The weather on the Rotary Day at the Races was the kind you would ask for, if you could. It was a bright, beautiful, October Friday morning. The colors added to the excitement of the ride to Keeneland Racecourse for the 32 people who signed up. This Rotary ride to the horses event has been taking place for about 30 years. In the past it has mostly been to the famous Churchill Downs track in Louisville during Derby Week. It was a great change to try our luck in Lexington. Keeneland is only open twice per year. For 17 days in the spring and another 17 days in the fall. Both are ideal times to visit the beautiful grounds and area where the races take place. We boarded the bus at 9 am at Rookwood Mall and were on our way. Jim Brooks did another fine job of providing everyone with drinks of their choice and snacks on the leisurely ride south. We arrived around 11 and took our time walking the finely groomed grounds to our 4th floor perch overlooking the paddock on one side and the finish line on the other side of the room we shared with many other racing enthusiasts. It couldn’t have been a more ideal location. Plus, the food was an excellent endless buffet, and of course the Kentucky drinks were plentiful.
Everyone studied their provided racing forms with great concentration before the first race at 1 pm. After the race there were different reactions to the outcome from our group as well as everyone near us. Some were more experienced than others and help reading the racing form or how to bet was shared when asked for. The enthusiasm never waned in spite of any negative results. About every 35 minutes another call from the bugler would let us know to watch the horses coming in the paddock for the next race and then onto the track. It was time to get serious with our picks. Just watching those thoroughbreds was worth the trip. They are magnificent animals and they seem to know it. When they break from the starting gate you can literally feel the excitement in the crowd.
As the day wore on and we continued with good luck or otherwise. Just being able to make the trip seemed like good luck. It was time to head back north after the sixth race. Winnings were collected and all walked to the bus parked nearby When everyone made it back on the bus Jim asked who came home as winners. Only 3 hands went up, but no one complained. It was another great Rotary event and a spectacular day.