A Rite of Spring

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 6, 2011 in General Discussion | 2 Comments >>

KeenelandTo some it may be the end of “March Madness” or the first pitch of opening day.  But for me, it is when the Dogwoods come in bloom and the horses make their way to the paddock at Keeneland.

This is the 75th anniversary of heaven falling on earth, and it only lasts for 15 days. For the fans in Kentucky, the drive is pleasure and the tail-gating is top shelf. You will see college kids decked out in the fashion of the day and others in t-shirts. It is the great melting pot of racing, a place that should be on your list of places to visit.

A place that echoes some names of horses that were called: Alysheba, Citation, Monarchos, Gato Del Sol, Sunny’s Halo, and many others that gave us the most exciting two minutes we could ask for. The talent always shows up and the weather is perfect. The track once upon a time, did not have an announcer, fancy tote board, gimmicks, and only eight races. But things have changed.

Keeneland is the best track in America voted by the Horseplayers Association of America (HANA).  It is on the list of historic places. Did I mention that they have led the way in innovation? The wagering menu appeases every big player, and leaves very little to be desired. The track puts on handicapping contests, community events, bands, and military days. Keeneland caters to the big and small player alike. It is a place to be seen, and time to be savored.

It all begins this Friday with a first post of 1:10 p.m. – gates open at 11:00 a.m. and no matter the weather, the days are golden. Savored like a fine cigar, or the bouquet of an excellent vintage, I am looking forward to the opening.  If you remotely enjoy racing. make it a must to visit. I can remember my first trip with my dad and mom, who was his girlfriend at the time. The place was packed and the action was hot. Speed was king and I was doing what I loved with my best friend in the world. If I live to be 100-years-old, I don’t think I’ll grow tired of going.