Through the lens: Scenes from Keeneland's spring meet

April 18, 2018 09:20am

Mother Nature has kept the state of Kentucky on its toes this year. Just when spring appears to finally be flourishing, wintry weather strikes again, leaving the Bluegrass State wondering if winter will ever leave. Kentucky weather is notorious for being unpredictable and temperamental; it’s difficult to know what it will throw at you.

But one thing is certain about spring in Kentucky: a wonderful time at Keeneland spent watching excellent racing.

The classy Pacific Wind dominates an allowance field

A colorful Keeneland crowd cheers as Home Base breaks his maiden

Through whatever elements Kentucky weather has in store, fans show up at Keeneland to enjoy the Lexington track's brief meet, full of quality racing. It's a fun time for everyone of all ages – a time to witness some of the sport's best athletes, show off your best outfits and spend time with friends and family.

A record Friday crowd of 28,307 watches the post parade


Kentucky weather has not strayed from its capricious ways during this Keeneland spring meet and during this past weekend's racing, rain made for quite the muddy scene. Galloping hoofbeats were louder than normal as horses raced over the sloppy surface, the gray sky added to the drama of each race and rain poured from the sky as horsemen and fans braved the conditions.

Million-dollar two-year-old purchase Ruler of the Nile
circles the paddock in the rain

Nonetheless, signs of spring are working to make their presence known. Colorful buds provide a sharp contrast against the grayness and the rich color of the Kentucky bluegrass is becoming brighter with each passing day.



But perhaps Keeneland's most significant staple is its superb quality of equine athletes and horsemen. Throughout the backside and on the track in the mornings, some of racing's biggest starts can be spotted. Each meet, a number of stakes – many of them graded – attract some of the best horses in training and provide racing fans with a chance to see the best of the best compete. Even in maiden special weights and allowance races on Keeneland cards, fans have the chance to see some of the most promising horses the nation has to offer.

Champion 2-year-old and recent Blue Grass Stakes winner Good Magic trains at Keeneland in preparation for the Kentucky Derby

Top turf 3-year-old, Analyze It, gallops

Fan favorite Heart to Heart wins the Maker's 46 Mile Stakes (gr. I)

Heart to Heart after his second lifetime grade one win

Rated R Superstar wins the Ben Ali Stakes.

Two-time Royal Ascot conqueror Lady Aurelia in the paddock prior to the Giant's Causeway Stakes

Triple Chelsea upsets Lady Aurelia to take the Giant's Causeway

Triple Chelsea and Adam Beschizza after winning the Giant's Causeway

My Boy Jack prior to the Stonestreet Lexington Stakes (gr. III)

Stride for stride down the stretch, My Boy Jack outduels Telekinesis to win the Lexington

Sistercharlie takes the Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. I)

Rain or shine, and everything in between, a day spent at Keeneland is worth whatever Kentucky weather manages to stir up. Surrounded by horse country, it is where the best racing has to offer – horses, horsemen and fans – join together. It truly is, racing as it was meant to be.


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About Mary Cage


Mary with champion Classic Empire

Mary Cage has been around horses all her life, having owned, shown, and judged them for as long as she can remember. She began writing her own horse racing blog, Past the Grandstand, in August 2011 and has since been published in America's Horse, American Racehorse and the Appaloosa Journal, as well as with the websites of The Blood-Horse and The Equine Chronicle. She has also had photos published with Paulick Report and Thoroughbred Daily News. In addition, she works as one of the social media coordinators for the Texas Thoroughbred Association and is an intern at WinStar Farm with a client relations and marketing focus, as well as some bloodstock duties.

In her personal horse experience, Mary has been around horses all her life and has won several Appaloosa National Champion and Reserve World Champion titles in the show ring. She has also worked as a hotwalker and groom.

Mary has always aspired to have a career with horses and since her love for horse racing began, she has dreamed of pursuing a career in the Thoroughbred racing industry, possibly as a racing manager or client relations specialist. She is currently attending the University of North Texas, where she is a journalism major with a concentration in advertising and a minor in marketing. With this blog, she hopes to show readers horse racing through the eyes of a young fan and transport you to some of racing's biggest events through her photos and words.

University of Louisville College of Business Equine Program

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