The opening of the Keeneland spring meet each April signifies that spring has truly arrived in the Bluegrass State. The 16-day meeting at the historic racetrack is always action-packed with great live racing and a stellar stakes program. In addition, Keeneland traditionally offers a variety of special events to draw in guests and keep fans entertained throughout the day. This year’s meet, which runs Friday, Apr. 5 through Friday, Apr. 26, is no different and provides something for everyone.
The spring meeting boasts five Grade 1 (G1) events, two Grade 2 (G2) events, eight Grade 3 (G3) events, and one listed stakes. It starts with Friday’s $100,000 Transylvania Stakes (G3) for three-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. On Saturday, three-year-old fillies will vie in the $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), a 1 1/16 mile route over the Polytrack.
The highlight of the spring stakes schedule falls on Saturday, Apr. 13 when Keeneland hosts five stakes races, including the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes (G1) for three-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles on the Polytrack. This race offers 100 points to the winner in the Road to the Kentucky Derby points system which replaced graded earnings as the determining factor for Kentucky Derby entries. Also among the day’s stakes action is the Commonwealth (G3) for four-year-olds and up, the Shakertown (G3) turf sprint for four-year-olds and up, the Madison (G1) for fillies and mares four years old and up, and the Jenny Wiley (G1), also for fillies and mares four years old and up.
Other stakes throughout the meet include the Maker’s 46 mile (G1) (Apr. 12), the Beaumont Presented Keeneland Select (G2 ) (Apr. 14), the Appalachian (G3) (Apr. 18), the Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3) (Apr. 19), the Giant’s Causeway (L) (Apr. 20), the Coolmore Lexington (G3) (Apr. 20), the Ben Ali (G3) (Apr. 21), the Bewitch (G3) (Apr. 25), and the Elkhorn (G2) (Apr. 26).
Opening Day on Friday offers an array of special events at Keeneland, including College Scholarship Day, the Vineyard Vines trunk show, the Forme’ Millinery designer hat trunk show, the $200,000-guaranteed Pick 4 Presented by TVG, and Friday Happy Hour in the Mezzanine Bar.