If you love to watch thoroughbreds burst out of the gate, see the dirt kick up from their hooves and experience a dramatic, neck-to-neck race, then a trip to Keeneland might be for you. In late April, nine Woodlands residents jumped at the opportunity to spend a day at the internationally renowned racecourse in Lexington, Kentucky.

Founded in 1936, Keeneland is a national historic landmark and the world’s largest thoroughbred auction house located in the heart of horse country. Its spring and fall race meetings serve as a precursor to the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup horse racing events.

The trip from Woodlands in Huntington to Keeneland was a quick two hours, and before they knew it, the group of residents was in the heart of horse country. Beyond the assortment of attractions right in Woodlands’ backyard, regular trips to places in the WV-OH-KY region like Keeneland are just one of the many perks of choosing Woodlands for your ideal retirement lifestyle.

Picture-perfect venue

The 147-acre Keeneland property features a 1-1/16-mile dirt race track with rolling bluegrass hills as its picturesque backdrop. The venue is such an iconic sporting institution that several movies were shot at Keeneland including Seabiscuit, Dreamer and several scenes of Secretariat.

Sharon Duesterhaus participated in the Keeneland outing and enjoyed her return to the racetrack after an initial visit in her college years. “I had forgotten how pretty it was,” Sharon said. “The flowers and landscaped grounds were just beautiful.”

Betting on a fun-filled day

For the Woodlands residents, the trip to Keeneland was highly social and it enforced their already-strong friendships. With many races throughout the day and each race taking about two minutes, the day left plenty of time for socializing, dining and comparing notes on which horses to pick. “Watching the races, seeing the horses and surrounding yourself with fun people, it’s a good time all around,” said Barbra Haptonstall.

Barbra and fellow resident Barbara Graham visited Keeneland last year on a Woodlands trip; however, this time Barbara learned a bit more about horse racing. “I learned about the importance of jockeys and trainers to the horse owners,” Barbara shared.

The friends watched the races from a pavilion that featured large windows, an outdoor balcony, TV monitors and a private betting area. To top it off, everyone enjoyed a buffet lunch that included a smattering of locally inspired foods.

Winning without a full purse

There’s no doubt that horse racing is unlike any other sporting event. Everyone has a shot at picking the winning horse, but not everyone comes home a winner. Barbra placed $2 bets, but her wagering didn’t pay off, and Barbara added 50 cents more to her name!

Although Sharon, Barbra and Barbara didn’t find themselves “in the money,” they all agreed the Keeneland trip was great entertainment.

“It was really fun to spend the day with other residents and get to know one another,” Sharon shared. Barbara agreed, “I enjoyed visiting with friends on the bus, comparing horses and learning something new.”

With its own 14-passenger bus, Woodlands is ready to transport you to a variety of fun-filled destinations like Keeneland. It’s just one of the many social activities you’ll find at Woodlands. To learn more about this vibrant community nestled in scenic Huntington, click here or call us at 604-697-1620!

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