The keeneland Library
Preserving Racing's Rich History
Established in 1939, the Keeneland Library is a public research/reference library that is one of the world’s largest repositories of information related to the Thoroughbred. For its contributions to the Thoroughbred industry, the Library received the 2002 Special Eclipse Award. The Library houses nearly 30,000 books, approximately 1 million photographic negatives and thousands of newspaper and magazine articles about all aspects of the equine industry.
Keeneland Library Lecture Series
Keeneland’s popular Library Lecture Series continues this summer with four public events that celebrate recently published works about Thoroughbred racing whose authors conducted research at Keeneland Library. The first two installments of the Library Lecture Series will feature books related to the Library’s current exhibit, The Heart of the Turf: Racing’s Black Pioneers.
May 11 – Katherine Mooney will discuss Isaac Murphy: The Rise and Fall of a Black Jockey.
June 22 – Mark Shrager will discuss The First Kentucky Derby: Thirteen Black Jockeys, One Shady Owner and the Little Red Horse That Wasn’t Supposed to Win.
Aug. 24 – Jennifer Kelly will discuss The Foxes of Belair: Gallant Fox, Omaha and the Quest for the Triple Crown.
Sept. 28 – Patricia McQueen will discuss Secretariat’s Legacy: The Sons, Daughters and Descendants Who Keep His Legacy Alive.
The Heart of the Turf: Racing’s Black Pioneers
This exhibit highlights the lives and careers of 80 African American horsemen and -women from the mid-1800s to the present through exhibited interpretive panels, photographs, artwork, and video interviews. More than 100 photographs from Keeneland Library collections capture moments across their varied careers, while commissioned artwork by LaVon Williams and loaned artwork from the Kentucky Derby Museum, the International Museum of the Horse, and private collections honor their lasting legacies.
Exhibit Dates: February 23 – August 31, 2023
The Keeneland Library collection features a wide array of information, ranging from video replays, race charts dating back to the 1860s, photographs, newspaper clippings, periodicals and nearly every significant book written about the Thoroughbred and racing and breeding. The Library’s book collections span a broad range of topics, including sales and racing, veterinary care, farriery, equine art, biographies, the history of the horse in culture, racing history, memoirs, equine law and economics, theories about handicapping and breeding, and even fiction, photography and poetry.
View the previous exhibits displayed at the Library.
Keeneland is dedicated to sharing and preserving the stories of the horsemen and horsewomen at the heart of the Thoroughbred industry through the Life's Work project.
The Online Catalogue
The online catalog is an index of the books, journals and special collections held in the Keeneland Library. While you are in the Library, you can consult the catalog via the public access computers to locate materials in the building. If you are a remote researcher, you can explore the collections before making a trip to the Library. Search by title, author, subject or keyword to prepare a list of materials to consult.
While the online catalog is designed as an index to collections, it can often point you to full-text, online versions of books and journals.
If prompted to sign-in with a Library name, enter "Keeneland Library" and no password.
Contact The Library
Frequently Asked Questions
The Keeneland Library is free and open to the public.
The Keeneland Library is a reference-only, non-circulating library that offers wireless Internet, work and study spaces and public-access computers.
The Keeneland Library is open year-round to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Library is closed on all federal holidays.
Masks and social distancing recommended.
4201 Versailles Rd.
Lexington, KY 40510
Phone: 859 288-4224