In the Lexington area, we found the Kentucky Horse Park for a week’s stay. That is a large park that is everything equine, with an RV campground attached to it. They have tours for things like a Parade of Breeds, you can watch grooming and other chores related to horses, and Man o’ War is buried in a memorial garden there. We did not take any of the tours, not being real horse aficionados. I guess Man o’ War was kind of a big celebrity in his day, won lots of races and sired lots of champions. The RV campground was OK as far as campgrounds go, spacious enough, but getting level was a chore on the paved site. It was disappointing the sites were W/E only (for $30 a night, sewer would be nice), but at least they had 2 dump sites in the park. There was a nice playground area for the kiddies, pool area (although not in use right now), toilets/showers, and a bike trail leading out of the park.
We hit up some more of the Bourbon Trail distilleries while here in Lexington and stumbled upon an additional “trail” that was more or less localized around Lexington…the Kentucky Brewgrass Trail. That would consist of 11 fairly local microbrewers of all things beer. OK, challenge on! Well, at this stop we did complete the Kentucky Bourbon Trail (the 10 “big” corporate-type distilleries like Beam and Wild Turkey). We closed in on completing the Craft Tour. But we hit a wall with the dang microbreweries. Their days and hours were all over the map. We goofed at first and assumed businesses were generally open when we drove 40 miles out of Lexington to get to the breweries in Danville & Harrodsburg only to find them closed. And the final straw was after checking days and hours to make sure they were open, then driving out again to Lemons Mill Brewing in Harrodsburg only to find them closed again. I called their phone number and spoke to a person who said they would not open that day due to lack of patrons lately and there were some sports events on TV. Arrrrggghhhhh!!!!!!
During one of our drives to Harrodsburg, we did encounter Beaumont St., a historical area of mini-antebellum style mansions. We let Woody lead us on a walkabout down the street and to the Beaumont Inn.
This area of Kentucky is hugely into horses and horse farms. Claiborne Farms is just one of the local outfits and they offer tours to us mere mortals, and part of the intrigue is they offer you the opportunity to wrap your arms around $90,000,000 worth of horse (that’s seven zeros, folks!). We could not pass that one up. The ranch consists of some 3,000 acres, 50 barns, and 35 houses. Obviously, the tour did not cover the whole schmear, but basically the business end of the thoroughbred breeding enterprise- – – the breeding shed, the stud barns, and face to face with some of the current studs, including top dog War Front, currently valued at about $90,000,000 and who fetches a stud fee of $250,000. Just a few of Claiborne’s historical accomplishments:
-raised 63 champions and 17 Horses of the Year
-stallions and offspring have 22 Kentucky Derby wins, 19 Preakness wins, 22 Belmont wins, 29 Breeder’s Cup wins
-6 of 12 Triple Crown winners have been sired by Claiborne stallions.
OK, enough about horses. Well, almost enough. The Keeneland Racetrack happens to be here in Lexington and son-of-a-gun-show-me-some-fun we just happened to be here during their opening weekend, so a day at the horse races seemed in order. $5 admission says you can’t argue with that! Now this was interesting. I don’t know if opening weekend is different from other weekends. The place was jam-PACKED! The track itself was ankle-to-elbow, but there were probably twice as many folks outside the track area showing no interest in going inside to watch races. The crowd was majority college kids (we are, as a matter of fact, in UK country), and they get all dressed up like going to a prom. It appeared to me they were all deeply involved in study groups for their class “Power Drinking 101”! I felt like a pinball walking around inside the track, drunks bouncing off my shoulders constantly, some nearly falling down. But we managed to survive the crowd and Jeanne got to donate a little cash to the local horse economy. I think her last horse betted on had 81:1 odds. Come to think of it, as of the time I am writing this, that very horse is still rounding the first turn…
Our “last hurrah” at this park was our bike ride along the Legacy Trail. It was about a 20 mile round trip ride into downtown Lexington along Cane Creek. If this trail was indicative of the way Kentucky does all their hike/bike trails, they definitely got it going on. At all the trailheads along our trail, they installed a “Fix It” post. These included manual bicycle pumps and a slew of hand tools cabled together for all manner of bicycle repair. Anyway, it was a nice moderate ride.
That catches us up, until next post…