LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — It won't help Keeneland, or those who work in the industry, to break even, but at least it's something. When horse racing would be prepping for the final leg of the Triple Crown, word came down that a request from Keeneland officials to host a five-day summer meet has been granted.
"We're going into this with optimism," said Keeneland's Vice President of Racing Bob Elliston. "We're going to get some tremendous horses from all over the country here to run for purses in important stakes races," he continued.
Elliston estimates those purses will reach four million dollars over the five-day span, which he said will help the horsemen who haven't been able to pay their employees. He also noted that given the revised horse racing schedule across the country due to COVID-19, the Keeneland meet will still serve as an "appetizer" for the Kentucky Derby.
"We expect some great horses to come to Kentucky to be a part of the Oaks and Derby trail, which are so much a part of the enthusiasm and excitement we lost out on this spring," he said.
Fans will not be allowed at the track, all wagering will be done off-site, and TVG network will make the races available for viewing from home. And you won't have to go without those Keeneland concessions stand favorites.
"We have those Bread Pudding and Burgoo recipes on our website. You can cook those at home, turn on the channel to TVG, watch the races, bet on Keeneland Select and it's almost like you were at the races," he said.
And as we all know, "almost" counts for horseshoes. Maybe a summer meet without fans won't be so bad after all.