Just give me one more crack at the ol’ race track
-The Mills Brothers
As the son of a professional gambler, I spent a lot of my childhood at race tracks. Not particularly nice race tracks.
Dad would take us to the aging River Downs facility in Cincinnati during the day and to the even more aging Latonia race track in Northern Kentucky at night.
Lots of broken down men (outside of Pete Rose’s first wife, I can’t remember any women) betting on broken down horses.
Not a pretty sight.
Compare that with Keeneland, the crown jewel of Kentucky’s signature industry. Keeneland is a destination for high rollers and two dollar bettors from around the world.
You can run into captains of industry, or possibly Queen Elizabeth II, who visited the track in 1984.
The horse sales bring in buyers from around the world
The track and grounds are immaculate and Keeneland seems to have a place for everyone. Both men and women.
You will see college students tailgating with their friends in the parking lot.
The clubhouse, where proper attire is required, is a more reverent crowd taking advantage of fine dining facilities. Keeneland is a mix of millionaires in private boxes and people who paid $5 to be in the grandstand.
The management at Keeneland is very stable and traditional. Ted Bassett was president, chairman of the board and trustee at various times from 1969 to 2007.
Nick Nicholson, president since 2000, who started his career as an assistant to Senator Wendell Ford, has been in the Thoroughbred industry for decades.
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