2,500 students to tour Keeneland
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 24, 2015) — Keeneland will host 2,500 fifth-graders from 28 area public and private schools this week as part of an ongoing program to educate students about the historic Lexington track and the importance of the Thoroughbred industry to Central Kentucky’s economy and culture.
Kentucky’s horse industry, which consists of about 320,000 horses, has a $4 billion economic impact on the state, creates between 80,000 to 100,000 jobs and is the state’s top agricultural cash crop, according to Kentucky HBPA. The economic impact of the horse industry on tourism is $10 billion.
The program at Keeneland, in its fifth year, has involved more than 15,000 students.
“Hosting these young students has become one of Keeneland’s favorite events,” Keeneland vice president and COO Vince Gabbert said. “We appreciate our partnership with local schools and their desire to expose students to career opportunities at Keeneland and in Kentucky’s Thoroughbred industry as part of the curriculum.”
Each morning through Friday several hundred students will arrive at Keeneland for two hours of activities. Students will be greeted by Keeneland officials, watch a demonstration of a Thoroughbred being sold in the Sales Pavilion, and tour the Grandstand, Paddock and trackside areas.
The tour includes demonstrations and presentations from horse industry partners Darley, Locust Trace AgriScience Farm, Kentucky Derby Museum, North American Racing Academy and Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital. The Racing Academy will feature an Equicizer, a mechanical horse that allows students to simulate riding a Thoroughbred.
Keeneland will provide each student with a “Thoroughbred Racing and Sales” book that can be used in the classroom following the tour. The book contains information about Keeneland racing and sales, Thoroughbred training and care, jockey equipment, racing surfaces, the industry’s economic impact on Kentucky and a glossary of equine terms.