Kentucky Fall Racing Calendar – All the Dates You Need to Know to Plan the Perfect Day at the Track

So it’s going to be 90+ degrees here tomorrow, but I’m so excited about today’s post that I am unapologetically jumping into fall.  Granted, you won’t find me in this outfit anytime this week but I will be breaking it out for one of my most favorite fall traditions, the fall racing meet. No matter whether you’re partial to Keeneland or Churchill Downs (I love them both equally, picking a favorite would be like picking a favorite child – they’re both special in their own ways), horse racing in the fall is an annual tradition.

Which is why I am really excited to kick off a new partnership with America’s Best Racing with all the dates you need to circle for potential fun things at the track(s) this fall. You may remember that I partnered with them during Derby season on this post with tips on how to place a bet like a pro. I’m pumped to say that we’re going to work together all fall to put together more racing-themed content – aka my favorite kind of content – to make sure you’re prepped and ready for Night Racing, the Fall Meets and of course, Breeder’s Cup. ABR is a great resource for everything from style tips to betting insights to where to eat/drink and be merry at whatever track you’re visiting. It’s basically a one-stop shop for all things racing.

We have a lot of fun things planned – including an upcoming behind-the-scenes look at Keeneland – but to kick things off, I’ve combed through the calendars to make sure you’re in the know on all the racing events happening in the next few months. You know, so you can book your babysitters and buy those new boots you’ve been eyeing.

What to wear to Keeneland in the fall * Fall Racing * america's best racing

September 
September 13 – 29 : Churchill Downs Fall Meet

Fall racing runs Thursday through Sunday throughout the month. First race is always at 12:45 except on Twilight Thursdays and Downs After Dark. Tickets for the entire meet available here. 

September 19 + 26: Twilight Thursdays at Churchill Downs

Start the weekend a little early and enjoy happy hour at the track. Especially since they’ll have $1 Blue Moon draft, $1 selecct domestic beers, live music in the Paddock area and food trucks including Joella’s Hot Chicken, Flavaville, Red . Top Gourmet Hot Dogs, Sweet & Savory Crepes and Mark’s Feed Store. Racing starts at 5 pm.

September 22: Family Adventure Day at Churchill Downs

Marking my calendar for this one since this one has us written all over it. There will be live racing for the big kids and pony rides, inflatables, a petting zoo, face painting and more for the kids. There will be meet and greets with characters (Elsa! Superman! Churchill Charlie!), arts and crafts and a mobile science center.

Families can purchase a Four Pack of tickets for $64 that includes four meals from the concession stands, four tickets and four racing programs. Or you can purchase general admission tickets for $10 which includes all the kids activities.

September 28: Downs After Dark at Churchill Downs

There’s no theme for this Downs After Dark but it’s a partnership between the Forecastle Foundation & Churchill Downs so you can expect lots of great live music on the Plaza Stage. There will also be a silent disco stage from 8 – 11:30 pm featuring Glittertitz DJz and DJ S.Y.I.M.O.N.E.

For attire, make sure to dress to impress if you’re in the Turf Club, Jockey Club Suites, Finish Line Suites or Millionaire’s Row. If you’re sitting in a box outside, you can definitely go more casual.

Ann Taylor Floral Flounce Dress (super similar version for fall here; seen before here)
Lucky Brand Boots (similar here and under $100)
Sole Society Wide Brim Hat | Draper James Cape (old; similar here)

 

October 
October 4 – 26: Keeneland Fall Meet

Live racing at arguably the nation’s most beautiful and certainly one of its most historic race tracks. A day at Keeneland is truly unlike any other and I think the fall meet is when the track is at its best. If you’re looking for the picturesque racing experience, this is it. Live racing Wednesday – Sunday throughout the meet. Tickets available here but you can always just get General Admission tickets at the gate.

Note: if you are invited to go to the Clubhouse, make sure your date has a jacket. They are required.

If you’re looking for some tips for a great day at the races, check out this post.

October 11: Big Blue day at the Races – Keeneland

There’s no better fall combo than a day at the races followed by a UK football game. But when it’s all in the same day, it can take a toll so this is the best of both worlds. Enjoy Big Blue day on Friday and then head out to Commonwealth Stadium to cheer on the Cats against Arkansas on Saturday.

This is a great option for a weekend trip, just make sure to book a hotel ASAP. There may already be slim pickings.

October 13: Kids Club Family Day at Keeneland

The Keeneland Kids Club is the official club for under 12 race fans at the track. Kids Club members and their families are invited to enjoy a special day at the races that includes free general admission tickets and access to reserved grandstand seating. There will also be children’s activities from 12 – 3pm in the North Terrace.

Sundays are a great day to take the kids out to Keeneland. It’s a little less crowded and you an usually get up to the rails pretty easily so they can have a front row seat to the action.

October 17- 20: Meet the Budweiser Clydesdales at Keeneland

Oh man, I am bummed I will be out of town for this one. The Budweiser Clydesdales will be at Keeneland all weekend. You’ll be able to see them in-person where you can snap a pic and pretend to be in a commercial with the iconic horses.

October 18: College Scholarship Day at Keeneland

This means the place will be even more packed with college kids than it normally is on a Friday. The track offers free admission for all college students – whether you go to school in Kentucky or anywhere else in the world. Just have that ID ready.

October 30 – December 1: Fall Meet at Churchill Downs

When Keeneland closes, things kick back up at Churchill Downs with live racing Wednesday – Sunday throughout. Live racing begins at 1 pm with some exceptions for special events.

November
November 1 – 2: Breeders’  Cup At Santa Anita Park

Breeders’ Cup is in California this year but you can still take part in the fun by watching coverage from Churchill Downs or Keeneland. Both tracks will have viewing parties and, of course, live wagering. Churchill Downs will also have live racing starting at 2 pm.

November 10: Military Appreciation Day at Churchill Downs 

In honor of Veteran’s Day, active and retired members of the military and invited to enjoy the races with free general admission tickets or discounted tickets ($29) to Millionaire’s Row.

November 28 – December 1: Thanksgiving Weekend Racing at Churchill Downs

Other than Derby, this is one of my favorite times at Churchill Downs. If you don’t want to cook, make reservations and give thanks at the track. The food is delicious, you don’t have to clean anything up and it’s always a fun time.

Or reserve a box and grab a group of friends to make a day of it on Friday or Saturday. The weather is usually not too cold to enjoy some time outside. I’ve done this with a group of girlfriend in the past and it was such a good time. Follow it up with drinks and apps somewhere for the perfect day.

So now there’s no excuse for not planning a trip to Keeneland or Churchill Downs this fall. Legitimately, there is a day for everyone.

If you’re looking for betting tips any day you’re at the track, make sure to bookmark this page from America’s Best Racing since they regularly update it with tips, picks and more insights. It’s also going to have some of the most detailed information leading up to Breeders’ Cup so you’re going to want to come back as the big race gets closer.

Now Go Baby Go!

Thanks so much to America’s Best Racing for partnering on this post. As always, all opinions, thoughts and random ramblings are my own. 

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