Know Before You Go: Keeneland Spring Meeting 2022

Perhaps more than in any other year in recent memory, there is a sense of anticipation and excitement wafting through horse country in central Kentucky. Friday April 8 Keeneland Racecourse kicks off its spring 2022 meeting. After two tough years for horse racing (and the world in general) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things should be close to getting back to normal at Lexington’s picturesque track .

Keeneland will hold live racing for 15 days from April 8-29 on a Wednesday-Sunday schedule (no racing on Easter Sunday, April 17). Nineteen stakes races are up for grabs, headlined by the $1 million Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday, April 9, a key warm-up race for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve.

Enjoy ABR’s guide to the Keeneland Spring Meet, with recommendations for visiting the track and the Lexington area during the spring.

Get your tickets early

Continuing a policy that began in spring 2021, Keeneland admission and dining tickets must be purchased in advance through the online box office or through the Keeneland RaceDay app. The rink offers a 48-hour return policy. Grandstand tickets are already sold out for most days, but as of April 3, $7 general admission tickets are still on sale for all days except Blue Grass Stakes Day, Saturday the 16th. April and Saturday April 23. You can also get on a waiting list to take advantage of cancellations if your original date is sold out.

climb the hill

Tailgating is allowed in several areas of Keeneland, but ground zero for pre-race fun and camaraderie is on “the hill,” a designated spot open Friday and Saturday. Giant televisions and betting kiosks are available for viewing and betting on the races, and food trucks and live music from The Burl venue will also be featured as part of the overall experience. Premium vehicle tracking packages are also offered; Click here for more details.

Betting options galore

Placing a bet on the site at Keeneland is easy and the track has BetOlogists on site at its Wagering Central hub (located under the grandstand near the finish line) to help fans new to the game get to grips with the concepts. basics of handicap and money. management. Keeneland’s popular drive-thru betting lanes open each race day at 8 a.m. ET, and early deposit wagering is offered through the Keeneland Select site and app.

Last fall, Keeneland unveiled a Turf Pick 3 bet, and that bet returns for the Spring Meet with a 15% payout. The Keeneland Turf Pick 3 is offered for the last three turf races on each card.

As a new benefit for horse lovers, Keeneland is distributing complimentary Trip Note Pros. These notes offer detailed ride analysis for contenders in each race, showing where ground was lost or gained during the race and if/where a horse lost momentum or had to change course. Register here to access the data.

Special events for one and all

Keeneland’s Sunrise Trackside Family Program will take place on three Saturdays during the live meeting: April 9, 16 and 23. It is located in the first floor grandstand area and offers an encounter with the track’s mascot, face paint. games, coffee and donuts, and a chance to watch the horses train on the track. There will also be an equine education demonstration at 8:30 am ET.

On Saturday, April 9, Keeneland will hold a jockey autograph signing event located next to the walking track in the paddock from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm Retired and currently active jockeys will participate. Proceeds from the firm benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

Unparalleled food and drink

Keeneland is famous among race fans for having some of the best food deals at any price point. As noted above, dinner tickets can only be purchased in advance, but luckily, there are plenty of options for general admission and reserved seating attendees at booths around the facility (and whatever you do, be sure to check out Track Kitchen for breakfast at least once during the match).

Check out ABR’s guide to Keeneland food here, and be sure to try the Keeneland Spring Lager, which is sold in cans and on tap as part of a partnership between the rink and Country Boy Brewing of Lexington. Beer sales will benefit Blue Grass Farms Charities.

What to Do in Lexington: A Bountiful April Calendar

Lexington, like most cities, is still feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. All restrictions on the use of masks and the ability to attend indoors have ended due to a legislative order, but many restaurants and bars have not yet fully recovered. That said, the promise of warmer weather leading to outdoor gatherings, plus the current low COVID infection rate, has much of the city buzzing with energy and people ready to socialize.

Central Bank Lexington Thursday Night Live’s popular weekly free concert series kicks off on April 7, the eve of Keeneland’s opening day. It’s an outdoor event held under the Fifth Third Pavilion in the heart of downtown Lexington, right next to the old courthouse that has been converted into the Lexington Visitor Center that houses the Breeders’ headquarters. Cup, Visit Lex, and several other businesses, as well as one of renowned restaurateur Ouita Michel’s restaurants, Zim’s Café. Food trucks, information tents, and a beer garden are all part of the experience, and concerts often feature some of the hottest local and regional bands.

Thursday Night Live will take place during Keeneland’s spring meeting and, in fact, won’t end until mid-October during the fall meeting as Lexington and Keeneland prepare to host the 39ththeBreeders’ Cup World Championships. Check the schedule here.

There are also quite a few national, even international, musical acts at the Bluegrass in April. Sir Elton John will perform at Rupp Arena on Blue Grass Stakes Day, April 9, as part of his rescheduled Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, for those willing to splurge on tickets to see the legend in one of his final concerts. . Two weeks later, on April 23, another rescheduled show is sure to draw a huge crowd to UK Football’s Kroger Field, as Kentucky native Chris Stapleton headlines “A Concert for Kentucky” with the support of national treasure Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow and one of the best vocalists of recent years, Yola. Tickets are still available for this event.

As mentioned above, The Burl will host live music for fans on “the Hill” in Keeneland, but the hip music venue also has a jam-packed lineup of artists lined up for April. The Burl is just a short drive from the track, located just off Manchester Street/Old Frankfort Pike in the rapidly developing Distillery District. Check out the concert schedule here, highlighted by an outdoor show on April 28 from another national treasure act, Los Lobos.

Last but not least, horse lovers in town for Keeneland in late April can wrap up their stay by attending the three-day Land Rover Kentucky Event at the Kentucky Horse Park. The dressage, stadium show jumping and cross country equestrian competition will be held from April 28 to May 1. Click here for more information and tickets.