Although Steve and I are neither horse-racing fans nor bourbon drinkers, a visit to Kentucky isn’t complete without checking out those two items that the state is famous for. The area with a concentration of over 400 thoroughbred farms is known as the Bluegrass Region – aka the Horse Capital of the World – and Lexington sits right in the middle of it. Here’s a little trivia tidbit for you: Lexington was named after the fastest stallion horse of its time, 1850-1875.
Setting aside a day to visit Lexington, we took the self-guided Bluegrass Country Driving Tour. Most of these pictures are “drive-by shootings” from the car, as the road was narrow with few safe places to pull over for good shots. I did my best to show the countryside surrounding Lexington, where the gorgeous horse farms give the region a beautiful park-like setting.
Looking at the pictures, it’s obvious that the grass isn’t really blue. It’s a variety of “bluegrass” on which a small blue flower blooms in early spring. A field of flowering bluegrass appears to be bluish-green in early spring before it has been cut (or eaten by a horse).
The sun was hiding on this day, but while driving along the winding country road we feasted our eyes on green rolling hills, acres of beautiful horse farms, horse barns and distinctive fences. These are not your typical horse farms; they are estates of the wealthy where breeding of the best of the best thoroughbreds happens.
Not to be missed is a visit to one of the world’s most beautiful racetracks, the Keeneland Race Course. Keeneland is a 922-acre pastoral setting that makes its atmosphere unique in the horse racing industry. But Keeneland is not only a place for thoroughbred racing, it’s also the world’s premier thoroughbred auction house. Racing happens only in April and October, so it was quiet when we got there and we thought it was cool that people can walk all around the place even during non-racing months. On this morning we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
Although the visit did not transform us into horse-racing fans, being there and experiencing the beautiful countryside where the thoroughbreds are bred, raced, auctioned and retired was worth the drive on an overcast day. But the horses and bluegrass are only part of the story that makes Kentucky a unique state. Then there’s the bourbon…
You guys do such a great job of conveying the essence of every place that you travel! Your photos of the Kentucky horse farms are beautiful — I especially love the one of Manchester Farm. Interesting tour of the race track, too (and you didn’t have to fight the crowds!).
Thanks Laurel, this is really a picturesque unique town.
This most definitely is beautiful country. I love seeing the horses romping in the huge open fields. That poor “horse” wandering around like a lost sheep:)
Agree with you Pam, Kentucky is a unique state. I lost my bet on that “horse” too slow getting out of the gate 🙂 Be safe out there, saw the storm heading your way and cooling down.
Love your header photo.
What a clever and unique “walk of fame.” The horse farm looks so lovely. The ugly turkey vulture can’t even ruin that beautiful area.
Marsha, I have to say Kentucky is beautiful with all its rolling hills and lush green space.
Nothing like “horsing around” in old Kentucky. Made me think of an old John Prine song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHcjwLoIFXE
I just kicked myself, when I listened to the song, I remembered we just passed by the Old Kentucky Home as we head to Bardstown a few days ago. 😦
Beautiful country and beautiful horses. I’ve been know to ‘play the ponies’ but haven’t in a long, long time 🙂
Yes Kentucky is beautiful unique state and so different than Colorado!
What beautiful country….I have always thought horses are so grand! I have enjoyed photographing them on occasion as well. I has no idea one could take a self-guided car tour….so neat to go at your own pace!
I sure hope you made it to Makers Mark (but I think it is in Louisville) ….way yummy chocolates!
Gay, we made it to Makers Mark, it was closer to our home base in Cave City than when we were at Frankfort.
What beautiful photos of beautiful countryside, except the ugly turkey vulture, of course!
Hi ya’ll! You are in a unique part of the US. It’s beautiful as your photos prove frame after frame. Never been to a horse race, but sure have run through a bourbon or two 😉
Poor ugly turkey vulture! I bet only his mommy loves him. 😀 The Rolex clocks are so gorgeous.
Love the horses and the farm. What amazing countryside you traveled through. Great post, Mona.
This posts looks so familiar to me. 😉 I felt the same way when we took the Bluegrass Driving Tour, no place to pull over for photos, although I recall yelling at Terry to do so anyway. We aren’t horse racing fans much either, but I do enjoy looking at these beautiful animals. Your header photo also looks familiar. We had to go to a distillery because Terry does like to sip on a bourbon now and then. I tried very hard not to shiver or gag as I tried my samples. 🙂
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