We arrived here ok after a grueling day on the road Tuesday. We had to drive 47 miles north on I-75 to arrive at the Kentucky Horse Park with adjacent Horse Park Campground.
The campground is very nice, with large sites, etc. Set up, and then arranged a tour for Wednesday of the surrounding area including a horse farm and Keeneland Racetrack.
The tour was informative including a history lesson of Lexington and the horse industry. We started by touring the old downtown area and drove past the houses where Mary Todd Lincoln was born and where she lived when Abe was courting her. The historical area has houses protected due to their historical nature and are identified with a BGT sign on the house. This stands for Blue Grass Trust. Transylvania College is located here and dates back to the times of the settlement of Lexington. Enrollment in the Liberal Arts college is about 1,100. The name Transylvania comes from Latin and means "across the woods"—a good description of the vast region settled by a pioneering land company whose chief scout was Daniel Boone. Kentucky still marked the nation's western frontier in 1780 when Transylvania became the sixteenth college in the U.S. and the first college west of the Allegheny Mountains. Transylvania is linked with many famous names in American history. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Aaron Burr were early supporters. Henry Clay was a law professor and a member of Transylvania's board of trustees. Among other distinguished alumni are Stephen Austin, Cassius M. Clay, two U.S. vice presidents, a Supreme Court justice, 50 U.S. senators, 101 U.S. representatives, 36 governors, and 34 ambassadors.
The Lexington area was chosen as a settlement for farming and raising of livestock, including horses due to it being on a high limestone plateau as opposed to the dense forests that surround the area.
Then we went to Keeneland to tour the racetrack.
Here is a photo looking across the tracks.
The above is a photo showing the turf or grass track and the polyturf or dirt track.
This racetrack was built out from the city of Lexington in 1935. It is a rich looking stone structure and a non-profit organization. All profits go back into upkeep, expansion and anything left over is given to local charities. It is a beautiful facility. At this time of year there is no racing (only in April and October) and no horse auctions. Many of the high priced and prized horses are auctioned here to THE PEOPLE in the racing industry, including Sheiks, actors, and wealthy horse racing farms. They sell for as little as $25,000 to several million.
Kathy in the paddock area.
The above is the group less Ray down at the track and close to the winner’s circle.
Next we went to Donamire farm. It was 650 acres of rolling hills and many, many paddocks and barns. The barns were made of limestone with big heavy oak doors and brass hardware. It is rumored that the barn doors cost $25,000. This farm has its own racetracks for practice, both turf and dirt. The main house is a large limestone structure.
This is a photo of the back porch of the house
Next, it was off to the Old Friends at Dream Chase Farm. This is a facility that cares for retired Thoroughbred Champions. Many owners simply get rid of stallions after they are no longer profitable. This facility cares for the horses much like an assisted living center for aged senior citizens. Some were rescued from the chopping block or put there by their former owners. Some of the former owners actually pay for the services.
One of the horses is Popcorn Deelites who was one of the horses who played Seabiscuit in the movie. This particular horse is in the scene that shows Seabiscuit winning the race.
That’s a recap of today’s activities. Tomorrow it is on to visit either Georgetown a couple miles up the road where Kathy’s sister, Linda, went to college for a year or on to visit the Horse Park and Horse Museum etc.
Weather update, HOT, HOT and DRY! Cools down at night. The best part is no humidity.