An Abundance of Opportunity. An Abundance of Opening Days

Baseball and bat_promo_smallerBy ART PARKER

There is always much ado about opening day in baseball. It is always on or about April 1st. That is the logical time to start an outdoors sport that consumes almost half of the days in the year. The opening day of baseball season also signals the opening of Keeneland.

Racing at Keeneland in the spring is unbeatable. There are many important graded stakes events to highlight the high quality of everyday racing. It is a beautiful place that makes one appreciate the opportunity to be at the track. But if opening day of baseball signals the time for  Keeneland’s spring meeting, then the opening of Keeneland signals the soon-to-begin meetings at many tracks in the country that lead us into the prime racing months of summer. In other words, it begins the time when being at the track beats being anywhere else in the world. It begins the time of the Triple Crown series, when racing excitement reaches its peak.

Like baseball season, many tracks open for extended periods of time. Some are open only a couple of months before giving way to other top meets in the same state or in the same circuit.

I always tell my wife that the spring meeting at Keeneland, “gets me in the mood.” Of course she only shakes her head and laughs because she knows I’m talking about racing. But it is true, Keeneland sets the stage for the balance of spring and the heat of summer. While we are just now settling in for the spring meeting at Keeneland, let’s go ahead and mark the opening day of many tracks that will be running within a month or so.

Evangeline Downs – April 8

Lone Star – April 9

Woodbine – April 11

Emerald Downs – April 18

Prairie Meadows –April 18

Indiana Grand – April 21

Churchill Downs -April 25

Hastings Park – April 25

ThistleDown – April 27

Belmont Park – April 29

Arlington Park – May 1

Louisiana Downs – May 1

Belterra Downs – May 1

Delaware Park – May 16

Presque Isle Downs – May 17

There you have it. Opening days everywhere. Have fun, and remember, if you go to a track take a rookie with you. While you’re at the track help any rookie that needs help. The guy you help today is just one more we need to make sure that opening days are not a thing of the past.

— Art is the author of “Keeneland Winning Trainers” newly revamped for the 2015 spring meet.  Check it out before we take it down for good.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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