Prestigious races, new tools for fans and horseplayers, Spanish coverage on tap
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Keeneland’s 15-day Spring Meet, which features the 98th running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1), opens Friday, April 8 with a celebration of the season led by world-class Thoroughbred racing, family-friendly on-track special events, tailgating on The Hill and digital information options for fans and horseplayers. New this meet are the online Patron Experience Guide, designed to help patrons plan their day at the races, and complimentary Trip Note Pros, which give handicappers detailed trip analysis for contenders in each race.
Racing at Keeneland promises to be unmatched this spring. Keeneland will award a record $7.7 million for 19 stakes to be run during the season – all of which boast increased purses. Classic preps are the centerpiece of the first two days of the race meet as the opening-day card now includes the 85th running of the Central Bank Ashland (G1), worth a stakes-record $600,000, for 3-year-old fillies. The following day, NBC will televise the Toyota Blue Grass, which has returned to Grade 1 status and again will be worth $1 million for 3-year-olds.
During the Spring Meet, races begin at 1 p.m. each day except for April 9 – Toyota Blue Grass Day – and April 29 – closing day of the season – when first post is 12:30 p.m. On April 29, Keeneland will begin its April Horses of Racing Age Sale in the Sales Pavilion at 6:30 p.m. following the races.
Know before you go – Spring Meet ticket availability
As Keeneland welcomes fans for the Spring Meet, the track continues to strive to offer the highest quality on-site guest experience. Toward that goal, Keeneland has launched a new Patron Experience Guide to provide guests helpful tips and tools to assist them during their day at the races. Fans are asked to visit the site to familiarize themselves with Keeneland prior to arriving at the track.
Once again, all General Admission, Reserved Seat and Dining tickets must be pre-purchased online through Keeneland’s Official Online Ticket Office at tickets.Keeneland.com or on the Keeneland Race Day app.
Demand for tickets is high, but Grandstand reserved seat and General Admission tickets remain available. Keeneland offers a ticket return policy of up to 48 hours in advance of race day, so inventory is updated automatically and available for purchase. Fans are encouraged to check tickets.Keeneland.com frequently for updates and sign up for ticketing alerts.
In addition, season passes – which offer General Admission throughout the meet – are available for $40. Season passes may be purchased through Tuesday, April 5.
Cash and walk-up purchases on race days will be permitted only at the Welcome Center Ticket Office windows if tickets remain available.
Tailgating on The Hill
No ticket or reservation is required for Keeneland’s popular free tailgating area on The Hill, which is open Fridays and Saturdays and offers a unique way to experience the Spring Meet. Fans on The Hill can participate in the racing action via a jumbo TV and wagering, while food trucks and live music presented by The Burl create a festive atmosphere.
Those who wish to elevate their tailgating experience can book a premium package that includes tent, tables, amenities, reserved area for the day and more with the Tailgate Guys “A REVELxp Company.” Visit Keeneland.com/tailgating for details.
Watch on TV and online
“Today at Keeneland.” This 30-minute preview show includes handicapping picks and discussion of horses of interest. Racing analysts Gabby Gaudet and Scott Hazelton host the program, which airs live at 11:30 a.m. every race day on Keeneland.com, Keeneland Select, Keeneland’s YouTube channel, TVG2, The CW Lexington and WKYT.com.
TVG: Live, extensive coverage of every Keeneland race begins at 1 p.m. when first post is 1 p.m. On April 9 and 29, when Keeneland’s first post is 12:30 p.m., TVG coverage will begin at that time.
Keeneland Livestream: Fans can watch all Spring Meet races live and at no charge on Keeneland.com, Keeneland Race Day App, Keeneland Select and Keeneland’s YouTube channel.
NBC coverage of the Toyota Blue Grass: On April 9, NBC will televise the Toyota Blue Grass along with the Wood Memorial (G2) Presented by Resorts World Casino from Aqueduct and Runhappy Santa Anita Derby (G1) from 4:30-6 p.m. The Toyota Blue Grass is the ninth race with a 5:10 p.m. post.
