Opening Day At Keeneland Marred By Horse Fatality

Oct 4, 2019

Opening day at Keeneland’s fall meet was marred by a horse fatality.  According to a press release Friday, Stella d’Oro was euthanized following a catastrophic injury in the fourth race. 

Another horse, Fast Dreamer , was removed from the track following the fifth race.  The filly sustained an injury to her right front leg and is being evaluated.

According to the release, Keeneland Equine Safety Director George Mundy said the safety of horses and riders at the track is the number one priority. 

Stu Johnson

The news late last week, first reported by the New York Times, that Triple Crown winner Justify tested positive for a banned substance prior to the 2018 Kentucky Derby, got the attention of those in and out of the racing industry.  It came following reports earlier this year of an unusually high number of racing related horse deaths at Santa Anita Park. 

WEKU’s Stu Johnson spoke with Kentucky Thoroughbred Association Executive Director Chauncey Morris about these issues recently at the yearling sales event at Lexington’s Keeneland race track.  He began with his takeaway from information contained in a report from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.

Stu Johnson

The inaugural Railbird Festival will be staged Saturday and Sunday on the historic Keeneland grounds in Lexington.  It will feature a diverse musical lineup along with a taste of bourbon and equine culture.

VisitLex President Mary Quinn Ramer said patrons will hear a variety of musical selections.  “It’s hard to pinpoint it into any one single genre of music.  So, you’re going to see a mix of Indie, rock, a little bit of roots, bluegrass, some twinges of R and B, a nod to country,” noted Ramer.


Churchill Downs and Keeneland are breaking ground Tuesday on a $150 million dollar racetrack in Oak Grove in far west Kentucky. The facility will include a 125-room hotel, a 1,200-person grandstand, a 3,000-person amphitheater, a gaming center with 1,500 historical racing machines and an equestrian center with indoor and outdoor arenas.

Lexington police arrested five people after a rowdy Keeneland crowd started throwing things during a mid-afternoon melee.

According to, police officers at the track called for backup during a dispatch call around 3:30 p.m. The call reported a unruly crowd of about 200.

Lexington police Lt. Paul Boyles told that the crowd "turned on" an officer while they making an arrest for underaged drinking. 

Boyles said people were throwing bottles and  "a variety of other things."

Stu Johnson

The start of the 2017 fall meet at Keeneland also signals the beginning of a new social media service to offer pre-race betting advice.  Racing at the historic Lexington track begins Friday and runs through October 28th.   

Keeneland Officials Pleased With Yearling Sales

Sep 26, 2017

Keeneland officials are hailing the 12-day September yearling sale as a major success. 

The globally-recognized fall bidding brought prices not seen in almost a decade.

Fall Yearling Sale Getting Underway at Keeneland

Sep 11, 2017

For almost three-quarters of a century Keeneland has been auctioning off horses in the fall. 

The September yearling sales is regarded globally as the premiere sales event.

Lexington Rotarians Get Derby Advice

May 5, 2017
Stu Johnson

Lexington's Rotary Club held its annual pre-Kentucky Derby meeting Thursday. 

Attendees at the midday event received an update from the head of Keeneland which, this year, included a newcomer.

Keeneland President Bill Thomason offered a recap of the track's just-completed spring meet, then turned his attention to Saturday’s Run for the Roses.  

Keeneland Unveils Bonus Program for Yearling Sale

Apr 12, 2017
WEKU file photo

While Keeneland's spring race meet continues for the rest of April, the historic track is putting the focus on another of its functions.  Officials at the Lexington facility Wednesday  unveiled what they are calling "major enhancements" to this year's yearling sale.     

Irap Wins Bluegrass Stakes, 100 Points for Derby

Apr 9, 2017
Lexington Herald-Leader/

Long-shot Irap won the $1 million Blue Grass Stakes for his first career victory and 100 points toward the Kentucky Derby, holding off Practical Joke by three-quarters of a length Saturday as favorite McCraken made a late charge at Keeneland.


