Make your Keeneland tailgate Kentucky Proud with locally made products

Herald-Leader Staff ReportApril 3, 2014 


    Keeneland Spring Meet

    When: April 4-25. Gates open at 11 a.m.; first post at 1:05 p.m. No racing Mondays and Tuesdays or Easter Sunday, April 20.

    Where: Keeneland Race Course, 4201 Versailles Rd.

    Tickets: $5 general admission

    Learn more: (859) 254-3412, 1-800-456-3412,


    Highlights during the meet include:

    April 4: Opening day and College Scholarship Day. Admission free with a college ID. Full-time students may register in the College Zone in the North Terrace to win one of 10 $1,000 scholarships and prizes from local vendors after each of the day's races. The first 2,000 students to register will receive a free T-shirt courtesy of Kennedy's Wildcat Den or a Vineyard Vines baseball hat. Music; free snacks from Qdoba, Raising Cane's and Drake's; games and prizes from Orange Leaf.

    April 4: Vineyard Vines trunk show. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Keeneland Gift Shop.

    April 4, 11, 18: Friday Pick 4 Presented by TVG. A $200,000-guaranteed pool will be offered on races 6-9.

    April 5, 11, 12, 18, 19: Craft Beer Tent featuring craft beers including Country Boy, Kentucky Ale Kolsch, Land Shark, Shock Top, Sierra Nevada and Sweetwater. North Terrace patio.

    April 5, 12, 19: Sunrise Trackside. Family friendly activities beginning at 7 a.m. with Breakfast With the Works, featuring Southern-style breakfast and trackside commentary on Thoroughbreds as they train (until 8:30 a.m.); children's activities (7-9 a.m.); equine-related demonstration in paddock (9 a.m.); walking tours of Keeneland (8-10 a.m.); trackside handicapping seminar (11:30 a.m.); Q&A session with Keeneland jockey in paddock (12:05 p.m.). Photos with bugler Steve Buttleman.

    April 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25: Tailgating at The Hill, adjacent to Keene Barn and Entertainment Center. Food trucks, jumbo TV, wireless wagering and wagering terminals, race-day programs, a Keeneland Gift Shop kiosk and free shuttles to the track. Live bluegrass music on Saturdays.

    April 6: Military Day at the Races. Free general admission for all active and inactive members of the military and their families. Free food, live music, children's activities and more on North Terrace. Meet-and-greet with Army Sgt. Dallas Robinson, a member of the 2014 U.S. Olympic bobsled team.

    April 9, 16, 23: "Wins-day" Challenge handicapping contest. Register at Wagering Central. $10 entry fee. Guaranteed $2,500 pool. First 200 to register will receive a Daily Racing Form and a card for an appetizer at Malone's.

    April 10-13: Meet milliner Christine A. Moore. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Keeneland Gift Shop.

    April 11: Maker's Mark commemorative bottle signing. Bottle sales start April 4 at retail locations across Kentucky and benefit UK HealthCare's Gill Heart Institute.

    April 11, 12: Bosom Buddy Bags trunk show. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Keeneland Gift Shop.

    April 12: All-Stakes Pick 4. $300,000 guaranteed featuring races 8-11, the Shakertown (G3), Madison (G3), Jenny Wiley (G1) and Toyota Blue Grass (G1).

    April 12: All-Stakes Pick 5. $300,000 guaranteed featuring races 7-11, the Commonwealth (G3), Shakertown (G3), Madison (G1), Jenny Wiley (G1), and Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1).

    April 13: Horses and Hope Pink Day to raise breast cancer awareness. Nearly 30 retired and active female jockeys will sign commemorative fundraising poster by Peb.

    April 18: 50 to 1 movie tour celebrating Mine That Bird's victory in the 2009 Derby. Appearance by Mine That Bird and a fan meet-and-greet with actors from the movie.

    April 18: It's My Derby fund-raiser. Includes panel discussion and VIP reception with Stuart Janney, 2013 Derby winner Orb's co-owner and breeder, and Orb trainer Shug McGaughey; trainer Barclay Tagg, winner of the 2003 Derby and Preakness with Funny Cide; and two-time Derby-winning jockey Chris McCarron. Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will moderate the panel. Proceeds benefit Kentucky Derby Museum. In Keeneland Sales Pavilion.

