09.24.17: Turning toward home

Kantstopdancin (3), under jockey Tony Farina, leads off the turn at Keeneland, Lexington, Ky. 


Technical information

April 2, 2010,
3:37 p.m.

38°2’44” N,
84°36'21" W
(Show in Google Maps)

Canon EOS 7D

Canon EF 100-400mm f/3.5-4.5L (260mm)


1/1250th second


There’s nothing quite like a day at Keeneland, the historic horse race track in Lexington, Ky.

You’ve got the excitement of thoroughbreds racing past crowds lining the rail along the track as they cheer their horse in hopes that the bet they placed turns into a winner. You’ve got the beautiful scenery, with flowers blooming during the April spring meet and leaves turning during the October fall meet. There’s excellent food and drink. And the entire track is surrounded by picturesque horse farms, making the drive to and from the track a scenic one past the rolling hills dotted by grazing thoroughbreds. 

Plus I get to photograph horse racing, one of my favorite activities. Whether I win or lose on the bets I place, I still come home a winner.

I shot this photo as we were leaving the track on the opening day of the spring meeting in 2010. There’s a spot beside a parking lot that provides a great view of horses coming off the turn before entering the home stretch, so I stopped there for a few minutes to get a shot of one more race (we usually leave the track before the race day ends so we can hit the hotel before meeting friends for dinner).

As often happens on the final turn, the field was still in a tight pack. In this photo, Kantstopdancin (3), under jockey Tony Farina (at right), leads Smarty’s Dream (4), under Robby Abarado (blue cap), and Argue (8), under Javier Castellano (left) entering the stretch. Kantstopdancin won, with Smarty's Dream second. Argue faded out of the money.

We always look forward to our semiannual trips to Keeneland and Lexington. The days at the historic track are always fun, no matter the weather — which can be unpredictable in April and October. We’ve watched races on sunny 80-degree days, we’ve watched races on windy 30-degree days with snow flurries, and we’ve watched races in just about every weather condition in between.

The track has hosted races since it opened in 1936. It’s one of the nation’s most “traditional” race tracks, retaining the same look and feel through the years while still adopting new technologies (even though it was the last race track in North America to broadcast race calls over a public-address system, adopting that practice in 1997). Keeneland was used for most of the racing scenes in the 2003 movie Seabiscuit because its appearance has changed little in decades. Keeneland is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986. In 2009, Keeneland was ranked as the number one track in America by the Horseplayers Association of North America.

But the visits to Lexington also provide an opportunity to see friends and family in the area. That’s always a winner.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.