Fans celebrate 148th Kentucky Derby at Keeneland

For the first time since the pandemic, Keeneland is celebrating the Kentucky Derby by allowing it to be at full capacity

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – For the first time since the pandemic, Keeneland is celebrating the Kentucky Derby by allowing it to be at full capacity and those looking to watch the race there definitely took advantage of that.

Fans say there’s something special about the Kentucky Derby.

“The outfits, the beverages, the family, the hats, everything about it is just extra and over the top, we love everything about it,” said Jessica Marez, who was enjoying the day with a large group of family and friends.

At Keeneland Saturday, it was a time to celebrate Kentucky traditions and come up with your own, like Marez’s group of friends and family, who say they coordinate outfits together every year.

This year, the group went for a red and black color theme.

“We do it every year for the derby, it’s just a great way for us to get together and celebrate Kentucky and family and friends and just have a great time,” said Marez.

For some, it was the day for a long-awaited reunion: a group of friends who recently graduated from the University of Kentucky traveled from all over the country to reunite at Keeneland’s track.

“We haven’t seen each other for a while so we thought the Derby would be a good time to get together and come back. We all graduated a year ago from Kentucky and now we’re all over so it’s a good place to meet up,” said Lauren Denham.

They say some in their friend group couldn’t make it to Kentucky for the weekend, celebrating the Derby with them in spirit.

“We’re missing 2 girls from our group, but we love them and we’re thinking of them and go Cats!” said Denham.

According to Keeneland officials, for the first time since the pandemic, the track celebrated Derby day at full capacity, expecting about 15,000 fans throughout the day.

And although it’s not Churchill Downs, fans say there’s something special about celebrating the Derby at Keeneland.

“We always come to keeneland, it’s just the cleanest track…there’s something about Keeneland, it’s just a magical place,” said Marez.

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