First, know this: Toni Corman and Carol Gilbert never visited Keeneland before they started working there in 1990.
They regret all that lost time, because it turns out that Corman, 66, and Gilbert, 74, are Keeneland naturals.
The goal of the sisters, who oversee Keeneland's Green Coat customer service team, is to make sure that everyone who visits the track leaves with the same big smile they wore on arrival. If you are a Keeneland novice, they know every place you might get a little confused, and they want to help.
They also like to have fun while they do it. The current race meet — which runs through April 24 — is their 49th.
"We never say, 'I don't know,'" Gilbert said. "We say, 'I don't know at this moment.'" Then they make it their business to get an answer.
The sisters work together as if they are equal parts of a comedy team. One will set up a joke just as the other lands the punch line.
"The only thing we can't tell you is the horse that's going to win the race," Gilbert said.
Corman jumps in to add: "We always say, 'Bet on a jockey with white pants.'"
The two pause to guffaw because, well, all jockeys wear white pants.
No question is too small. While common requests center around restrooms and food locations, Corman recalls a patron who just had to know whether an Ohio horse had ever won the Kentucky Derby.
At stake, Corman later found out, was a hot dog, a thing of modest price even at Keeneland, which the requester had to buy, after it was determined that Ohio's Wintergreen won the Derby in 1909.
"It's interesting where people's minds go," Corman said.
How did she and Gilbert get to be a Keeneland institution?
Gilbert started working in customer service at the top of elevator A after her daughter — who was working at Keeneland — was hired at what is now Lexmark and asked her mother to finish her seasonal Keeneland job.
Gilbert decided to bring in her sister for another open slot and notified her by telling her she would be going to work the next day.
"We are just two ladies aging gracefully," Gilbert said. "We can outwork a lot of the 40- and 50-"year-olds.
The work at Keeneland — which also can include such assignments as gift shop duty, library assistance and coordinating simulcast handicapping contests — has been a treasured assignment for both women, who drive in together from their homes in Harrison County, where they live five miles apart.
The women are both married, Gilbert for 56 years and Corman for 50. Gilbert has four children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Corman has one child and one grandchild, with another grandchild on the way.
For Gilbert, the work routine helped her with healing after she lost a son in 1994.
Corman and Gilbert's favorite Keeneland events each year are the annual visit of the Clydesdales, and Corman especially likes the ride of the "headless horseman" for Halloween.
The two sisters rarely bet. They occasionally will toss in a few quarters for a group bet, but generally they prefer the atmosphere of a day at the races to betting.
Corman said the two don't plan to retire. They are both in robust health, and their daily commute takes only 40 minutes each way.
"We'll work as long as our health holds," she said.
Gilbert added: "Or until they get tired of us."