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Attend Kentucky Horse Exhibits, Tours And Events

Kentucky is famous for its love of horses. Across the countryside, you’ll see horse farms, racing legends, training facilities and even museums. Here are some of the “can’t miss” spots for horse lovers.

Located in Franklin, the Kentucky Downs Race Course features European-style thoroughbred racing. Races are held live in September with simulcasts on the grounds all year. Keeneland Race Course opened in 1936 and offers live thoroughbred racing to this day. The Red Mile, near downtown Lexington, is one of the premier harness racing venues in the country. And, of course, racing fans can’t miss a trip to Churchill Downs in Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Derby Museum.

You’ll love exploring the exhibits of the American Saddlebred Museum. Also in Lexington is the International Museum of the Horse which highlights the history of racing in Kentucky, the development of Draft Horses and a gallery dedicated to Arabians.

You can watch equestrian competitions at Kentucky Horse Park and experience the annual Parade of Breeds. The Thoroughbred Center, established in 1969, is an equestrian training facility that offers tours. You can even make an appointment to visit retired thoroughbreds at the Old Friends Farm in Georgetown.

Kentucky Downs Race Course

Plan your next visit to Kentucky and be sure to explore the southwestern region. The Kentucky Downs Race Course, located in Franklin, is home to the only European Style thoroughbred horse race course in America. This all-grass course hosts annual live races in September, and simulcast races from a variety of great tracks across America, throughout the year.

Consider celebrating a special occasion, party, wedding or meeting at Kentucky Downs, where the catering staff ensures a successful event. Drive in from nearby Cave City and enjoy southern hospitality and exceptional experiences when you visit Franklin and the Kentucky Downs Race Course.

Kentucky Horse Park

The Kentucky Horse Track in the Bluegrass region of eastern Kentucky has been an educational center, working horse farm, and even theme park since 1978. Visitors to the 1,224-acre park can see rare and common horses from around the world at the daily Parade of Breeds.

The Kentucky Horse Park is also the headquarters for the National Horse Center, and several equestrian organizations – plus the International Museum of Horses.

The park hosts several events and competitions throughout the year, including the USEF Pony Finals, the Pony Club Championships, and even the Bluegrass Classic Dog Show.

Enjoy your stay in Lexington – the Horse Capital of the World.

Old Friends Farm

Few states across the grand ol' USA are as enamored with the equine like Kentucky. From the many different ranches and farms where horses are bred and raised, to the famous races and monuments, Kentucky and horse go together like peas and rice.

On your next visit to the Bluegrass State, be sure to head east and check out the Old Friends Farm. Found in Georgetown, just north of Lexington, the Old Friends Farm is one of the premier thoroughbred retirement farms in the state. When races horses are beyond their racing prime, they can rest easy across wide open pastures. Tours of Old Friends Farm are by appointment only.

The Red Mile

Among the wide range of endeavors Kentucky is known for, horses and horse racing are near the top. In Lexington, The Red Mile is one of the state's premier horse racing venues – with a twist. The Red Mile hosts harness racing, where horses pull a two-wheeled cart and it's driver, rather than atop its back.

The Red Mile, found near downtown Lexington along Versailles Road, was opened in 1875. Like its name states, The Red Mile is truly one mile is length, and its surface is red clay. Each year during the fall, dates vary, The Red Miles hosts the Kentucky Futurity, one leg of the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Trotters.

The Thoroughbred Center

Horses in the Bluegrass region of eastern Kentucky continue to be an important component in the city of Lexington. Since 1969, The Thoroughbred Center located northwest of downtown Lexington, has provided the facilities needed for equestrian training. Originally named the Kentucky Horse Center, it began with a 5/8-mile track, barns, tack rooms and a pavilion for up to 920 people. Throughout the years, the center was expanded to accommodate up to 1,800 horses and the track was enlarged to become a one-mile-track.

Enjoy a tour of this incredible facility to see the action behind-the-scenes. Tour participants have the opportunity to see the Thoroughbred horses during their morning workouts, speak to a horse trainer and tour the barns and paddocks. The Thoroughbred Center is also a wonderful location for social events, weddings, conferences, seminars and concerts. Find all the equine-fun at the Thoroughbred Center with short drive in from Paris.

American Saddlebred Museum

Eastern Kentucky travelers who love horses, find themselves in the right place, in Lexington. This second largest city in the state, appropriately nicknamed the "Horse Capital of the World," is the location of the Kentucky Horse Park. The park is home to the headquarters for the National Horse Center, as well as the American Saddlebred Museum. Learn about the history of the American Saddlebred horse, while viewing the museum's interactive exhibits, filled with the world's largest collection of Saddlebred items.

Take a few moments to watch one of the films in the museum theater, while the kids play in the children's area. Those in need of research information, have access to more than 2,500 volumes in the museum library. Stay close to this wonderful museum and many other Lexington attractions in eastern Kentucky – drive in from nearby Georgetown.

Keeneland Race Course

Enjoy a night of fun in Lexington, watching live Thoroughbred horse racing. Make your way to the Keeneland Race Course, where exciting racing action has taken place since the course opened in 1936. This incredible race course is located across Interstate 60 from the Blue Grass Airport, southwest of Georgetown. While in town during April or October, head to the track to watch the live races.

Throughout the year, enjoy a self-guided or guided tour of the Keeneland's paddock area to see where the horses are trained, during their morning workout. Kids love the trackside show-and-tell show, the activities and meeting the Keeneland mascot, Buckles. Stroll through the Keeneland Library to view over 15,000 volumes of books, newspapers articles, thousands of photographs and videos. This wonderful eastern Kentucky attraction is also an ideal venue for weddings, events and meetings.

Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Museum

Explore one of the premier attractions in all of Kentucky with a tour of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Museum. Home of the famous Thoroughbred horse race, the Kentucky Derby, this one-mile oval track opened in 1875 in Louisville and has hosted the Kentucky Derby annually since.

Churchill Downs also hosts the Kentucky Oaks race on the Friday before the derby. Visitors to the Churchill Downs Museum enjoy learning about the history of the Derby throughout the many exhibits and short films in the museum theater.

Arrive in Louisville two weeks before the Derby to watch Thunder Over Louisville, the country's largest fireworks show, and to enjoy the two-week Kentucky Derby Festival. Check into one of the Best Western hotels for a relaxing and comfortable stay while in beautiful Louisville, situated along the Ohio River.

International Museum of the Horse

The Bluegrass Region of Kentucky is home to Lexington, the "Horse Capital of the World." Enjoy exploring this city of horses and the many horse-related attractions. Favorites include the Keeneland Race Course, the American Saddlebred Museum, the Kentucky Horse Park and the International Museum of the Horse. Since opening in 1978, this fine museum, located at the Kentucky Horse Park, has grown from 22,000 square feet of space to 45,000 square feet of space.

Drive in from nearby Georgetown and take your time strolling through the world's most comprehensive collection of exhibits, showcasing horses and their connection to people. Featured exhibits include, Racing in Kentucky, Legacy of the Horse, Draft Horse in America and the Arabian Horse Galleries. Schedule plenty of time to explore the many facets of the Kentucky Horse Park, during your time in eastern Kentucky.