Keeneland Then and Now

It all began on October 15, 1936, when Keeneland hosted its first day of live Thoroughbred racing.

Royal Raiment, ridden by J. Gilbert, trained by J.W. Healy, wins the first race at Keeneland on Opening Day, October 15, 1936. (Left) Doug O'Neill's 5-year-old gray gelding Bailoutbobby runs away with the G2 Marathon in 2015. (right)

Located in the heart of Kentucky's beloved bluegrass region, Keeneland has played a vital role throughout the history of Thoroughbred racing and breeding.

Photo of three of Keeneland’s founders – Hal Price Headley, Duval Headley and Louis Lee Haggis.

From Keeneland's start-up in 1936, the founders intended it to be a special place. The track has been a spot for families to gather, horses to race and bets to be won.

Opening Day at Keeneland 1936 with new grandstand. (Technology tip: For all the consecutive photos in this article, imagine them laid on top of each other and when you scroll over the photo it compares the old one to the new one.)
Photo by Tim Holahan - Keeneland's Race Track in April of 2013.

Each April and October, the country’s best Thoroughbred trainers, owners and jockeys gather at Keeneland to compete for some of America’s richest purse money.

Royal Raiment, ridden by J. Gilbert, won the first race at Keeneland on Opening Day. (left) The horse, September Sale, races on April 7, 2017. (right)

The race track holds timeless traditions, one being the musical talent of Keeneland's bugler who calls the start of each race.

Keeneland remembers George “Bucky” Sallee, bugler at the historic race track for more than 50 years until his retirement in the fall of 2013, as Bugler Emeritus.
Steve Buttleman, of Louisville, Ky., brings nearly 20 years of experience to Keeneland as the new bugler.

Keeneland's attire has always followed a classic dress code: dresses and hats for the women, coats and ties for the men.

Photos by Ladies on the Clubhouse lawn during the Fall Meet in 1954. (left) Ladies on the Clubhouse lawn during the Fall Meet in 2010. (right)

While the races are the most prominent aspect to the public, the sales company has always been what truly drives Keeneland.

The richest, most famous race at Keeneland and one of the most storied events in all of Thoroughbred racing is the 92nd running of the Toyota Blue Grass.

Keeneland has developed into exactly what it was planned to be - an innovation for Thoroughbred horse racing and a place for big wins and thrilled people to collide.


Lexington Herald Leader

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