Located in the heart of Central Kentucky’s famed Bluegrass Region, Keeneland plays an important role in both Thoroughbred racing and breeding.
From its inception in 1936, Keeneland’s founders, led by respected horsemen Hal Price Headley and Major Louis Beard, intended it to be a special place—one that symbolizes the best in Thoroughbred racing. Today, Keeneland continues to be guided by that original mission, taking a leadership role in the industry to improve safety, promote integrity and preserve racing’s storied history.
Each April and October, the nation’s best Thoroughbred owners, trainers and jockeys converge at Keeneland to compete for some of North America’s richest purse money. The spring meeting is anchored by the Toyota Blue Grass and Central Bank Ashland Stakes, Grade 1 prep races for the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1), respectively. Keeneland’s fall meeting opens with FallStars Weekend, featuring nine graded stakes, led by the Shadwell Turf Mile, Darley Alcibiades, Juddmonte Spinster, Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity and First Lady, all Grade 1 stakes which have served as a springboard to Breeders’ Cup success for many horses.
As the world’s leading Thoroughbred auction house, Keeneland has sold more champions and stakes winners than any other sales company, including 83 Breeders’ Cup World Championship winners; 19 Kentucky Derby winners; 21 Preakness winners; 18 Belmont winners; 11 recipients of the Eclipse Award as Horse of the Year; and five Epsom Derby winners. Keeneland’s global brand attracts a diverse international clientele, with buyers representing nearly every U.S. state and 50 countries attending its four annual sales.
Keeneland is a National Historic Landmark, and its beautiful, park-like grounds are open to the public every day. Fans also are welcome to visit the Keeneland Library, one of the world’s largest informational and pictorial repositories related to Thoroughbred racing.
For the first time, The Breeder's Cup Championships was held at Keeneland Race Course, on Oct. 30-31, 2015. Keeneland hosted the 2020 Breeders' Cup without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and several weeks before the 2020 event Breeders' Cup announced that the 2022 World Championships would return to Keeneland. Also in 2020, Shannon Bishop Arvin was named President and CEO of Keeneland beginning on Jan. 1, 2021.