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Lexington’s horses

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Along Paris and Ironworks pikes, northeast of Lexington in an idyllic Kentucky landscape, sleek thoroughbred horses cavort in bluegrass meadows, often penned in by immaculate white-plank fences. To the west, you can watch the horses’ early-morning workouts at Keeneland racetrack (April–Oct daily dawn–10am; $5; t 859/254-3412, w http://www.keeneland.com). Dark-green grandstands emphasize the crisp white rails around the one-mile oval track, where meetings are held for three weeks in April (Wed–Sun 7.30pm) and three weeks in Oct (Wed–Sun 1pm). General admission is $5 and seats cost $8–20. There is a great canteen too.

The easiest way to see a farm is to take a guided bus tour out of Lexington; Blue Grass Tours (daily 9am & 1.30pm; $30; t 859/252-5744, w http://www.bluegrasstours.com) offer a three-hour, fifty-mile itinerary that includes a stop at Old Friends Farm (w http://www.oldfriendsequine.org), plus a visit to Keeneland. One of the few farms conducting its own tours is Three Chimneys ($10; book on t 859/873-7053 w http://www.threechimneys.com) on Old Frankfort Pike, about fifteen minutes west of downtown. The Thoroughbred Center, 3380 Paris Pike (9am: April–Oct Mon–Sat; Nov–March Mon–Fri; $10; t 859/293-1853, w http://www.thethoroughbredcenter.com), allows you to watch trainers at work. The enjoyable 1032-acre Kentucky Horse Park, a little further along at 4089 Ironworks Parkway (mid-March to Oct daily 9am–5pm; Nov to mid-March Wed–Sun 9am–5pm; $9–16; w http://www.kyhorsepark.com), features over thirty different equine breeds, a working farm and guided horseback rides ($22); its fascinating International Museum of the Horse traces the use of horses throughout history. In nearby Georgetown, at Whispering Woods, experienced equestrians can canter unsupervised, while novices ride with a guide ($25 for 1hr, up to $90/day; w http://www.whisperingwoodstrails.com).

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