Lexington Herald-Leader/

Lexington’s Keeneland race track will welcome patrons to its spring meet today.  During the month of April visitors can experience expanded walking tours of the historic facility.  

In keeping with tradition, the spring meet at Keeneland opens this weekend with the running of the Toyota Bluegrass Stakes. Seven three-year-olds are in the field for the Kentucky Derby prep race.

Focus On Business: Ron Gilkerson on GRW Consulting Firm

Nov 21, 2016

Today, Tom Martin talks with Ron Gilkerson who just retired after 25 years as president with G-R-W, the engineering, architectural, and geospatial consulting firm based in Lexington since 1964.

Post Positions Drawn for Bluegrass, Ashland Stakes

Apr 5, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

The 2016 spring meet at Keeneland opens this weekend with two high profile races. Post positions were drawn Tuesday for the Bluegrass and Ashland Stakes. John Servis is the trainer for horse Cathryn Sophia in the $500,000 Ashland Stakes this Saturday, “If she can get the job done here then I think that will certainly give her a lot more confidence going into the Oaks. It will give me a lot more too, I can tell you that.”  

Red Mile Entertainment Center Offers New Form of Gambling

Dec 18, 2015
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

   A new type of gambling is now a part of the Lexington community.  It’s called instant racing and it takes place at the $42 million Red Mile Entertainment Center.  Doors opened three months ago. 

Inside the Red Mile Entertainment Center, there are lots of flashing lights and various sounds emitting from the 900 plus Instant Racing terminals. The machines sit side by side, grouped closely together throughout the facility, much like a traditional casino.  

Keeneland Kicks Off November Sale

Nov 2, 2015

Keeneland racecourse in Lexington took center stage over the weekend for the 32nd Breeders Cup Championships.  Now the historic track remains in the limelight with the launch of the November Breeding Stock Sale.  Keeneland Spokeswoman Amy Gregory says the event is likely to keep some Breeders Cup attendees in town for a little longer.  “We sell broodmares, weanlings, stallion prospects, horses of racing age," she said. "It’s the premiere sale of its kind in the world and a lot of the owners and trainers that are here for Breeders Cup will also attend this sale.”


Reporters and photographers from around the world came to Keeneland last week.  Among them was Ron Flatter. Flatter is a freelance radio reporter from California, who currently lives in New York, and works for Australia’s Racing and Sport Network. 

Breeders Cup at Keeneland Doesn’t Disappoint

Nov 1, 2015
Stu Johnson / WEKU News


For horse racing fans in Kentucky and elsewhere, this year’s Breeders Cup Championships came off just as advertised.  American Pharoah made one more historic run.

The traditional bugle call only further hyped up a huge Keeneland crowd.  Moments later, spectators saw the Triple Crown winner set a track record, pull away down the stretch and take the Breeders Cup Classic in record time.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — American Pharoah is going out on top.


The first Triple Crown winner in 37 years gave a commanding performance in the Breeders' Cup Classic, pulling away down the stretch to win the final race of his career.

Jockey Victor Espinoza sent American Pharoah to the lead coming out of the gate and guided him to the wire-to-wire win over the mile and a quarter at Keeneland. His time of 2:00.07 set a track record.

Effinex finished second by 6 1/2 lengths and Honor Code was third.


Saturday afternoon in Lexington, a thoroughbred champion will run in his final race.

For many people, American Pharoah has already accomplished a feat previously unseen in their lifetime: The thoroughbred is the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. On Saturday, he could take an unprecedented leap into the history books by winning the Breeders Cup Classic.

Fans Come From All Over for Keeneland Breeders Cup

Oct 30, 2015
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Racing fans came out in large numbers Friday for the first four races in 2015’s end-of-year championships.  Among them was Bud Ferguson from Lombard Illinois, just outside Chicago.  He won in an earlier race and told WEKU’S Stu Johnson he expects an upset in Saturday’s final race, the Breeder’s Cup Classic.

“Do you think American Pharoah’s gonna do it?,” asked Johnson.

