Kentucky Bluegrass Country Feature


Where Should I Focus My Energy?

If you're here for 1 day: If your time is limited and you want a flavor of horse country, take one of the daylong van tours of horse farms and Keeneland race course that depart from downtown Lexington hotels.

If you're here for 2 days: Spend a morning at the Kentucky Horse Park, enjoy lunch in nearby Lexington, and meander along the roads around the horse farms in the afternoon. (This could be an alternate one-day itinerary, too.)

If you're here for 3 days: Visit the Headley-Whitney Museum and lunch and shop along Main Street in nearby Midway.

If you're here for 4 days: Tour a couple of the historic homes in or near Lexington, such as Ashland, the Hunt-Morgan House, the Mary Todd Lincoln House, or White Hall.

If you're here for 5 days: Take a bourbon distillery tour at Woodford Reserve.

If you're here for 6 days: Head to Louisville and visit the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs and watch some races if you are visiting during the spring or fall race meets.

If you're here for 7 days or more: Linger in Louisville to see attractions such as the Louisville Slugger Museum and Locust Grove and check out the city's restaurant scene.

Claim to Fame

The horse-racing tradition is the state's most famous, and Kentuckians are justly proud of it. Great Thoroughbreds foaled in Kentucky include Man O' War, Citation, and Seattle Slew. Slew, who was purchased for a mere $17,000 at the Keeneland yearling sales, went on to win the Triple Crown in 1977 and command million of dollars in stud fees. (The horse racing and breeding business amounts to a multibillion dollar industry in the state.)

You can see evidence of the love of horses everywhere, from street names (Man O' War Boulevard is a major Lexington thoroughfare) to statues. Colorfully painted, life-size horses are fixtures of street art in Louisville and Lexington. Shops sell hundreds of equine-inspired items, from jewelry and clothing to art and hand-painted furniture. Louisville's Kentucky Derby Festival easily rivals New Orleans' Mardi Gras as a community party, kicking off with the country's largest fireworks display, "Thunder Over Louisville." It continues for two weeks with a hot air balloon race, a marathon, a steamboat race, the Pegasus Parade, dozens of charity balls, and thousands of private parties. (Don't worry, if you're in town during this time, you'll get invitations to at least half a dozen.)

Outside of Louisville, the Governor of Kentucky hosts a Derby Breakfast on the grounds of the state capitol, and many Derby Eve balls are held on the horse farm estates around Lexington.

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