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Keeneland Library opens exhibit of historic photos Oct. 1; Library Lecture Series resumes Oct. 23


The Keeneland Library is presenting two special events in October in conjunction with the Fall Meet.

On Oct. 1, there will be the opening of an exhibit of historic photos titled “From the Vault: Historic Tracks.” And on Oct. 23, the resumption of the popular Library Lecture Series takes place when Milt Toby discusses his book “Taking Shergar: Thoroughbred Racing’s Most Famous Cold Case.”

Founded in 1939, the Keeneland Library is the caretaker of priceless materials related to Thoroughbred racing. “From the Vault: Historic Tracks” is the first in a series focused on racing fans’ engagement with U.S. tracks over time. The exhibit features 26 select images out of the Library’s archive of more than one million negatives and photographic prints dating back to the late 1800s.

The exhibit showcases photographs from a variety of tracks from the early 20th century, ranging from tracks that operated for less than a decade to tracks still running today. Highlights include images from New York, Washington, D.C., Kentucky, Florida, Louisiana, Illinois and California, providing glimpses into the experience of U.S. racegoers at various moments in history.

“I chose these specific photographs from thousands, because they each speak to the relationship between people and a place,” said Roda Ferraro, Keeneland head librarian and curator of the exhibit. “These tracks are not static facilities. People engage with them not only in their design and creation, but in their experiences as fans over time.”

The exhibit, being presented through the spring 2019, features work from two pioneering Turf photographers of the 20th century — John C. Hemment and Charles Christian Cook, with additional representation from Joel Clyne Meadors and Robert Lee McClure, among others. In addition, the online exhibit “Photo Treasures from the Keeneland Library” presents nearly 100 other historic images of U.S. racing facilities in its “Tracks Gallery.”

“It is a joy to share these photographs with our patrons,” Ferraro said. “Several were reproduced from one-of-a-kind prints, and many were developed from glass plate negatives that are more than a century old.”

Toby, an attorney, author and photographer from Georgetown, will discuss Taking Shergar on Oct. 23 during the Keeneland Library Lecture Series. The book delves into the mysterious disappearance of 1981 European Horse of the Year Shergar in Ireland.

Toby “presents an engaging narrative that is as thrilling as any mystery novel,” said the University Press of Kentucky, which published Taking Shergar. “The book provides new analysis of the body of evidence related to the stallion’s disappearance, delves into the conspiracy theories that surround the inconclusive investigation and presents a profile of the man who might be the last person able to help solve part of the mystery.”

Following Toby’s presentation, the Library will host a reception and a book signing. A limited number of copies of Taking Shergar will be available for purchase. The event, which begins at 6:30 p.m., is free and open to the public.

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

From Keeneland Library


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