One of the things on our Fort Knox bucket list was to visit the horse races. I’ve been quite a few times in my life, but Andy’s never been before. Unfortunately, the horse races aren’t cheap, especially if you’re going to the Derby! We both thought it would be a while before we got the chances to go to the races, until I was browsing Facebook one Saturday night. The Fort Knox Facebook page posted about Heroes Day at Keeneland race track, which was the very next day. I suggested that Andy and I go, and we were off immediately after church on Sunday!
Funny story: when we were leaving for church/the track, Andy was about to walk out of the house in jeans and a t-shirt. Our church is really casual, so this would have been fine… but not so much for the horse track! People tend to dress up for these events. When I asked why he wasn’t wearing slacks and a polo, Andy replied “Where I come from, horses are for working and poop!” XD Needless to say he ended up changing his outfit!
Keeneland is 1.5 hours away from Fort Knox, but the closest horse track to Knox is Churchill Downs in Louisville (where the famous Kentucky Derby takes place every May). We enjoyed our drive to Knox, passing by some distilleries and stopping by the Versailles Castle (officially known as Castle Post.) I told Andy I would love to spend the night there sometime, since it’s a bed and breakfast. (Hint to my husband: First wedding anniversary idea)
Keeneland has free parking out by the stables– and I mean out— so Andy and I parked way out and walked what felt like forever to the entrance. I was huffing and puffing the entire time… slightly embarrassing!
Admission was totally free to military members and veterans (as well as police, EMT, and firefighter) AND their families! Plus, since it was sponsored by Papa John’s Pizza, they had free pizza and sodas!
They had an unfolding of the flag by some JROTC students in Lexington. Unfortunately, they were, well…. JROTC. The veterans watching immediately dissected everything wrong: sloppy uniforms, texting while walking, eating/drinking while walking, sloppy hair buns, and PDA in uniform. I felt like Keeneland should have asked a unit from Knox or at least ROTC from UK to do the flag unfolding, but I digress.
(Please forgive the blurry photos, I forgot my DSLR!)
We had a great time watching the races, until one of the horses hurt its leg. It fell on the track and I immediately burst into tears thinking it was going to die (I remember watching Eight Belles in the 2008 Derby collapsing and having to be euthanized on the track.) The track officials brought out a screen to hide the horse as they loaded it in the horse ambulance. After that scare, I was pretty much done watching the races. Plus, we had a long drive back to Fort Knox and Andy had to be up for work early the next morning.
We had a really great time at the races. I definitely recommend everyone go at least once when they’re in Kentucky, if at all possible. Maybe one day Andy and I will be rich enough for Millionaire’s Row!
Have you ever been to the horse races?