Race fans will take a step back in time as Keeneland opens its fall race meeting Friday with a "Founders Day" celebration that will include a salute to Seabiscuit.On opening day, fans dressed in 1930s period attire will receive free admission and are eligible for prizes, including one grand prize of airfare for two anywhere in the continental United States, courtesy of Delta Airlines. Categories for prizes include best-dressed female, best-dressed male and best-dressed group or family. To participate in the contest and receive free admission, 1930s attired race fans should check-in at the sales pavilion. Keeneland employees will also take part in the festivities., with program sellers, mutuel clerks and admission, guest services, parking, and security employees wearing vintage attire. Adding to the Founders Day atmosphere, antique cars will be parked at the entrances of the grandstand and clubhouse, period music will be playing throughout Keeneland and the printed racing program will resemble the first Keeneland program from October 15, 1936.
As a part of the day's salute to Seabiscuit, I Two Step Too -- one of the equine "actors" who played the great horse in the recent feature film "Seabiscuit "-- will be on the grounds on opening day. He will be paraded in the paddock and on the track, ridden by a jockey wearing the silks of Charles Howard, Seabiscuit's owner. "This is a great opportunity to recognize the rich history of Keeneland and its role in Thoroughbred racing," said Keeneland president Nick Nicholson. "With the spectacular success of the film Seabiscuit this summer, we felt that it was also a chance for race fans to feel the magic of the era one more time."Founders Day also will serve as the kickoff for "FallStars Weekend," which features seven graded stakes races that are preps for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 25. The winners of 19 Breeders' Cup races made their previous starts at Keeneland.