(Fans interact with horses at Keeneland in a variety of ways / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the Keeneland Media Team:

World-class Thoroughbred racing returns to Central Kentucky for Keeneland’s 2021 Spring Meet, which opens Friday, April 2 and covers 15 days through April 23. Keeneland is welcoming back a limited number of fans to the track this spring while offering multiple opportunities for people to enjoy the meet remotely through its Celebrate Keeneland Presented by Central Bank campaign.

“There are many ways – big and small – for everyone to celebrate Keeneland and take part in the fanfare and traditions they love,” Keeneland Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Christa Marrillia said. “We encourage fans to make the Spring Meet a part of their lives even when they aren’t going to the races. Everyone has their own Keeneland traditions: getting dressed up, making a favorite cocktail, planning a gathering with friends. We have all the tips and tools for you to celebrate Keeneland your way.”

 Fans are encouraged to visit CelebrateKeeneland.com and share the creative ways they are celebrating Keeneland by tagging @Keeneland on social media and by using the hashtag #CelebrateKeeneland

TV, online options for watching the Spring Meet

 Every day during the Spring Meet, races will begin at 1:05 p.m. ET. Keeneland is offering complimentary Digital Programs Presented by Baird by clicking here or through the Keeneland Race Day app available for download on your phone or tablet.

Race-day coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. with “Today at Keeneland,” a 30-minute preview show with handicapping picks and discussion of horses of interest. Racing analysts Gabby Gaudet and Scott Hazelton host the program, which airs live onKeeneland.com, Keeneland Select, Facebook Live, TVG2, The CW Lexington and WKYT.com

At 1 p.m., TVG will begin its live, extensive coverage of every Keeneland race.

Thanks to the Keeneland Livestream Powered by Kentucky Utilities, fans can watch all Spring Meet races live and at no charge on Keeneland.com, Keeneland Race Day App, Keeneland Select, Keeneland’s Facebook page and Keeneland’s YouTube page.

The first two days of the season will offer nine stakes worth $2.5 million. The 11-race card on April 3 will feature six stakes led by two classic preps: the 97th running of the $800,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) and the 84th running of the $400,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1). Both races are worth 170 qualifying points, respectively, to the Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve and Kentucky Oaks (G1).

On April 3, NBC Sports Network will televise the Toyota Blue Grass along with the Wood Memorial (G2) Presented by Resorts World Casino from Aqueduct and Runhappy Santa Anita Derby (G1) from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Post time for the Toyota Blue Grass is 6:35 p.m.

Following the first two days of the Spring Meet, Keeneland will be closed for racing Easter Sunday, April 4. Racing will resume Wednesday, April 7, and will be held Wednesdays through Sundays.

Angles for fans and horseplayers

Spanish-speaking Thoroughbred racing fans from across the U.S. and around the world can learn more about Keeneland racing through DRF en Espanol. Keeneland is presenting sponsor of the fully translated platform that includes articles and handicapping selections along with analysis videos featuring Keeneland racing.

Visit DRF en Espanol or follow on Twitter @DRFenEspanol and Instagram @drfenespanol for more information. Users also can sign up to receive the e-newsletter, Al dia con DRF en Espanol.

On April 10, day of the Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1) and Stonestreet Lexington (G3), Keeneland will hold the $3,000 Grade One Gamble handicapping contest.  Prizes include cash and as many as six berths in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and 10 spots in the National Horseplayers Championship.

The Grade One Gamble is open to players who use an ADW. The deadline to enter is noon on April 10. (Click here for more information and to enter.)

Special events on the schedule

Several special events are slated for the Spring Meet. The first is the April 9 College Scholarship Day Presented by Lane’s End, which will be held virtually.

 Students may click here to pre-register by 5 p.m. on April 9 for a chance to win one of $35,000 in scholarships or a prize package provided by a local Lexington business. Lane’s End is giving two students a chance to win a $5,000 scholarship and enjoy a day at the races. Coca-Cola and Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, additional sponsors of the event, will give away a total of $25,000 in scholarships.

For the April 11 Kids Club Family Day Presented by Kentucky Children’s Hospital, five lucky families will have the chance to enjoy a day at the races. Kids Club Families will be emailed a registration link to enter to win the contest. Families who are not current members can sign their children up by clicking here and proceed to the contest registration.

On April 18, Keeneland will host Military Day Presented by UPS. This event will showcase a POW-MIA Chair of Honor as part of a program that brings awareness to past and current POW-MIA military members through a partnership with The Rolling Thunder Kentucky Chapter 5. The POW-MIA Chair of Honor will be located in the Paddock area. Keeneland will recognize and honor special guests throughout the day.

Featured Spring Meet charity

Continuing its mission to invest in the Central Kentucky community, Keeneland has designated the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden as its featured charity for the Spring Meet.

Located in Lexington’s historic East End, the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden is on property owned by the legendary 19thcentury jockey. It is the first park in the U.S. to honor the earliest African American professional athletes: Thoroughbred jockeys. Proceeds from the sales of the 2021 commemorative Maker’s Mark Bourbon® bottle in partnership with Keeneland will be earmarked for the placement of a permanent art installation by East End artist LaVon Williams and for future programming within the park.

Keeneland encourages fans to contribute to this cause by donating to bgcf.givingfuel.com/immag.

Keeneland 2021 Spring Meet at a Glance

Schedule: 15 days from April 2-23. No racing Mondays, Tuesdays and Easter Sunday, April 4.

First race: 1:05 p.m.

Programs: Click here for complimentary Digital Programs Presented by Baird or download them off the Keeneland Race Day app on your phone or tablet. Click here for the list of locations that are selling Keeneland programs.

Tickets: Weekday General Admission packages are still available for purchase. Visit tickets.keeneland.com to learn more. Check frequently for availability throughout the race meet.


Tours: Keeneland is offering morning tours to the public throughout the race meet. Visit keeneland.com/tours to purchase.


The Keeneland Shop: The Keeneland Shop is open to non-ticketed guests from 9-5 on Mondays and Tuesdays and Wednesday-Sunday from 9-11 a.m. Ticketed patrons may shop on race days until the final race.


Morning workouts: Visitors may visit Keeneland and enjoy morning workouts daily until 10 a.m.


Featured charity: Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden


Social: Use the hashtag #CelebrateKeeneland

Websites: CelebrateKeeneland.com and Keeneland.com