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Harry and Judy's RV Trip
15th Aug 2016 - Summer 2016
Day 82-Kentucky Horse Park, 2 Race tracks and a non-casino

Day 82-August 15, 2016-Kentucky Horse Park, Two Race Tracks and a non-casino

Sunny in the morning, up to 94.  Two blasts of rain.

First thing we did was go to the office and extend our stay another night and get tickets for the Kentucky Horse Park, which is right next door.  The tickets are for two days and it would take more than that to see everything, let alone if there was an event going on.  It’s spread over 1200 acres with lots of grazing areas for the horses.  The Man O’ War memorial greets you at the entrance and there are other sculptures throughout the park.  We started in the Draft barn, where there was a demo going on about how to “dress” a horse.  We then walked to the stables and paddocks where we met two friendly dogs, Chauncey and Delilah.  A man came up to us and introduced the dogs and told us about the park and what to see.  He told us at the Rolex Arena they’re making sand sculptures for an obstacle course this week-end and it would be nice to see but quite far.  The day’s young and our feet are OK at this point so we start to walk there, but in a few minutes the man pulls up in a golf cart to give us a ride.  He took us out where the horses were being exercised and the Jumping Complex where they were practicing for jumping and hunting.  Drove us by the Steeplechase Course and explained all the obstacles stacked up ready to be put on the course.  A lot of activity throughout the park.  When we got to the Rolex Arena there were a few men building the sand sculptures in the middle of the arena.  Turns out the man was Danny Moore, the designer of the obstacle course.  He travels the country designing different courses for horse jumping but the funniest thing is he lives is Weeki Wachee, FL, about 20 minutes from us.  It’s a small world.  He brought us back to where we started and we continued to watch them hose down the horses and clean out the stables.  We then went to one of the buildings, the Hall Of Champions, where there are eight horses who have more than earned their keep, most have won over 6 million dollars for their owners.  And one lazy cat, sleeping near the champion, Western Dreamer’s stall.  Maybe he was dreaming he was a champion.  Another building, the Breeds Barn, had about two dozen horses from around the world.  There was a show here with about 8 of them, parading around the ring.  The riders and horses usually wear costumes from the country they’re from but not when the heat index is above 95, which it was today.  But the show was informative, and the horses and riders seemed to enjoy performing.  The Kid’s Barn has a lot of hands on exhibits, the Farrier Building, with hundreds of horse shoes and the Tack Room, where you can get saddles, blankets, etc. are all in the middle of the park.  The Kentucky Horse Park Mounted Police is headquartered here and we saw McKenzie and Sunny, the horses patrolling the campground last night (I don’t think they remembered us), along with about 8 other horses.  There’s a big building, The Showplace for Saddlebreds, which has all kinds of info about horses. But the building where you could easily spend a day was the International Museum of the Horse, with exhibits depicting the horse from 50,000 years ago to the present.  There are entire rooms for Arabian Horses, Horses in Sport, Man O’ War, the ASPCA, horses in movies, buffalo and draft horses, horses in wars,  carriages, and more.  Three rooms of over 500 trophies won by one farm, The Calumet Stables, five decades of horse breeding, rooms for Citation, a triple crown winner and Affirmed.  A circular ramp with life size displays, artifacts and exhibits, floor to ceiling, some parts even had the ceiling covered with displays.  There are two restaurants on the premises, several arenas, a pony barn, a horse cemetery, shows during the day along with special events at certain times of the year.  You can go horseback riding, go on a horse drawn carriage ride and learn how to clean a stall, if it has to do with horses you can do it here.  We could easily have spent more time here. But we moved on.  We went to Red Mile Race Track, a harness track that is one mile long and is made of red clay, hence the name.  It has earned the reputation of the fastest trotter track in the world because of all the world records that have been set here.  It’s also the oldest harness track.  They have three live races here a week and they take the horses out to exercise them every morning at 5:30 am.  We won’t be seeing that.  Only one trotter here today, going round and round.  In the building, along with restaurants and meeting rooms is a casino.  Except casinos are illegal in Kentucky so they call it “pari-mutuel betting”. The 900 machines they have are each based on an actual historical horse race and you can “bet” win, place or show, or have the machine pick for you.  Basically they’re slot machines in a casino but I didn’t say that.  Upstairs you can bet on live races, here and at other tracks. Since we’re in the historical section of town we drove by Mary Lincoln Todd’s childhood home, the first site restored in honor of a first lady, right smack dab in the middle of a busy main street.  More historical houses were on side streets, mostly B&Bs or restaurants now, but some looked like they were still homes.  Our last stop was to Keeneland Race Track where I was the only one there.  The gates were open so I walked in, thinking I shouldn’t be there but a security guard drove by me and waved.  This building is gorgeous, lots of wrought iron and white tables and chairs, nice architecture and the track out back is also pretty.  I thought I’d be disappointed that we didn’t get to see any races but just seeing the tracks was interesting.   This was one of the busiest days we’ve had in a while and we were sure done in by the time we got back to the campground.

Next: Day 83-August 16, 2016-Frankfort, KY-Bourbon, Cemetery, State Capitol and baseball
Previous: Day 81-August 14, 2016-To Lexington, Kentucky

Diary Photos





Sand sculpture for jumping

Sand sculp. for jumpers

Sand sculpture

Danny Moore, our driver

Obstacles for course


Hall of Champions

Barn cat near Western Dreamer's stall


Horse on ceiling

Floor and ceiling exhibits

Horse in sport banners

Arabian horse gallery entrance

Arabian Horse exhibit

Arabian exhibit

Some trophies

Gold trophies


Doctor's sleigh


Horse show

Horse show 1

Horse show 2

Horse show 3

Farrier shop

Us with big duck and chairs

Hi Ho Harry

Red Mile track

Red Mile trotter

Mary Todd Lincoln's childhood home (that's not her and Abe on the stoop)

Keeneland Race Track front

Keeneland Race Track back 2

Keeneland Race track back

Diary Movies

20 Connected Textile Banners

Building sand obstacles video

Horse show video

Horses of the world video

How to mount a horse, by Harry Uhlin

International Museum of the Horse video

Keeneland Race Track back

Keeneland Race Track front

Red Mile Race track

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