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The Commonwealth

Horses head to the post this Friday for another spring meet at Keeneland

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Stu Johnson
/
Keeneland Race Track

This Friday will find an annual rite of spring taking place in Lexington. Thoroughbred horses will break from the gate as Keeneland holds its spring race meet.

Officials at Keeneland say one of the best spring meets is anticipated with the historic track set to award $7.7 million for 19 stakes races. Amy Gregory is the director of communications for Keeneland. She said the meet is attracting some of the best horses from around the country. Gregory said revenue from electronic historic horse racing coupled with successful horse sales help to shape race purses.

“We generate a lot of our revenue from our horse sales each year and we reinvest that revenue in our purse money to strengthen our racing program. So, there’s a great synergy there.”

Even during the pandemic, Gregory noted sales at Keeneland have been very strong. She added the day-to-day optimal capacity will be around 20,000 spectators.

“And we found that as far as concession lines and betting windows, things like that, it really helps us to, again, provide a memorable and nice experience for our guests. To maneuver around the grounds, see horses, and really enjoy their afternoon.”

Gregory said some of the larger crowds, in excess of 35,000, occurred during previous Breeders’ Cup racing at Keeneland.

New this spring, the Central Bank Ashland, an Oaks prep race, will be run on opening day, this Friday. The Toyota Bluegrass, a prep for the Derby, is scheduled Saturday afternoon.

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