Other race track provides its own enjoyment



Column by Tabitha Engle

Beautiful women, fancy suits, feathered hats, luscious lilies and radiant roses are the backdrop many college students see when they skip class and break out the fine threads for a day at the races.

College Day at Keeneland is a favorite for myriads of students, but what about that other race track?

The Red Mile race track has been around for 130 years and is still kicking, both figuratively and literally.

This gem was founded 61 years before Keeneland and boasts the title of the second-oldest harness track in the world.

I have grown affectionate for this track because my standard-bred horse raced there. I live directly across from the stable gate and get the itch to take a stroll between the barns every day I wait on the bus.

Having been to both race tracks, I can comfortably say they both have a different charm: Keeneland has a “Gone with the Wind” atmosphere and the Red Mile has a “Wizard of Oz” feel because of its old world charm and new wave flair.

Keeneland is wonderful, but The Red Mile offers different types of racing, a convenient location and a diverse layout.

The Red Mile is not a standard race track, in that it has multiple types of racing. It has harness racing along with traditional racing.

In the harness racing category, there are two sub-categories: trotting and pacing. When a horse paces, the legs on the same side move in unison creating a rocking horse motion.

Harness racing is wonderfully interesting to watch, because it’s something not seen every day; the jockey sits in a wagon-like apparatus behind the horse called a “sulky.”

Whether one likes the traditional racing style or the harness racing style, The Red Mile has it and at a convenient location.

I awaken every morning to the loud speaker of The Red Mile blaring race times and announcements. I relish the sound of crunching gravel underneath horse trailers early in the morning.

The Red Mile has an opportune placement right off of Red Mile Road, a horseshoe’s throw from campus.

Not only is The Red Mile near to campus, but also it’s near restaurants and other venues in the metropolitan area.

One does not have to travel almost to another town to get that hot-blooded racing feeling; why not stay in the heart of Lexington at an exquisite race track that has earned its stripes (racing stripes, that is)?

Just like the city of Lexington, The Red Mile is a jack-of-all-trades and accommodates everyone who requests its services, be it a wedding reception, horse sales or a concert.

The Red Mile campus may not be as big as Keeneland, but every bit of the land is used.

One may stroll by and see a huge field of green, but know that when horses are not grazing, trailers are being parked on it.

The Red Mile has a charming building called “The Round Barn” where, on select nights, one can see twinkling lights and the well-dressed members of society swilling around the ballroom floor mimicking the liqueur in their glasses.

The Red Mile is truly a diamond in the rough city of Lexington.

Its location breeds opportune accessibility and for the easily bored spectator, multiple types of racing to satiate one’s thirst.

Whether the thirst is for bourbon or racing, one thing is for sure: Here in Lexington, we don’t need fine hats and fragile flowers to remind us of the racing season.