The Keeneland Legacy
is one of Lexington most endearing traditions. The Keeneland Legacy Exhibit covered Keeneland’s history from its founding pioneers to its present day innovations. This
exhibit had many interactive components that children of all
ages could enjoy. This exhibit ran though October 2008.
Keeneland, one of the most beautiful racecourses in the world, came into being
after the historic Kentucky Association track disbanded in 1933. A volunteer committee led by Maj. Louis A Beard, proceeded to hunt for the ideal location for a new track. In its decisions, the committee kept returning to the land of J.O. “Jack” Keene.
Keene had spent many years building his own private track on his farm named Keeneland. Keene’s dream was to have his own private race track — a place where, he said, “my friends can bring their horses and live in the clubhouse themselves and have fun racing for the sport.” Keene spent nearly a half-million dollars on the development of his track and clubhouse, but the Great Depression was too much for him. In spite of his dream, he accepted the committee’s offer to buy his farm.
On April 17, 1933 articles of incorporation were filed for the Keeneland Association and in late August, the Keeneland Association purchased 147½ acres of Keene’s property for $130,000 in cash and $10,000 in preferred stock at par value. Hal Price Headley was elected President of the Keeneland Association, a position he would hold until 1951.
Keeneland’s passion has always been to blend the traditions of the past with the technology of the future. This commitment has made Keeneland one of the safest tracks in the world, while keeping racing the way it was meant to be.