Kentucky October 28, 2016
You’ll Want To Take This Dreamy Road Trip Through Kentucky’s Scenic Horse Country
Kentucky may be known for bourbon and fried chicken, but the state is also famous for their horses. Lexington is known as “the Horse Capital of the World,” and even though it’s the second-largest city in Kentucky, it is surrounded by the beautiful horse farms that the area is famous for. Check out this road trip that meanders through the rolling farmland of Kentucky.
Below is the map, but click
here for an interactive version that you can adjust to make your road trip the best version possible.
Start at Thoroughbred Park in Lexington.
It only seems appropriate that this road trip would start in the Horse Capital of the World itself. The road trip begins in an urban setting, only about a mile away from Rupp Arena, and even closer to the University of Kentucky campus. Walk around this 2.5 acre park learning about the history of Thoroughbred horses. There are life-size horse sculptures, including a group of them that appear to be sprinting to the finish line.
Check out harness racing at The Red Mile.
The Red Mile has been around since 1875, making it the second-oldest harness racing track in the world. The track gets its name from the red clay it is made of, and it is a distance of one mile. Their season begins in July and ends in October, so be sure to stop in and catch a race if you do the road trip in that time span. However, the wagering floor is open year-round. The Red Mile is located at 1200 Red Mile Road, Lexington, KY 40504.
Head down Versailles Road.
Say goodbye to the city, because it’s time to immerse yourself in the heart of horse country. Start on Versailles Road, and you’ll start to see farms on both sides of the street as you get further and further away from the city.
One of the first farms you’ll see is Calumet Farm...
...followed by Manchester Farm.
Keep in mind, most of these farms are not open for public tours. However, they are still stunning to view from the road and present great opportunities for pictures.
Enjoy classic Thoroughbred racing at Keeneland.
After winding past a few farms, you’ll arrive at Keeneland Racecourse, a Thoroughbred racing facility that is designated as a National Historic Landmark. Keeneland is small and charming, and takes pride in maintaining racing traditions. In 2015, it hosted the Breeders’ Cup for the first time, which many thought was a questionable decision given Keeneland’s small size. However, the venue rose to the occasion, and successfully hosted more than 50,000 people to witness American Pharoah win the first-ever “Grand Slam” of horse racing— winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, and Breeders’ Cup. Keeneland has meetings in both April and October. To get specific dates, visit their
The racecourse is located at 4201 Versailles Road, Lexington, KY 40510.
Keep an eye out for a castle.
After leaving Keeneland, continue down Versailles Road and continue to take in the beauty of the surrounding farmland. One thing you’ll see out your window is Castle Post, which is a luxury bed and breakfast and event venue located in, yep, a castle.
After passing through the town of Versailles—which would be a great place to stop for lunch if you're hungry— you’ll briefly get on Midway Road, which is a quieter road than any of the ones you have been on thus far. You’ll pass more horse farms, and eventually turn onto Old Frankfort Pike.
Old Frankfort Pike is a scenic byway that is considered one of the 10 best scenic drives in the United States. It’s also nicknamed “Thoroughbred Alley” due to the abundance of horse farms around it.
Just some of the farms that you'll see on the stretch of Old Frankfort Pike include Endeavor Farm, Three Chimneys, Middlebrook Farm, Carriage Station Farm, Donamire Farm, and Darby Dan Farm.
A common scene along Old Frankfort Pike is the limestone rock walls that line the road.
Explore the Kentucky Horse Park.
Now it’s time to head to north Fayette County to the Kentucky Horse Park, which is both a horse farm and educational theme park. Ride a horse, see a hall of equine champions, learn about interesting breeds of horses, and watch a show. The Kentucky Horse Park is located at 4089 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511.
Slow down at Old Friends.
The final stop on this road trip takes you to Georgetown, KY. Now that you’ve driven through a history of horses and horse racing and seen how imbedded it is into Lexington’s culture, end your journey here, at this retirement community for Thoroughbreds. Old Friends calls itself “Horse Racing’s Living History Museum,” because when you book a tour, you’ll get to meet some Thoroughbreds who had extremely successful careers. However, at Old Friends, they’re not training for a big race like fine-tuned athletes. They’re just enjoying their retirement and being regular horses. To book a tour, visit their
. Old Friends is located at 1841 Paynes Depot Road, Georgetown, KY 40324.
You’ve now seen the beauty of the heart of Kentucky horse country. Who’s ready to take this road trip?