LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Keeneland has announced plans to build a paddock and enhance the saddling paddock to expand viewing and improve safety for horses and spectators.
The project, estimated at nearly $93 million, has already received preliminary approval for incentives up to $23.2 million from the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority, a Wednesday news release from the historic track stated. It will be Keeneland’s largest capital project since its 1936 opening and the first since the library was built in 2002.
Keeneland president and CEO Shannon Arvin said the saddling improvements will provide more space for horses and horsemen along with offering clearer views “to showcase the beauty and pageantry of our equine and human athletes.”
“This project is central to our mission because it will allow us to welcome more fans and give them a variety of world-class experiences during our race meets and beyond,” Arvin added.
Construction on the three-level paddock building will begin in January after its all-ages horse sale, with completion scheduled for fall 2025. Planned within the current layout of the administrative building and jockey quarters, it will extend along the paddock and walking ring and include seated dining, new bars and a panoramic rooftop.
New jockey quarters will allow fans to view riders walking through before each race, the release added.
A two-story operations building within walking distance of the track is also planned. Keeneland’s spring and fall meets and equine sales will continue at full capacity during construction.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear called the project an “exciting investment” that will create opportunities for everyone to enjoy and boost the horse racing and tourism industries — the latter of which had a record 2022, the release added.
“Leaders like Keeneland are going to help ensure Kentucky’s success continues for years to come,” Beshear added.
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