    April 18, 19: Dorfman Pacific trunk show. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Keeneland Gift Shop.

    April 19: Kids Club Easter Egg Hunt. Plus baby chicks, bunnies and other animals from Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. 9 a.m. North Terrace Lawn.

    April 23: TVG Hat Giveaway. First 1,000 patrons with paid admission get voucher for a free TVG hat.

    April 24: Herald-Leader Subscriber Appreciation Day. Free general admission for all Herald-Leader subscribers with the coupon from the front page of the April 24 edition. Meet Herald-Leader personalities.

    April 25: Concert on the Lawn featuring Laura Bell Bundy and Sundy Best. Benefits Markey Cancer Center. Immediately after races on Clubhouse Lawn.

Now that warmer weather is making it bearable to spend time outdoors, you can enjoy Keeneland's beautiful setting by packing a Kentucky Proud tailgate to enjoy during a day at the races.

There are hundreds of delicious products, but here are a few suggestions:


■ Clearly, the drink of choice for a Keeneland tailgate is Kentucky bourbon. Do with it what you will: drink it straight up, on the rocks, with a splash of ginger ale or make a mint julep. Any way you drink it, you're saluting the commonwealth.

■ Other beverages you might consider are Ale-8-One, which is bottled in Winchester, and wines from one of the state's vineyards.

Appetizers and snacks

Of course, it's not good to drink too much without a little something to eat. Start with one of these:

Olivia's beer cheese, made by Olivia Swan and her family. In 2010, Swan and her father, Mike Hurter, entered the amateur competition at the Beer Cheese Festival in Winchester. They won.

They decided to turn their beer cheese into a marketable product, and the line now includes flavors with equine-inspired names. The bourbon and beer cheese is "I'll Have Another," after a Kentucky Derby winner, and the beer and whiskey-flavored spread is "Unbrydled." There's also a special "Wines on Vine" blend.

■ Lexington-made Screamin' Mimi's salsas — sweet hot, sweet hotter, sweet hottest — and tortilla chips, corn chips and garbanzo bean chips.

■ A tray of fresh veggies should also include some Kentucky cheeses from Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese of Austin. Selections include Gouda, Swiss, Colby, Asiago, Kentucky Bleu and Monterey Jack.

■ Fresh, creamy, spreadable chevre from producer Susan Miller, owner of Bleugrass Chevre Farmstead Goat Cheese in Fayette County, would pair nicely with fresh fruit. The cheese is sold in flavors that include garlic-chive, chipotle (smoky with a spicy-hot kick) and cracked black pepper.

Main dishes

Next, the entree.

■ Nothing says Kentucky Proud tailgating like country ham biscuits. You can find the country ham everywhere you turn in Kentucky.

■ As for biscuits, use Weisenberger Mill biscuit mix. Just add water or milk, and you have an authentic Kentucky biscuit made from flour milled in Scott County.

■ On those ham biscuits you can try Weisenberger Mill Wallace Station bourbon mustard by Nancy Ward, owner of Ward's Kentucky Specialties. She co-brands the product with Lexington chef Ouita Michel.

■ Barbecue is good for tailgating, and a number of Kentucky Proud sauces can enhance the smoked meat. Try Devil John Moonshine Barbecue Sauce by Barrel House Distilling Co., Kentucky's Smokin Grill Original BBQ Sauce — which comes in spicy, spicy honey mustard and "too hot for you" varieties — the sweet tomato-based sauce bottled by Moonlite Bar-B-Q in Owensboro.

■ Sides can include salads, deviled eggs, chips and a pickle-and-olive tray with Sweet Dillies Pickles from Crestwood.


For something sweet to finish the meal, there are, again, several options.

■ Bourbon candy is as much a part of Kentucky as the bourbon itself. Candy makers including Ruth Hunt and Rebecca Ruth have been in business since the early 1900s.

■ Try another tradition with Mom Blakeman's cream pulled candy of Lancaster.

■ Derby-Pie — available in the freezer section at groceries — from Kern's Kitchen in Louisville is a Kentucky tradition during racing season.

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