Keeneland’s Spring Meet begins Friday, hospitality sees slight surge already

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Let the races begin! Horse racing fans were devastated last year when they couldn’t attend Keeneland’s Spring Meet, but now they’re getting ready to see some of their favs on the track.

“This weekend is going to be spectacular,” Christa Marrillia, Keeneland’s Chief Marketing Officer, said.

The meet lasts 15 days. Marrillia says the staff couldn’t be more excited.

“It’s something that makes your heart beat fast when you’re watching these beautiful, amazing animals,” Marrillia said. “The team has been working relentlessly to make sure that we can deliver a safe, but comfortable, experience.”

The protocols are in place. Guests will have to spread out and wear masks.

“But it also needs to be fun and to be able to enjoy those traditions that I think fans have really been longing for, especially over the course of 2020,” Marrillia said.

She’s glad to see the hospitality industry getting back to its traditions as well. It typically sees an uptick in traffic during the Spring Meet.

“With the pent-up demand and excitement to have spectators back, we’re probably going to see some of our biggest numbers in the last year at the hotels this weekend,” Alex Lugo, General Manager of the Hilton Lexington Downtown, said.

He said he’s already seeing an increase in reservations.

Lugo is also on the board of ‘Visit Lex,’ so he understands the impact the Spring Meet will likely have on the entire hospitality industry.

“There’s a lot of optimism that we’re on that road to recovery very quickly,” Lugo said.

Another sign things are getting better – Lugo, who has owned and raced horses in the past, hopes to do it again in the Horse Capitol of the world.

“It’s something that’s definitely on my bucket list and definitely will happen – maybe not in October, but definitely next year for sure.”

There’s no racing this Sunday because of Easter.

The limited numbers of tickets are sold out for every weekend during the meet, but they’re still available for Wednesdays and Thursdays. Marrillia encourages people to check the website often because people can cancel, which will lead to more openings.

You can also join in on the fun from home!

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