The Keeneland Legacy

Keeneland is one of Lexington’s most endearing traditions, and the Lexington History Museum has an exhibit to cover its illustrious history, from its founding pioneers to its present-day innovations.

keeneland Keenland, considered one of the most beautiful racecourses in the world, came into being when the Kentucky Association track disbanded in 1933. A volunteer committee, led by Major Louis A. Beard, proceeded to search for the ideal location for a new track, and in their hunt they came across the land of J.O. “Jack” Keene. Keene had spent many years building his own private race track on his farm, which he had named Keeneland. His dream was to have a place where his friends “can bring their horses and live in the clubhouse themselves and have fun racing for the sport.” Keene had spent nearly half a million dollars on the development of his track and clubhouse, but the Great Depression proved to be too much for him. In spite of his dream, he accepted the committee’s offer to buy his farm.

On April 17th, 1933, articles of incorporation were filed for the Keeneland Association, and in late August the Association purchased 147.5 acres of Keene’s property for $130,000 in cash and $10,000 in preferred stock at par value. Hal Price Headley was elected President of the Keeneland Association, a position he held until 1951.

Keeneland’s passion has always been to blend the traditions of the past with the technology of the future. This commitment has made Keeneland one of the safest tracks in the world, while keeping racing the way it was meant to be.

Museum patrons will find this exhibit educational and fun, as they get to see pictures of how Keeneland changed through history, touch the revolutionary new track surfacy, Polytrack®, watch a movie about the racetrack, and play with racehorse-related toys.

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