It felt more like winter at Keeneland on Saturday, the second day of the track’s spring meet.
Early snow flurries and biting wind might be to blame for a lower turnout for the day of racing culminating with the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass Stakes: The announced attendance was 20,848, compared with 26,357 for the same race in 2015.
It took nearly nine of the day’s 11 races for temperatures to reach the mid-40s, but fans found ways to adapt.
Monica Wangler wore mittens, a thick scarf and a twin-size fleece blanket. By the time the ninth race started, Wangler, who drove in from Columbus, Ohio, was hoping to break even. But she said gambling wasn’t the main reason she was there.
“It’s beautiful here, that’s mostly why,” she said.
Bart, from Nashville, found a creative way to beat the chill: He wore a Santa Claus costume, complete with a beard and a felt hat.
He was stopped many times by people wanting to take a photo with him.
“Everyone wants pictures — it’s the best ever,” he said.
In the stands, Wallace and Kelty of Lexington cheered as long shot Weep No More took the Ashland Stakes at the wire. Wallace said they bet the No. 1 horse because they had a good feeling about it.
“Number 1 started off slow, but like I told her, it came back all the way from the end,” Wallace said.
“And 1 has only done one dirt race, and it won it,” Kelty said.
Karly Crait’s group tailgated in her packed RV starting at 8 a.m., and the group was still going strong by the early afternoon. Crait’s crowd was made up of her nursing co-workers and their friends. She said they tailgate every year for “the horses, the racing, the betting.”
She said they would make it into the stands eventually.
Landon Humble of Lexington was among 10 or so people tailgating without the protection of an RV in the grass near Gate 2.
Humble, wearing a thick jacket, said he’s been friends with the group since middle school. They were celebrating a friend’s birthday — the only reason, Humble said, that you would find him at the track enduring “20 mile-an-hour gusts.”