Keeneland en Español among tools for Spanish-speaking racing fans
Keeneland again will offer ways to engage Spanish-speaking fans of Thoroughbred racing during the Spring Meet, continuing its partnership with DRF en Español to provide Spanish coverage of opening weekend with host and handicapper Roberto Rodriguez and race caller David Merida.
The schedule for Spanish coverage of the April 8-10 opening weekend is:
• 10 a.m.: “Keeneland Hoy!,” a 45-minute preview show.
• 12:30 p.m. on April 8 and 10: “Keeneland en Español,” with full race-day coverage including race calls, analysis and interviews.
• Noon on April 9, day of the Toyota Blue Grass when the first race is 12:30 p.m.: “Keeneland en Español.”
For more details, visit the Keeneland en Español page on Keeneland.com. The live broadcast of opening weekend is available on YouTube on the Keeneland en Español channel and the DRF en Español channel.
For the entire Spring Meet, tools for Spanish-speaking fans of Keeneland include:
• Keeneland’s popular Race Day app, which is available in Spanish for fans whose native language is set to Spanish on their iPhone or Android device;
• La Referencia, a complimentary publication with analysis and detailed handicapping information, which is being presented by Keeneland and DRF en Español for fans to download; and
• Rodriguez’s race-day Spanish analysis, which will be posted on the popular Expert Picks section of Keeneland.com.
These Keeneland initiatives extend a partnership that began during the 2020 Fall Meet with the founding of DRF en Español.
Keeneland Turf Pick 3 leads wagering action
The Spring Meet offers special wagers and competitions for casual to experienced handicappers.
Returning this season is the Keeneland Turf Pick 3, which was well received when it debuted during the 2021 Fall Meet. The wager, which requires a $3 minimum, is offered on the final three turf races of the day’s card.
On opening day, the Lafayette, Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3) and Central Bank Ashland will be included in late Pick 4 and late Pick 5 wagers. The Kentucky Utilities Transylvania will be part of the Keeneland Turf Pick 3.
The next day, the All-Stakes Pick 4 and All Stakes Pick 5 will conclude with the Toyota Blue Grass.
Keeneland races on Saturdays also will be included in the Cross Country multi-race wager offered by the New York Racing Association.
For the first time during the Spring Meet, handicappers will be able to obtain complimentary Trip Note Pros of detailed trip analysis for contenders in every race. Sign up at Keeneland.com/tripnotepros to receive a link to access the data.
Additional handicapping events during the season include:
Wednesday, April 13, 20, 27: WINS-Day Challenge Sponsored by Malone’s. This is an inexpensive way for beginner handicappers to give contests a try. Enter for $10 at Wagering Central on the first floor of the Grandstand and place a mythical $2 win and place wager – no actual money required – on Keeneland races 3-8.
Friday, April 22: Spring Handicapping Challenge. Available only at the track, the Spring Handicapping Challenge offers one berth to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) in November at Keeneland and as many as four spots to the 2023 National Handicapping Challenge. (NHC). Players will wager a live bankroll of $250 on any or all of the races at Keeneland. Click here to register and for more information. Contestants may enter the day of the contest.
Saturday, April 23: Grade 1 Gamble. The signature handicapping contest of the Spring Meet is the Grade 1 Gamble, which Keeneland is hosting in cooperation with XpressBet, NYRABets, 4NJ Bets and TVG on the day of the Elkhorn (G2) and Ben Ali (G3). The entry fee is $3,500 with $2,500 going to a live bankroll and $1,000 to the prize fund. Contestants may play at Keeneland or on one of the aforementioned ADW platforms; Keeneland also will accept phone wagers from players residing in states or provinces that do not permit ADW wagering. Prizes include an estimated $75,000 for first place (based on 300 entries) and as many as six BCBC berths and 10 NHC spots. Click here to register.
Special events offer fun and philanthropy
The Spring Meet’s world-class racing is complemented by a special events calendar that offers fun for fans of all ages and interests while continuing Keeneland’s mission to support the Central Kentucky community. Among the highlights are:
Friday, April 8: College Scholarship Day Presented by Lane’s End. Full-time college students can enjoy a day at the races and the chance to win scholarships and prize packages provided by local businesses. Any student who pre-registers is eligible to win one of ten $2,000 scholarships provided by Keeneland and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association. Students present at Keeneland that day can win one of two $10,000 scholarships provided by Lane’s End. Pre-register online at www.Keeneland.com/csd. Admission is free with a college ID.
