(Keeneland / Photos by Holly M. Smith)
From the Keeneland Media Team:
Keeneland’s 2023 Spring Meet, which features the 99th running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1) and the 86th running of the $600,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), will mark the return of spring to Central Kentucky when the 15-day season opens Friday, April 7. The Spring Meet will present 19 stakes, including five Grade 1 events, worth a season record $8.05 million and has added Sundays to the schedule for the popular tailgating area known as The Hill.
The Spring Meet’s first two days will offer eight stakes worth a total of $4.05 million. Opening day will card 10 races with the Central Bank Ashland, the year’s first Grade 1 race for 3-year-old fillies, leading three stakes for sophomores. The following day, Keeneland will run 11 races headed by the prestigious Toyota Blue Grass for 3-year-olds along with four other graded stakes worth a combined $2.65 million. NBC will televise the Toyota Blue Grass and another Keeneland stakes from 4:30-6 p.m.
“For Central Kentucky and fans of Thoroughbred racing around the world, April means Keeneland,” said Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin. “We are excited once again to offer world-class racing to horsemen, horsewomen, horseplayers and fans and to present a fantastic experience for our guests that is centered around outstanding hospitality and the best in Thoroughbred racing.”
The Spring Meet runs through Friday, April 28. Racing will be conducted Wednesdays through Sundays, excluding Easter Sunday, April 9. Post time for the first race is 1 p.m. daily, except April 8 when the first race is at 12:30 p.m.
Buy tickets in advance
All tickets to Keeneland for the Spring Meet must be purchased in advance via Keeneland’s Official Online Ticket Office at tickets.Keeneland.com/racing.
Keeneland offers a return policy of up to 48 hours in advance of race day. Because ticket inventory is updated automatically and available for purchase at tickets.Keeneland.com/racing, fans should check the official ticketing site regularly.
Visit Keeneland.com/welcome for the Patron Experience Guide to help you make the most of your day at Keeneland.
New: Sundays on The Hill
Because of the popularity of tailgating on The Hill, Keeneland has added Sundays to the schedule this April. The Hill now will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, weather permitting. No ticket or reservation is required for The Hill, located adjacent to the Keene Barn & Entertainment Center and accessible via Gate 1 (at Man o’ War Blvd.) or Gate 4 (off Van Meter Road on the east side of Keeneland).
Fans on The Hill can watch the racing action via a jumbo TV and place their bets in a wagering tent while they enjoy live music presented by The Burl and food trucks. Complimentary shuttles to the track are offered. New on Saturdays on The Hill is the Smoke Easy Mobile Cigar Lounge, which will have cigars available for purchase.
For those who want to elevate their experience, Keeneland again is partnering with RevelXP to offer tailgate packages for groups of any size.Whether a party of 10 or 750, RevelXP can organize your tailgate by furnishing a designated tent, catering, amenities and more. VisitKeeneland.com/tailgating for full details.
Watch on TV and online
Fans can watch all Spring Meet races live and at no charge thanks to the Keeneland Livestream on Keeneland.com, Keeneland Race Day App, Keeneland Select and Keeneland’s YouTube channel.
Other coverage of Keeneland racing includes:
- “Today at Keeneland,” a 30-minute race-day preview show with handicapping picks and discussion of horses of interest. Racing analysts Gabby Gaudet and Scott Hazelton host the program, which streams live on Keeneland.com, Keeneland Select, Keeneland’s YouTube channel, WKYT.com and FanDuel+. Also airs live on The CW Lexington and airs live Saturdays and Sundays on FanDuel Racing.
- FanDuel TV, which will present live extensive coverage of every race beginning with the first post at 1 p.m. On April 8, when Keeneland’s first race is 12:30 p.m., FanDuel coverage will begin at that time.
- NBC will televise the Toyota Blue Grass along with the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby (G1) and another Keeneland stakes from 4:30-6 p.m. The Toyota Blue Grass is the ninth race with a 5:15 p.m. post.
Keeneland en Español returns for Spanish-speaking fans
Keeneland again will engage Spanish-speaking fans of Thoroughbred racing during the Spring Meet by continuing its partnership with DRF en Español to provide Spanish coverage of the April 7-8 opening weekend with host and handicapper Roberto Rodriguez and race caller David Merida.
