Keeneland offers LEX to KY Downs charters Sept. 7, 9, 10 and 13

Photos courtesy Triton Airways

FRANKLIN, Ky. (Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023) — The most lucrative seven days in American racing overlap the most important yearling sale in the world, with the FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs staged 170 miles from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Now Keeneland is offering a way to be at both venues on the same day. The Keeneland Association has arranged for charter flights between Lexington and Kentucky Downs to accommodate owners, trainers and others who are working the renowned yearling sale but also have horses running at Kentucky Downs.

The 40-minute flights go between Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport and the Portland (Tenn.) Municipal Airport seven miles from Kentucky Downs. The roundtrip flights are Thursday Sept. 7, Saturday Sept. 9, Sunday Sept. 10 and Wednesday Sept. 13 — the last four days of the Kentucky Downs meet. The Keeneland yearling sale begins Monday Sept. 11.

Kentucky Downs opens Thursday Aug. 31, running Saturday Sept. 2 and Sunday Sept. 3 of Labor Day weekend.

The flights depart at noon Eastern from Triton Airways at the Blue Grass Airport, located at 4170 Aviator Road (not the main terminal), directly across U.S. 60/Versailles Road from Keeneland. The lands in Portland Municipal Airport, also known as Douglas Hunter Field. The return flights will leave about 7 p.m. Central/8 p.m. Eastern.

“Keeneland is pleased to offer this service to anyone who is attending the September sale and wants to go racing on a particular day without five hours of driving,” said Tony Lacy, Keeneland’s Vice President of Sales. “There are a lot horses participating at Kentucky Downs that have not only domestic owners but international as well. With such a diverse group of people in town for the sale, it’s wonderful for them to be able to go enjoy a very unique, very competitive, extremely rich meet for the few days that they are in Kentucky. It’s important that we showcase the quality of Kentucky racing as the circuit gets stronger.”

The aircraft will be a King Air B200 with two pilots, WiFi and eight seats. Those seeking a spot should email [email protected] the following information: Number of seats requested, full legal names, birthdate and body weight for each passenger and luggage weights, credit-card information as well as noting any allergies and drink and snack preferences.

The cost for each seat is $625 per roundtrip, payable at the time of booking. Seats are nonrefundable unless they can be filled by another person.

Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs’ Executive Vice President for Racing, said the Keeneland charter is another facet to the strengthening bond between the two companies. Kentucky Downs is staging a pair of $250,000 allowance races on opening day restricted to 2-year-olds who went through the sales ring at last year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Keeneland also is a minority partner with Kentucky Downs’ ownership in the new Cumberland Run harness track that opens in Corbin in October and The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland, its sister historical horse racing and entertainment facility in Williamsburg in southeastern Kentucky.

“It will be nice to be able to get more owners who are in Lexington for the sales to come to Franklin to see their horses run,” Nicholson said. “We appreciate Keeneland facilitating this.”