You’re not going to Lexington. You’re going to Georgetown, a suburb just north of Lexington. And if you don’t love horses, you have no reason for being there.
Old Friends Retirement Thoroughbred Retirement Farm. I found out about it when I was talking to the hotel clerk. I read the brochure and picked up the book but couldn’t do the tour as they are only accepting a few private tours per day, down from 20,000 people per year, due to Covid. Just the idea of it. $25 per person, $15 for the regular tour when it is offered again. You get up and close and personal with past racing horses like War Emblem, Silver Charm and Game on Dude. Over 175 former race horses. Thoroughbreds. I just can’t wrap my head around that. Nothing like the horses they take you riding on on the thousands of horseback rides.
My timing was impeccable as usual: The Kentucky Horse Park is closed on Mondays. But I got to wander around which is what I wanted to do anyway. Empty parking lot and nobody there. “Dedicated to sharing Kentucky’s love of horses with rest of the world.”
I’m really starting to think that things being closed is not an awful thing. Everything becomes more intimate and I hate crowds anyway. I’ve always loved horses, always to be around them more, but the opportunity was just never there. My interest in horse racing began with watching the moving “Secretariat.” The Kentucky Horse Park can satisfy all your horse loving cravings. Man O War is buried there and his monument stands proud in the park. A bronze of Secretariat is there being led by his jockey from his unprecedented win is there as well. What would it be like with the crowds and shows and fanfare? I don’t know.
But what is a tour for horse lovers without a trip to Churchill Downs? About a mile NW of Georgetown, just south of Louisville, is the impressive stadium that houses the Kentucky Derby. It will be run this year: rescheduled and only 125 spectators. Can you imagine the cost of that ticket?
But then we have to discuss the fear and uncertainty. Kentucky just mandated the wearing the masks. Things are just starting to open up and people return to the new version of normalcy. And the people I spoke to are thinking everything is about to be shut down again with the spikes in cases in the US and around the world. They are happy to be working again. For a while at least.
Then the 2 1/2 hour drive to Nashville where I’ll be settling in for a few nights to unwind, get my car serviced, repack and check out what is called by locals Nash-Vegas.
PS. Just a fun one. I was following this truck for a while. The dog in the back that looked to me like a German Shepherd? They were snapping at all of the cars that passed by. I so wish I had gotten it on video–it was hilarious. Dude, why?