Tally-ho the fox at Keeneland, where a vixen and her kits can be spotted early in the mornings at various places around the racecourse property. Red foxes have been sighted at Keeneland in the past but perhaps not as frequently as this summer.
Estimates sizing up the number of kits are as whimsical as fish stories, with some persons believing the vixen has as many as six offspring.
Horse trainer George “Rusty” Arnold said he made the definitive count: four kits. “I saw them all at once one time,” he said, “with the mother and father.” Arnold has a cell phone picture of a fox sitting on the lawn outside his barn.
The foxes are unpredictable about where they will pop up on any day. They have been sighted crossing the dirt and grass courses or the training track. They play on a set of wooden stairs that access the dirt course from the backstretch. Some days they play on a grassy area below the starting gate in the Headley Course chute.
Foxes hunt rabbits and squirrels, and there are plenty of both at Keeneland. They also scavenge whatever they might fancy.
“I’ve seen her with an empty chicken box, the whole box in her mouth,” said John Burke, the trainer for Godolphin. Burke said that horses galloping on the courses don’t seem to mind the foxes. The foxes have become so accustomed to humans and horses “that we’re nearly ready to put a collar on her,” Burke said, joking about the vixen.