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Keeneland Library celebrating its 80th year — and planning a series of programs about new TB books


The Keeneland Library, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, will spotlight new publications about Thoroughbred racing – from stories compiled by noted Central Kentucky horseman and longtime radio show host Ercel Ellis to new books about the Triple Crown, the Travers (G1) at Saratoga and Racing Hall of Famer Spectacular Bid – as its popular Library Lecture Series programs continue on selected Tuesday evenings for the remainder of the year.

On July 23, Ellis will share stories from more than seven decades in the industry with a book signing of his July release, Kentucky Horse Tales.

According to Keeneland magazine, “Ellis has hosted his two-hour ‘Horse Tales’ show since 1998, most recently from the offices of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association at Keeneland-owned The Thoroughbred Center. Its laid-back, folksy blend of special guests, chirpy banter and homespun stories – sprung mostly from the depths of Ellis’ encyclopedic memory of horse racing and breeding history – have turned the show into a must-listen among insiders and the host himself into a Bluegrass icon.”

On Aug. 20, Edward L. Bowen will discuss his new book, The Lucky Thirteen: The Winners of America’s Triple Crown of Horse Racing. Bowen, who most recently was president of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, is an Eclipse Award-winning journalist and leading historian on Thoroughbred breeding and racing who has written numerous books on prominent horses and industry figures.

On Oct. 22, Brien Bouyea will present his new book, The Travers: 150 Years of Saratoga’s Greatest Race, which chronicles each edition of the famous race from Kentucky’s victory in the inaugural 1864 running through Catholic Boy’s win in 2018. Bouyea, the Media and Communications Director of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York, wrote the book with longtime Turf writer Michael Veitch.

On Dec. 3, Peter Lee will discuss his new book, Spectacular Bid: The Last Superhorse of the Twentieth Century, the third book in the “Horses in History” series published by the University Press of Kentucky. Lee, an author and former journalist, maintains the blog “The Way to Churchill Downs,” which reports on Kentucky Derby (G1) hopefuls for the coming year, and is a regular contributor to pastthewire.com.

Each program, free and open to the public, is from 6:30-8:30 p.m. ET. The author’s presentation will be followed by a reception and book signing. A limited number of copies of the highlighted books will be available for purchase.

In 1939, the Keeneland Library was established when Keeneland Trustee and Director William Arnold Hanger donated a 2,300-volume Turf collection of Robert James Turnbull. Today, the Library is a public research and reference library that is one of the world’s largest repositories of information related to the Thoroughbred and the caretaker of many priceless materials.

The Library is open Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Guests to the Library will enjoy its exhibit of historic photos titled “From the Vault: Jockeys.” The exhibit, curated by Head Librarian Roda Ferraro, features 29 images dating from the late 1800s to the mid-20th century from the Library’s archive of more than 1 million negatives and photographic prints. Varied memorabilia from Hall of Fame jockeys Eddie Arcaro, Ted Atkinson and Bill Shoemaker accompany the photographs.

A virtual gallery of jockey photographs in Photo Treasures from the Keeneland Library is available here. Click on the link titled “People Gallery.”


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