combination of Buffalo Trace Bourbon, white peach syrup and ginger ale available throughout the Grandstand.

  • Keeneland Fall Ale: Brewed to celebrate the sales and racing season at Keeneland by Lexington’s Country Boy Brewing, Keeneland Fall Ale is a lightly hopped American Pale Ale. The popular small-batch brew is available at Keeneland, Country Boy and area bars and restaurants for a limited time only.


Fashion tips

  • The Keeneland Shop: Take home a uniquely Keeneland souvenir or browse an array of fashion and accessories, home décor, barware, books and artwork. A complimentary “shop and drop” service allows you to leave your purchases in a safe location while you enjoy the rest of your race day.

  • Milliners Corner:Find the perfect hat for a day at the races at this special location just outside The Keeneland Shop.

  • Near the Equestrian Room: A variety of items are waiting for you at this special location on the first-floor Grandstand outside the Equestrian Room and near the finish line.


Where to see the horses

  • Saddling Paddock: Before each race, Thoroughbreds are walked from the Stable Area to be saddled under the trees in the Paddock. 

  • Walking Ring: Riders up! Once saddled, the horses parade into the Walking Ring, where jockeys mount and ride through the tunnel to the track for the post parade.

  • Sunrise Trackside: Thoroughbreds and their human connections begin the day well before sunrise. See what they’re up to during Sunrise Trackside, a free, family-friendly event with activities for all ages: Breakfast With the Works features breakfast for purchase and trackside commentary (7-8:30 a.m.) while racehorses train on the main track; children’s activities in the Kids Club Corner (7:30-9:30 a.m.); free guided Keeneland tours (7:30-10 a.m.); Paddock demonstration with an equine-related organization (9 a.m.) and a Jockey Q&A in the Paddock (noon, except for Oct. 6). 


Where to meet friends

  • Rolex clock: The distinctive Keeneland green timepiece towers above the crowd in the Paddock Garden near the Walking Ring.

  • Sycamore tree: The iconic sycamore, as old as Keeneland itself, is easy to spot just inside the Grandstand East entrance at the edge of the Walking Ring.


Best place to tailgate

  • The Hill (Fridays and Saturdays): Invite your group, assemble your best buffet, pack your cornhole game and head to The Hill, Keeneland’s official tailgating area. The Hill offers wagering, all the racing action via jumbo TV, live music on Saturdays, food trucks and more. Hop on a free shuttle heading from The Hill to the Grandstand to continue the fun trackside. 

  • Tailgating Rental Suite on The Hill: New this fall, Keeneland is offering the ultimate tailgating suite for rental.This venue expands beyond a tent to create the ultimate VIP tailgating experience to accommodate nearly 75 guests with a 40’ x 40’ climate-controlled interior kitchen that has hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, while an outside entertainment lounge features expansive couches and four 55” weatherproof TVs. 



Go behind the scenes

Keeneland backstretch tour

  • Official tours: Schedule a Behind-the-Scenes Racing tour to learn about race-day operations, take a guided walk through the barns and stop in the Jockeys Quarters. The new Owner’s Experience tour offers a unique view of a race where fans will follow horses through the Paddock and Walking Ring, and witness the “Riders Up” call before viewing the race from the Winner’s Circle. The Backstretch Tourprovides an insider look at what happens leading up to race day, including racehorse preparations, a trackside view of morning workouts, the Racing Office and restricted Jockey’s Quarters. 


Family fun

  • Sunrise Trackside: Set your alarm early on Saturdays and bring your family to Sunrise Trackside. Beginning at 7 a.m., you can enjoy breakfast trackside and watch the horses train while listening to expert commentary. A full morning of fun includes children’s activities, walking tours and equine-related demonstrations. The Oct. 27 edition features the famous Headless Horseman and a costume contest for children. Click here for details.

  • “Secretariat” Meet and Greet: Scenes from the movie “Secretariat” were filmed at Keeneland in 2009, and on Sunday, Oct. 14, Keeneland will welcome fans of the legendary horse and those attending the Secretariat Festival to the Secretariat Festival Meet and Greet. Otto Thorwarth, who portrayed Ron Turcotte in the movie, and Keith Austin, who was Laffit Pincay Jr., will be joined by Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Secretariat’s late owner, Penny Chenery; and Bill Doolittle, author of The Day Time Didn’t Stand Still, for a meet and greet near the Walking Ring from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. ET.

  • Keeneland Kids Club: Oct. 14 is Kids Club Family Day, where Keeneland fans 12 and younger and their families can enjoy free general admission and children’s activities on the North Terrace. Not a member? Sign up here.


Best place to watch a race

Keeneland on the rail

  • Along the rail: Feel the thundering hooves as horses race down the stretch to the finish.

  • Grandstand reserved seat: Be a fan in the stands, cheering on your favorites from seats that offer a covered, elevated view of the entire race track.

  • Paddock Garden/North Terrace Patio: Place your bets, grab a favorite beverage and watch the race unfold on the giant video monitors just off the Saddling Paddock and Walking Ring.



Friday fan giveaways

  • Darley umbrellas: On Oct. 5, day of the Darley Alcibiades (G1), the first 3,000 fans 18 and older will receive a voucher to redeem for a Darley umbrella from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 

  • VIP Distillery Experience with Buffalo Trace: On Oct. 12, day of the Buffalo Trace Franklin County (G3), fans can sign up to win a VIP tour and visit the Paddock Bar for specialty cocktails (weather permitting). 

  • Horse Country Tour from Pin Oak Stud: On Oct. 19, day of the Pin Oak Valley View (G3), Pin Oak Stud will offer a Horse Country Tour and gift package from 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m.