Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Lexington, Kentucky, USAHorse Capital of the World

  • Published Wednesday, May 23, 2012
  • Updated on Friday, September 21, 2012

The Horse Capital of the World! Located in the heart of Central Kentucky’s scenic Bluegrass region, Lexington is known around the world for its beautiful landscape and for producing world-class race horses. The limestone rock just under the surface of its famed rolling hills might just be the secret ingredient for both!

Lexington’s Thoroughbred History

If you love horses, you already know Lexington as the center of the Thoroughbred horse industry. Lexington’s love affair with horses has a long and colorful history.  The horse farm industry continues to make the Bluegrass region a place of beauty and intrigue.

The rich pastures of Central Kentucky are where the top racehorses are bred, born, trained, officially registered, bought and sold, retired to stud and buried. Take a drive in the country past some of the region’s horse farms and you might catch a glimpse of a future Derby winner.  The world's horse racing elite own farms across Lexington & Central Kentucky. Lexington is also home to picturesque Keeneland Race Course, a National Historic Landmark. Keeneland hosts two race meets annually in April and October in addition to several Thoroughbred auctions that draw international buyers and price tags that often exceed the million-dollar mark.

In the fall of 2010, the Kentucky Horse Park held the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, the largest sporting event ever held in Kentucky and the first World Equestrian Games to take place outside of Europe. 

When one region produces so many world-class race horses -- there must be something in the water!  The limestone shelf that underlies the lush pastures of the Bluegrass Region serves as a natural filter, providing the pure water necessary for premium bourbons and a rich source of minerals for the growing bones of Thoroughbred yearlings.

Who we are

Lexington was founded in June 1775 in what was then Virginia, 17 years before Kentucky became a state in 1792.  The town of Lexington was established on May 6, 1782 by an act of the Virginia General Assembly. By 1820, it was one of the largest and wealthiest towns west of the Allegheny Mountains, with such a cultured lifestyle that it was nicknamed the “Athens of the West.” Many of 19th –century America’s most important people spent part of their lives in Lexington including Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, General John Hunt Morgan and Senator Henry Clay.

Recent economic rankings have put Lexington among the top cities for young singles, one of the top most educated workforces, top U.S. hotspots for young and talented workers and even a top city for recent college graduates and young professionals.  Not only is Lexington home to one of the nation's top liberal arts schools (and the oldest university west of the Alleghenies) in Transylvania University, but with a stated goal of being one of the nation's top-20 public research institutions by 2020, Lexington also has the tremendous workforce and business opportunity asset of being the home of the University of Kentucky. Lexington continues to offer affordable housing options, which helps younger workers on the front end. The city’s expanding entertainment venues, festivals, arts and cultural events, concerts, bike and walking trails and college athletics all provide people with a multitude of activities after work and on the weekends.

Lexington also features a diverse cityscape. From its vibrant downtown that supports infill and historic preservation projects to its famed horse farms, Lexington prides itself on featuring an urban growth boundary that includes greenbelts and strict zoning definitions. This has been done to protect the Bluegrass landscape and the thoroughbred horse farms, the trademark industry of the region.

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