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The 6 Best Horse Farm Tours in Lexington, Kentucky
TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre
Lexington, Kentucky, is known for two things: whiskey and horses. Often referred to as the Horse Capital of the World, the city is home to more than 400 horse farms and the famous Keeneland Race Course (featured in several movies). It has bred more Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown winners than anywhere else in the world. Race fans and equestrians alike flock to Lexington to see how these horses live and train. With so many venues to interact with these horses, it can be hard to decide where to start. Here is your go-to roundup of Lexington, Kentucky's best horse farm tours.
Courtesy of Jonabell Farm
Jonabell Farm, home to HH Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation, is one of the most successful breeding sites globally, producing more than 200 stakes-winning racehorses. This tour takes guests through the history and current-day practices of Jonabell, as well as an up-close viewing of their current stallions. A shuttle tour is also available, featuring a scenic drive over Jonabells’ 800 acres of paddocks to see the mares and foals on the farm.
Three Chimneys Farm
Three Chimneys is one of the most respected stud farms in the business. This tour takes guests through the palatial stables and allows for some facetime with their current horses. The tour continues on to walk visitors through the breeding process and all safety measures that Three Chimneys takes to ensure the health and safety of these prestigious horses. It concludes with a walk around the green paddocks where the horses enjoy acres of land. This scenic farm is an excellent stop for newbies or lifelong fans of the sport.
Courtesy of Claiborne Farm
This 109-year-old farm is often cited as the "Horse Capital of the World." Claiborne Farm boasts 3,000 acres for its prized stallions to run and has been home to 300 sires of champions, 10 Kentucky Derby, and six Triple Crown winners. This tour lets guests view the breeding shed and current horses that call Claiborne home and ends with viewing the famous Secretariat's gravesite. This is a can't-miss for any horse racing fan—in fact, the Queen of England has visited twice!
Courtesy of Denali Stud Farm
Denali Stud is a world-renowned horse farm that has trained a litany of winning horses and has sold more than $475 million worth of horses since 1990. A Denali tour will take guests through their impressive history and current breeding and training practices. In the spring, guests can get up close and personal with the mares and foals, and on lucky days guests have been able to watch foals be born!
Courtesy of New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program
Get a unique view of what happens after the racing stops. New Vocations is the oldest and largest racehorse adoption program in the United States. Focusing on rehabilitation, retraining, and rehoming, this organization saves retired racehorses from an otherwise uncertain future and promotes their use as riding horses, sport horses, or simply great companions. Working with more than 500 horses a year, New Vocations has managed to rehome more than 7,500 horses since its inception in 1992.
While not a farm tour, Keeneland is an absolute must for any equestrian fan visiting Lexington. The famous racetrack is also the largest thoroughbred sale site globally and offers several different tours that take guests behind the scenes of both the racing and sales sides. The horses' morning workouts are free and open to the public, and guests interested in betting during a race can talk to the newly instituted “bet-ologists” who walk newcomers through the wagering process.
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Paris Bourbon County Kentucky
Bourbon County is proud to be known as the Thoroughbred Capital of the World ! Host to some of the most beautiful horse farms in the world, Bourbon County is known for its thriving equine industry. Champions are bred, born, raised, trained, and raced from these iconic farms.
Secretariat, considered by many to be the world’s most famous racehorse, spent the last years of his historic life right here in Bourbon County and is laid to rest at his final home on Claiborne Farm. Secretariat Park (in downtown Paris) is a tribute to this most famous thoroughbred and will open on November 11, 2023, exactly 50 years to the date that he came to live on the farm in Bourbon County.
Check out some of these beautiful farms for a private tour or contact Horse Country Inc .
Since 1910, more than 20 racing greats have been bred/raised at Claiborne farm along with a remarkable who’s-who list of prominent stallions, past and present. Tours are offered seven days a week including an all-farm shuttle tour, Foxes of Belair exclusive experience, private stallion tour and the one-hour “Visit Claiborne Farm” experience, with tours of the stallion barns and cemetery where iconic race horses like Secretariat have been laid to rest.
Adena Springs Farm
Adena Springs Farm’s breeding complex is renowned for producing three Breeders’ Cup Classic winners, including the fastest ever winner of that race in 2004, the much-lauded racing whirlwind and National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame inductee, Ghostzapper.