Saturday, April 9, 16, 23: Sunrise Trackside. This Saturday morning program is geared toward families and offers a unique view of Thoroughbreds during training hours. Children’s activities, located on the first-floor Grandstand from 8-10 a.m., include a meet and greet with Keeneland’s mascot, Buckles, along with face painting, games and more. Fans can enjoy coffee and donuts at Clockers Corner while watching horses train. Mini tours will be available at the Welcome Stand in the Paddock. A 30-minute demonstration by an organization that focuses on equine education will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Walking Ring.
Saturday, April 9: Jockey Autograph Signing. Fans will meet active and retired Keeneland riders and Hall of Famers in an event that benefits the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF). Signing takes place outside the Walking Ring from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The next day, the fourth annual fundraising PDJF Telethon will be based in the Limestone Café in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion.
Sunday, April 10: Keeneland Kids Club Family Day Presented by Kentucky Children’s Hospital. The Keeneland Kids Club is the Official Kids Club for Keeneland fans 12 and younger. Kids Club members and their families are invited to enjoy this special day at the races by receiving free general admission and access to reserved Grandstand seating. Children’s activities will take place in the North Terrace from noon to 4 p.m.
Sunday, April 24: Military Day at the Races. This event recognizes the men and women who serve our country. All active duty, reserve, veterans and military families receive free general admission and reserved Grandstand seating with a military I.D.
Sales of Keeneland Spring Lager benefit Blue Grass Farms Charities
Keeneland and Country Boy Brewing of Lexington once again have collaborated to create the Keeneland Spring Lager, which is available around Kentucky and will be sold at the track in cans and on draft. Sales of the beer will benefit Blue Grass Farms Charities (BGFC).
Founded in 2003, BGFC is a non-profit that provides health and human services to those working in the Thoroughbred racing community. BGFC is the recipient of the 2020 William T. Young Humanitarian Award from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders (KTOB)/Kentucky Thoroughbred Association (KTA).
Keeneland 2022 Spring Meet at a Glance
Schedule: 15 days from April 8-29. No racing Mondays, Tuesdays and Easter Sunday, April 17.
Gates open: 11 a.m.
First race: 1 p.m. except for April 9 and April 29 when first post is 12:30 p.m.
Five Grade 1 stakes: $600,000 Central Bank Ashland on April 8, $1 million Toyota Blue Grass and $500,000 Madison on April 9, $600,000 Maker’s Mark Mile on April 15 and $500,000 Jenny Wiley on April 16.
Watch races: Thanks to the Keeneland Livestream, fans can watch all Spring Meet races live and at no charge on Keeneland.com, Keeneland Race Day App, Keeneland Select and Keeneland’s YouTube channel.
Patron Experience Guide: Visit Keeneland.com/welcome for this new resource to help you make the most of your day at Keeneland.
Keeneland Newsletter: Sign up for email updates of your areas of interest at Keeneland.com/newsletter.
Social: @keeneland on Facebook and Instagram and @keenelandracing on Twitter. Use hashtag #Keeneland
Drive-thru wagering: Open every race day at 8 a.m. until feature race.
Official Keeneland Tours: Visit keeneland.com/tours for availability and to purchase.
The Keeneland Shop: Located near the Grandstand South entrance, The Keeneland Shop is open race days from 9 a.m. to 30 minutes following the last race and on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Milliners Corner and Wagering Central locations will be open as are locations at the East Gate entrance and on the first floor of the Grandstand near the finish. At Taste of the Races Presented by The Keeneland Shop on April 1-3, sample the Keeneland Spring Lager brewed by Country Boy and the Keeneland Brown Butter Kettle Corn while you receive a 20% discount on in-store purchases. Click here for more information.
Keeneland Press Release
Keeneland Spring Meet 2021. (Coady Photography)