Equestrian experiences in Kentucky

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Kentucky Derby we suggest the perfect equine-themed Kentucky itinerary

Kentucky will host a series of celebrations and experiences ahead of the 150th Kentucky Derby in May. The event, which is the USA’s longest continually run sporting occasion, is expected to bring in record numbers to Churchill Downs Racecourse near Louisville. Here’s how visitors can make the most of a trip to the ‘Horse Capital of the World’.

Stay in a horse hotel

From hotels born out of bets to country farm stays, there’s plenty of horse-themed accommodation to kick start the Derby fun. Hotel Covington in Northern Kentucky was transformed into a hotel following a bet on a longshot – a horse named Knowledge. Alternatively there’s a number of working horse farms to stay at including Clarion Hotel Lexington and Nicura Ranch, where guests can interact with the horses.

Kentucky farm
Hermitage farm
Kentucky julip
Mint Julep on race day

It all starts at a maternity farm

Visitors can see where the journey of a thoroughbred begins at the Hermitage Farm in Oldham County near Louisville. A tour of the farm teaches guests about the early life of a racehorse and the inner workings of an operational thoroughbred nursery. See dams grazing with their foals, some of which may some day go on to become Derby winners.

It is one of the few farms to raise a Triple Crown winner (the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness).

Watch a Derby race

A day at the Derby is a unique Kentucky experience. Be part of 180,000 cheering spectators as the top thoroughbreds compete for the winning title. It’s not all about the horses though. Start the day with a Derby brunch complete with a bourbon-based mint julep, considered the ‘official drink of the Kentucky Derby’, before donning an extravagant hat and heading to the famous Churchill Downs stadium. Experience the electric atmosphere of a day at the races and return for a guided Backside tour and a visit to the Kentucky Derby Museum.

Kentucky horse
Horse farm in Lexington

Visit a retirement home

Following a successful racing career, many thoroughbreds will live out their later years in a retirement farm such as Chestnut Hill near Louisville or Old Friends near Lexington. Visitors can tour the pastures and relive the glory days of these former champions. visithorsecountry.com is a one-stop-shop for equine experiences in Kentucky