10/06/2011 2:36PM

Keeneland voices behind the scenes: Mary Page


Mary Page

Supervisor of track kitchen
Age: 63
Years at Keeneland: 34

What’s the biggest change since you started here?
The telephone! Telephones weren’t even allowed here when I started. You had to run down to the office to make an emergency phone call. Now you can’t live without them. I don’t even understand how people survived without the telephone.

What’s your favorite part of working here?
The people. Every day is different. It’s always changing. I guess that’s what’s kept me here. I’m a people watcher. I don’t bet the races. I probably only bet four or five races a meet.

But you have to hear a lot of tips here, don’t you?
Every day, all day long. If I bet every race that someone tried to set me up on I’d be homeless. One time it was my birthday, and this guy comes in here and says, “What you doing for your birthday?” And I told him I wasn’t doing anything. And he said, “Meet me in the winner’s circle.” I said, “Yeah, right.” Then he called me up and said “Get on up here.” And so I got to stand there in the winner’s circle, on my birthday!

Did you bet the horse?
No. No I didn’t.

What about the menu here? How has that changed?
Oh, it’s the same. I don’t think it’s changed at all. It’s just home cooking. That’s all it is. It’s what everyone comes here to eat.
This place is one of the worst-kept secrets in the world. I just finished off a plate of BBQ pork chops, with macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a side of cornbread. For $5.

You’d be surprised the people even today who don’t know the public can eat in the track kitchen.

Do you want them to know?
I guess that’s part of what the track kitchen is, that people don’t know about it. So it’s nice it’s such a surprise when they do come in here. And they come here. All over the world they come in here to eat.

How many days since you’ve been here have you served gravy?
Every day since I’ve been here. Biscuits and gravy. It’s the number one thing. I’ve served so much of it that I don’t even eat it anymore.


Rogers Beasley, director of racing | Jimmy Young, maintenance

Lewis Leach, mutuels department | Herb Petit, sales office

Cathy Schenck, head librarian | Bucky Sallee, track bugler | Ted Bassett, trustee emeritus