Daniel’s Design: Horse Capital of the World
Daniel Knight, Mercy’s last hero, lives in Boulder but is currently working in Lexington, Kentucky as an architectural designer.
In 1775, William McConnell and a group of frontier explorers were camped at a natural spring when word came that the first battle of the American Revolution had been fought in Lexington, Massachusetts. In honor of the battle, the group named their site “Lexington.”
Known as the “Horse Capital of the World”, it is located in the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass region. Lexington has produced more legendary horses that any other region in the world. So legendary, they can sell for millions of dollars. The city has been known as a major center for Thoroughbred breeding since the late 18th century due to the high calcium content in the soils, which leads to stronger bones and greater durability in horses.
The 1200-acre Kentucky Horse Park attracts almost a million visitors a year, and is a working horse farm and an educational theme park opened in 1978. It is dedicated to “man’s relationship with the horse.” The International Museum of the Horse there is a Smithsonian Affiliate. The park is home to many horse champions after their retirement until their death, and also hosts a number of events, both competitive and educational, each year. You can see more breeds there than anywhere else in the world.
Approximately 1,000 horses live at The Thoroughbred Center, where future racing champions come train. Thoroughbred Park, in downtown Lexington boasts many bronze horse sculptures, including an entire race frozen just before the finish line.
It is believed more streets and highways here are named after horses and race tracks than any place in the world. Just a few:
- Citation Boulevard was named after a bay colt bred at the Calumet Farm, who won the 1948 Triple Crown and raced for seven years earning over $1 million.
- Pink Pigeon Parkway was titled after a seven-time stakes-winning filly.
- Sir Barton Way was named after the first Triple Crown winner in 1919.
- Star Shoot Parkway was titled after a sire of Sir Barton and 181 other stakes winners.
- Bold Bidder Drive was named after the sire of 1979 Kentucky Derby winner Spectacular Bid.
- Aristides Boulevard was named after the first Kentucky Derby winner in 1875.
- The main urban arterial circling Lexington to its south, Man o’ War Boulevard, is named after one of the greatest thoroughbred racehorses.
- Pimlico Parkway is named after the famous track in Baltimore and Beulah Park is named after Ohio’s home for thoroughbred racing.
The city is host to a Jif peanut butter plant that produces more peanut butter than any other factory in the world. And if the peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth, have no fear: A&W Restaurants, a restaurant chain known for root beer and root beer floats, is headquartered here as well.
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