LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – After three weeks, Keeneland is about to cross the finish line of its Spring Meet.
Friday, April 23rd marks the final day.
Following a year of uncertainty, the track says it was good to be back.
“We feel like we belong to the community and being here in the horse capitol of the world that’s what makes the Keenland experience so special,” says Christa Marrillia, the Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Keeneland.
Fans were very much in agreement.
“Keeneland has a kind of mystique to it itself and it’s just prestigious track and such a great meet,” says Erin McLaughlin, a patron.
Last year the track looked pretty empty during the Spring Meet.
Races went on but managers say it wasn’t the same without the fans.
This year, the track was able to welcome them back, with a few restrictions.
Masks had to be worn at all time and the daily attendance at the race track was capped at 7,000.
This was a significant difference compared to the 20,000 patrons managers say they typically see.
Despite the decrease in attendance, money was still coming in as fans were excited to be there.
“All our all sources handle was actually up from 2019 so there is tremendous enthusiasm for the sport in general and I think that was one of the silver linings of the pandemic,” says Marrillia.
“There’s new restrictions and maybe not as many in capacity as the years before but I think the atmosphere is still the same,” says Devon Dougherty, a patron.
“It gives you that sense of normal it feels like everything is going to be ok when you’re able to experience racing here in central Kentucky,” adds Marrillia.
The race track says they’re feeling optimistic about the Fall Meet and they’re hoping to welcome back even more fans in the next few months.
To wager on the upcoming derby on May 1st click the link here.