06 April 2006

Going to Graceland -- make that Keeneland

I picked up a copy of Homestretch: A Celebration of North America's Greatest Tracks and was disappointed, though not surprised, to discover that Mountaineer is not among the continent's 15 greatest tracks. However, Homestretch is one those interesting coffee table books that are fun to look at, filled with grand black-and-white photos of places like Saratoga, Churchill Downs, Oaklawn Park, Santa Anita, Belmont,as well as the pre-renovation Gulfstream and the pre-Katrina Fair Grounds. (Yes, Patrick, Monmouth is there too!)

It's quite fun to read the history of great tracks, but for me, a sort of Nirvana was reached on page 147, where there is a photo of, and I quote, "the magnificent Keeneland Library." A racetrack with a library. Oh, my!!

So, the car is packed and like an Elvis fan on the way to Graceland, we're off to visit a a wagering librarian's heaven - Keeneland.


excellerandferdinand said...

Here's a web link, little outdated now, but still useful:

The McChump Racing Tour, describing trips to various tracks around the country. Well worth the background info, especially if you are planning to venture into native racetrack territory.


Tote Board Brad said...

I believe he means http://www.mcchump.com/, but you knew that because you read "Horseplayers: Life at the Track"

You're going to love Keeneland. Saratoga is great blueblood racing and Del Mar is a racing beach party. But Keeneland has this purist's vibe that is striking in it's alterity.

Walk the grounds alone when it's quiet, before the races start. You can feel the presence of the ghosts of great horses and horsemen.

alan said...

QQ - If you didn't already know, Keeneland is the only track where the public is allowed to roam around the backstretch/barn area. So get yourself up early and get over there, and have breakfast at the track kitchen. Say hi to Pletcher for me if you're eating next to him.

kentucky joe said...

QQ, I will be there Fri and Sat with my two girsl (wife and daughter) in the Grandstand, section C, row A on Friday and row K in Saturday. Looks like it may be soggy in Friday but really nice the rest if the week-end. Hope you have a great time!

Don Chavez said...

Love your site, who do you like in the Derby?


QQ said...

I didn't get a chance to see any of these fine messages before we left; my husband (aka the King) was loading the car while I typed - but fortunately, I did know we could roam the backside. We had a wonderful time (see new post!), and I suspect we'll be going back.

I had really hoped that Horse Racing Coast to Coast: The Traveler's Guide to the Sport of Kings would be out before our trip, but its publication date is now slated for June 2006. In the meantime, McChumps is kind of fun.

Brad - Yes, we felt the presence of races gone by. I kept imagining Alydar winning the Bluegrass Stakes there, as I'd just read about it before our trip. And it's so different watching the horses work. I have no idea who we saw, but that didn't matter.

Joe - I was in section D, Row D on Friday! We probably brushed elbows at the windows! We ended up in the Equestrian Room on Saturday, but I didn't mind, since it was easy to dash outside for the races - and we stayed a lot warmer during the cold early races.

Don - The Quinella Castle is going with the greys: I've got Wait a While in the Oaks; the King has Cause to Believe in the Derby. Obviously, we placed our future bets before last weekend's races.