Today we had the honor and pleasure of attending Opening Day of the Keeneland Spring Meet! This is the thing that originally lured us to Kentucky and something we’ve had on our family bucket list for years.
Kentucky Road Trip
– Lexington: Keeneland & Buffalo Trace Distillery
– Lexington: Keeneland Spring Meet Race Day
– Lexington > Louisville: Mary Todd Lincoln House, Louisville Slugger Factory Tour
– Mammoth Cave National Park
– Lexington: The Campbell House Hotel
– Louisville: The Brown Hotel
– Kentucky Derby At Home Dinner Celebration
– Kentucky Derby Dinner Recipes
My morning started fireside at Campbell House, enjoying a few hot cups of coffee before the boys joined me for breakfast. They loved being able to sleep in and have a late start after our busy day.
Thanks to the generosity and kindness of a blog reader and former client, we were able to enjoy the meet with box seats and club access. We felt incredibly special and it elevated our day to a level we couldn’t have achieved on our own. For that, we are so thankful to our friend JC.
We arrived about two hours before the first race and Keeneland was already bubbling with activity. It was such a contrast to the peace and quiet of the morning tour – but in the very best way! We got to experience both!
From our little home in the club, we enjoyed the iconic Keeneland eats and sips, including many bowls of Kentucky Burgoo and, of course, Bourbon Bread Pudding. We joked many times on this trip, saying we some people come for the Bourbon Trail but we came for the Bread Pudding Trail. This one at Keeneland was #1 on our Kentucky list!
Side story: When Whit and I were ordering the bread pudding, a lady wearing the Keeneland green jacket came up beside us and ordered hers with “extra sauce”. Whit looked longingly and so I asked if we could have “extra sauce” too, mentioning I felt like we just got an “insider tip.” The man helping us winked and said “Ooooooh, you want extra sauce too??” Whit and I both nodded excitedly. Well, when Whit takes the first bite he says “Mom! It’s burning my nose!” I thought he meant temperature wise and was a little confused. After I tried a bite, I determined “extra sauce” means bourbon poured over the top. We couldn’t stop laughing and the boys tried to order everything else in Kentucky with “extra sauce”. :-)
Honey dutifully taught all of us to place bets and gave us money to do so. Nobody came away a big winner, but we all just about broke even. It was SO much fun and the boys absolutely loved being involved this way!
From our incredible vantage point at the lower club lawn, we were able to walk out just minutes before each of the day’s ten races. We saw the horses and jockeys up close, and also enjoyed watching the goings-on in the Winner’s Circle after each race.
Overall, it was a completely magical and memorable day. The weather was chilly and rainy, but we were all smiles the entire time. I even bought out my signature white Keeneland parasol for a photo, which was greeted by exactly six eyes rolling. :-)
We had a short break at the hotel to dress down for dinner on Main Street at Carson’s Food & Drink.
Carson’s Food & Drink brings Lexington to life by combining Kentucky Proud
products and local craft breweries with new and exciting recipes and a décor that feels like “old Kentucky elegance”. Kentucky is an amazing place filled with history, thoroughbreds, bourbon, great food and
the big blue nation; and Carson’s brings you ALL the Bluegrass has to offer, under one roof.
The service was fast and friendly and our food was delicious. We rehashed our day and simply enjoyed each other’s company. It was a great night!
We hit the hay the moment we returned to our rooms!
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