“No, I think this Irish colt, Glenn Eagles, trained by Aidan O’Brian and ridden by Ryan Moore.  He’s number one in Europe. I think he’s gonna take it,” said Ferguson.

All Systems are Go for First Breeders Cup at Keeneland

Oct 29, 2015
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    Lexington’s Keeneland Racecourse was chosen almost a year ago to host this year’s Breeders Cup World Championships. Since then, the track and the city have worked to prepare for what’s expected to be a record setting crowd in the bluegrass for thoroughbred   racing’s end of season highlight event.   

Breeder's Cup at Keeneland on Eastern Standard

Oct 22, 2015

The Breeders’ Cup Championships take place at Keeneland October 30 and 31. However, the horse races are just part of the festivities in Lexington and Central Kentucky.

On this week’s Eastern Standard, the Breeders’ Cup Festival and how Lexington will highlight local culture through local food, music, and celebration of the Commonwealth’s history of horse racing and breeding.

This week's guests: Craig Fravel, President and CEO of Breeders’ Cup Limited;

Kip Cornett, Chairman of the 2015 Keeneland Host Committee;

200 Horses Pre-Entered for Breeders Cup at Keeneland

Oct 21, 2015
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    A Triple Crown winner and a two-time Breeders Cup champion mare are among the 200 horses pre-entered for next weekend’s event at Keeneland.  Details for horses, riders, trainers, and fans are being finalized this week.

Keeneland is Home Base for Auburn Football Fans

Oct 15, 2015
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

October in central Kentucky is a time for falling leaves and festivals.  It’s also a season for college football and horse racing.  A group of Auburn football fans are getting a dose of both this week.  Keeneland is offering RV parking for out of town Tiger supporters.  Charles McIntyre made the trip to Lexington from Titis Alabama.  “We have been to the races.  Our first horse race ever.  This is the most amazing place we’ve ever been to,”  said McIntyre.

Record Ticket Sales for Breeders Cup at Keeneland

Oct 9, 2015

The upcoming Breeders Cup Championships in Lexington is bringing in record ticket sales.  President Craig Fravel says sales have reached $19 million, surpassing the previous high of $10 million.  Fravel says that doesn't necessarily mean attendance will be a record breaker.   “You know we spent an awful lot of time and money creating a brand new campus over at Keeneland," he said.  It’s got a lot of trackside dining facilities, so it’s really more a function of high quality, high end seating arrangements."

Prep for Breeders’ Cup in Final Furlong at Keeneland

Aug 31, 2015

In less than two months, all eyes of the horse racing world will be on Lexington.  Preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Championships is entering the stretch drive at Keeneland race track.  Keeneland Vice President Vince Gabbert says auxiliary seating is being positioned around the historic facility.  “They’re upscale premium seating that we’ve got, that we brought in.  Much more like a golf course type setting with the tents and the Chalets that we’re using.  But, those are already being done and will be finalized in the next three weeks actually,” said Gabbert.

More Than 4100 Yearlings Up for Auction at Keeneland

Aug 1, 2015

In mid-September, more than 4100 yearlings will be up for auction at Keeneland's fall sale.  September sale catalogs will be available a week from Tuesday.  Four thousand 164 yearlings are cataloged for the 72ndKeeneland September yearling sale.  The sale is globally regarded as the premiere Thoroughbred yearling auction.  The list includes five horses from the first crop of undefeated European champion 'Frankel.'  Yearlings sired by 249 stallions are cataloged for the sale which begins September 14th.  Of the more than four thousand listed to enter the ring, two thousand 168 are colts, on

Talking Cars on Eastern Standard

Jul 5, 2015

  As this year's Keeneland Concours d'Elegance revs up, we'll talk cars on this week's show.  Let's talk about your favorite car, maybe your first or the one that got away and that you wished you had never gotten rid of.

Guests: Kenneth Hold, founding member of the Keeneland Concours & George Schweikle, Director of Filed Operations for the Keeneland Concours.