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Keeneland makes a few changes for fall meet

Keeneland tinkers with opening day start time, adds a party at the end

jpatton1@herald-leader.comOctober 8, 2009 

  • IF YOU GO

    Keeneland Fall Meet

    When: Oct. 9-31. First race 1:05 p.m., except on opening day, when first post is 2:15 p.m. No live racing Mondays and Tuesdays.

    Where: Keeneland Race Course, 4201 Versailles Rd.

    Tickets: $5 general admission, free for ages 12 and younger.

    Learn more: (859) 254-3412. www.keeneland.com.

    HIGHLIGHTS

    Each Saturday: Breakfast with the Works. Breakfast and children's activities 7-8:30 a.m., equine demonstration at 8:45 a.m. Handicapping seminars at 11:30 a.m. trackside.

    Oct. 9: First post at 2:15 p.m. Swinging at Sunset party after 10th race, which posts at 6:45 p.m.; track admission gets you into the party.

    Oct. 9-11: Fall Stars Weekend. Nine stakes races over three days, with $3.25 million in purses.

    Oct. 14: Make-a-Wish Day. Local Thoroughbred farms and Keeneland grant wishes for nine children.

    Oct. 14, 21 and 28: Keeneland Handicapping Contest. $10 entry fee with a guaranteed $2,500 pool; first 200 participants receive a free Daily Racing Form.

    Oct. 15: Peb Day. Keeneland salutes famous equine cartoonist Pierre Bellocq, aka Peb, who is world-renowned for his murals and caricatures of racing legends. Peb will sign autographs and make a special announcement at 11:30 a.m.

    Oct. 16: College Scholarship Day. College students receive free general admission and the chance to win one of 10 $1,000 scholarships. Buffalo Trace Distillery Sweepstakes, in which patrons may enter to win a VIP Distillery Experience.

    Oct. 18: World Equestrian Games Day. Watch demonstrations of WEG events on the track and enter to win ticket packages and more.

    Oct. 25: Military Family Day. All active and inactive military members and their families receive free general admission with a military ID.

    Oct. 29: Pink Day. Wear pink to promote breast cancer awareness. Ladies-only "Play the Ponies" wagering contest, in which women may test their wagering skills to win prize packages; $10 registration. All proceeds benefit first lady Jane Beshear's Horses and Hope program.

    Oct. 30: See Blue Day. Kickoff to the University of Kentucky's homecoming weekend. Free general admission for UK students, alumni and faculty. See Blue hat signing: Buy a $15 commemorative UK/Keeneland hat and have it signed by former Wildcat stars; proceeds from hat sales benefit UK's Dance Blue initiative.

Racing fans will get to try a few new — and old — things at the fall race meet beginning Friday at Keene land.

On opening day, the track will try a later 2:15 p.m. start time to give fans more time after work to get to the races and add a '30s and '40s-era big-band concert at the end of the day.

Swinging at Sunset — a trackside party complete with the Kentucky Jazz Repertory Orchestra, the HepCats Swing Dance Club, Grey Goose vodka "FallStars Fizz" signature drinks and food — starts immediately after the 10th race, which has a scheduled post time of 6:45 p.m.

Gates open at 11 a.m. as usual. General admission is now $5. The meet continues through Oct. 31. After opening day, the regular start times will be 1:05 p.m.

Racetrack regulars will notice changes in traffic and parking. Keene land has removed part of the median at Gate 1 to widen the road to five lanes, which might be all one way (going in at the start of the day, going out at the end).

Keeneland also will use a 100- person shuttle with multiple stops to get patrons in and out faster from parking behind the Keene Barn Entertainment Center and fields around the Keeneland library.

"From an operational standpoint, it's our top priority for the fall meeting: to get people in quicker, parked quicker and out quicker," Keeneland president Nick Nicholson said in a news release.

For tailgaters near Gate 2, Keeneland will have a larger betting tent and restroom trailers on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, weather permitting.

For detailed information about where to park, which lane to stay in and where to catch the shuttle, go to www.keeneland.com.

Reach Janet Patton at 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3264, or (859) 231-3264.

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