The schedule for Spanish coverage on April 7-8 is:
- Noon on April 7: “Keeneland Hoy!,” a 45-minute preview show.
- 12:30 p.m. on April 7: “Keeneland en Español,” with full race-day coverage including race calls, analysis and interviews.
- Noon on April 8, day of the Toyota Blue Grass when the first race is 12:30 p.m.: “Keeneland en Español.”
For more details, visit Keeneland en Español and DRFenEspañol,com. The live broadcast of opening weekend is available on YouTube on the Keeneland en Español channel and the DRF en Español channel.
For the entire Spring Meet, Spanish-speaking fans of Keeneland may access:
- Keeneland’s Race Day app, which is available in Spanish for fans whose native language is set to Spanish on their iPhone or Android device;
- La Referencia, a complimentary publication with analysis and detailed handicapping information, which is being presented by Keeneland and DRF en Español for fans to download; and
- Roberto Rodriguez’s Spanish analysis posted on the Expert Picks section of Keeneland.com.
These Keeneland initiatives extend a partnership that began during the 2020 Fall Meet with the founding of DRF en Español.
Special wagers, handicapping contests engage fans, test skills
The Spring Meet will offer special wagers and competitions for casual to experienced handicappers. The popular Keeneland Turf Pick 3, which requires a $3 minimum, again will be offered on the final three turf races of the day’s card.
On opening day, the Lafayette, Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3) and Central Bank Ashland will be included in late Pick 4 and late Pick 5 wagers. The Kentucky Utilities Transylvania will be part of the Keeneland Turf Pick 3.
The next day, the All-Stakes Pick 4 and All Stakes Pick 5 will conclude with the Toyota Blue Grass.
Keeneland’s races on Saturdays also will be included in the Cross Country multi-race wager offered by the New York Racing Association.
Additional handicapping events during the Spring Meet include:
Wednesday, April 12, 19, 26: WINS-Day Challenge Sponsored by Malone’s. This is an inexpensive way for beginner handicappers to try contests. Enter for $10 at Wagering Central on the first floor of the Grandstand and place a mythical $2 win and place wager – no actual money required – on Keeneland races 3-8.
Friday, April 14: Spring Handicapping Challenge. Available only at the track, the Spring Handicapping Challenge offers one berth to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) in November at Santa Anita Park and as many as four spots to the 2024 National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) in Las Vegas. Players will wager a live bankroll of $250 on Keeneland races. Click hereto register and for more information.
Saturday, April 15: Grade 1 Gamble. The signature handicapping contest of the Spring Meet is the Grade 1 Gamble, which Keeneland is hosting in cooperation with XpressBet, NYRABets, 4NJ Bets, HPI and TVG on the day of the Jenny Wiley (G1), Stonestreet Lexington (G3) and Giant’s Causeway (L). Entry fee is $3,500 with $2,500 going to a live bankroll and $1,000 to the prize fund. Contestants may play at Keeneland or on one of the aforementioned ADW platforms. Prizes include an estimated $75,000 for first place (based on 300 entries), as many as six berths in the BCBC and 10 spots in the NHC. Click here to register and for more information.
Effective with the Spring Meet, Drive Thru Wagering no longer will be offered on live Keeneland race days. Patrons are encouraged to visit the simulcast facility at Red Mile, where parking and admission are free. Drive Thru Wagering will be available at Keeneland on Kentucky Oaks Day and Kentucky Derby Day.
Special events connect to Keeneland’s philanthropic mission
Accompanying the Spring Meet’s world-class racing are rewarding special events that continue Keeneland’s mission to support the Central Kentucky community and the Thoroughbred industry. Highlights include:
Friday, April 7: Jockey Autograph Signing. Fans will meet active and retired Keeneland riders and Hall of Famers in an event that benefits the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF). Signing takes place outside the Walking Ring from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 8, 15, 22: Sunrise Trackside. This free Saturday morning program is geared toward families and offers a unique view of Thoroughbreds during training hours. Children’s activities, located on the first floor of the Grandstand from 8-10 a.m., include a visit with Keeneland’s mascot, Buckles, along with face painting, games and more. Fans can enjoy coffee and donuts at the Starting Gate concession stand while watching horses train. Mini tours will be available at the Welcome Stand near the Paddock. A meet and greet with a horse will take place in the Walking Ring from 8:30-9 a.m.
Friday, April 14: College Scholarship Day Presented by Lane’s End. Keeneland invites college students to enjoy a day of racing, prizes, scholarship giveaways, behind-the-scenes racing experiences, reserved seating and more. By pre-registering, students will receive a free general admission ticket good for April 14 and have the opportunity to win one of ten (10) $2,000 scholarships provided by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Keeneland. Students who attend the race day and have their tickets scanned day-of also will be eligible to win two additional $10,000 scholarships provided by Lane’s End Farm, as well as prize packages from local Kentucky businesses. Pre-register at www.Keeneland.com/csd.
Sunday, April 16: Military Day at the Races Presented by UPS. This event recognizes the men and women who serve our country. All active duty, reserve, veterans and military families receive free general admission and reserved Grandstand seating with a military ID. Military guests and their families can enjoy complimentary food from the Lexington Griffin Gate Marriott and Coca-Cola in the Military Family Zone in the North Terrace from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sunday, April 23: Keeneland Kids Club Family Day Presented by Kentucky Children’s Hospital. The Keeneland Kids Club is the Official Kids Club for Keeneland fans 12 and younger. Kids Club members and their families are invited to enjoy a special day at the races and receive free general admission and access to reserved Grandstand seating when they present their membership cards at admission gates. Children’s activities, which will take place in the North Terrace from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., include face painting and activities with local community partners such as Explorium of Lexington, Kentucky Horse Park, Eckert’s Orchard, Kentucky Children’s Hospital and Amplify Horse Racing. A treat from Hoggy’s Ice Cream will be available for Kids Club members.
Sunday, April 23: Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund Telethon. The fourth annual fundraising event will be based in the Limestone Café in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion.
Keeneland 2023 Spring Meet at a Glance
Schedule: 15 days from April 7-28. No racing Mondays, Tuesdays and Easter Sunday, April 9.
Gates open: 11 a.m.
First race: 1 p.m. except for April 8 when first post is 12:30 p.m.
Five Grade 1 stakes: $600,000 Central Bank Ashland on April 7, $1 million Toyota Blue Grass and $600,000 Madison on April 8, $600,000 Maker’s Mark Mile on April 14 and $600,000 Jenny Wiley on April 15.
Watch races: Thanks to the Keeneland Livestream, fans can watch all Spring Meet races live and at no charge on Keeneland.com,Keeneland Race Day App, Keeneland Select and Keeneland’s YouTube channel.
Patron Experience Guide: Visit Keeneland.com/welcome for this resource to help you make the most of your day at Keeneland.
Keeneland Newsletter: Sign up for email updates of your areas of interest at Keeneland.com/newsletter.
Social: @keeneland on Facebook and Instagram and @keenelandracing on Twitter. Use hashtag #Keeneland
Official Keeneland Tours: Click here for availability and to purchase.
The Keeneland Shop: Located near the Grandstand South entrance, The Keeneland Shop will host Taste of the Races from March 31 to April 2. Shoppers will receive a 20% discount in the store and sample Keeneland Brown Butter Popcorn and the Keeneland Spring Lager.
In April, The Keeneland Shop will be open from 9 a.m. to 30 minutes following the final race and on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On race days, Milliners Corner and Wagering Central and East Gate entrance locations of The Keeneland Shop will be open. Milliners Corner will feature Christine A. Moore (April 7-8), Formé Millinery (April 15) and Blake from Christine A. Moore (April 22). The Keeneland Shop will feature LexArts’ Horse Mania (April 14), Clayton & Crume (April 15) and “Cocktail Contessa” Heather Wibbels (April 22).
On April 7-8, Formé Millinery will host a trunk show at Keeneland Mercantile in downtown Lexington.
Keeneland Library: Located on Keeneland’s campus, Keeneland Library features the free exhibit The Heart of the Turf: Racing’s Black Pioneers through August. The Library is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To reach the Library, enter Keeneland at Gate 1 on Keeneland Blvd. and take the first right on Entertainment Ct. The Library is to the left of the Keene Barn and Entertainment Center.
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