Said to be the oldest continuously operated horse breeding farm in the Commonwealth, this beautiful 365-acre farm was founded by Col. Ezekiel Clay in 1867 and remains in the family today. Another family tradition here is producing winning thoroughbreds, including Kentucky Winner Ben Brush in 1896, and many other notables that followed in his horseshoe-prints!
One of the newer operations to hit the horse racing scene, Siena Farm was founded in 2008 as a 262-acre boutique breeding farm with a recipe for success blending tradition with modern technology to produce quality racehorses.
Nestled amidst historic barns, a home and rolling fields of alfalfa, soybeans and corn are the hearts and souls of this farm – its horses, expertly cared for in the Saddlebred and Thoroughbred breeding programs here. Owned since 2000 by a fourth-generation horsewoman Misdee Wrigley Miller, the farm has a commitment to green agricultural practices and even has a polo division.
Hill ‘n’ Dale at Xalapa
Driven by the passion to restore and revive the grandeur of arguably one of the most stunningly beautiful horse properties in the World, Hill ‘n’ Dale, with your help, will usher in an era whose impact on the industry and the breed will be enduring. If you believe, like we do, that everything matters, then you’ve come to the right place. Here, the obscure becomes the obvious. Welcome to Hill ‘n’ Dale at Xalapa.
- Catholic Boy
- Demarchelier (GB)
- First Samurai
- Silver State
- War of Will
Saturday Maiden Double For CATHOLIC BOY
Pray for champagne a churchill winner for catholic boy, claiborne-sired offerings in high demand at keeneland november, claiborne farm newsletter.
- Submit a Mare
703 Winchester Road / Paris, KY 40361 Phone: (859) 987-2330 Fax: (859) 987-0008
© 2023 Claiborne Farm
Mare Information Form
Photos on the website supplied by Bobby Shiflet, Jamie Newell, Waddell Hancock, Allison Bishop, etc.
- Tour Details
Why should you choose a Private Tour?
Private tours give you the option of seeing the things that YOU want to see, in the privacy of just YOUR group, in YOUR vehicle. Yes, you'll pay a bit more than you would for a public tour, but private guides will take you to places no mere public tour has time to do. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime visit. Why not do it right? Yes, the Lexington area is known for its horse farms, but there's so much more to see and experience here - everything from historic distilleries to an ultra-modern automobile assembly plant. Some things are best done with a guide, others can be done on your own. I can help you make the best of your time and budget. I have over 30 years of tour experience - both with large groups and with individuals. I'm proud to show guests the area that I've come to know and love. I'm registered as a private guide with the Lexington Convention & Visitors Bureau and with the Kentucky Department of Tourism. If you haven’t done so already, I’d suggest that you use the Lexington Convention & Visitors Bureau’s website www.visitlex.com and/or our state's tourism site www.kentuckytourism.com as starting points. They'll give you ideas about places to visit. You might also check TripAdvisor www.tripadvisor.com for user-reviews of everything from hotels & restaurants, to tour guides. Once you’ve got some thoughts, I can give you an idea about what will fill up as little as 4 hours (my minimum) or as long as a full day or two.
Tour fees are based on the length of your tour - not the number of folks in your group - a couple, vanload, or busload - same price. Your only added expense would be a per-person, per-farm fee charged by a central booking agency - the farm equivalent of Ticketmaster. Most farm visit tickets will cost $25 per person, so I'll recommend ONE of our best. If you want to do more, that can happen, for a price. I've found that most visitors are delighted with a visit to just one farm. Want to add a second farm? No problem! Tours are conducted in YOUR vehicle, not in a van as part of a public tour group. We may join others at a horse farm stop, otherwise it's just you and your guide. Your guide will be happy to do the driving and let you soak up the scenery, but that's entirely up to you. Your tour is reserved when we've received a check for 50% of the total fee, or a credit card for the full amount. That deposit is due 10 days after you've scheduled your tour, regardless of when the tour will actually happen. Should you need to cancel, that amount is refundable up to 30 days before your scheduled tour. After 30 days out, it's still refundable, but only if the date you cancel can be re-booked with another client. Farm visit tickets are refundable with sufficient notice. The balance is due by cash or check on the day of your tour. I'm able to accept most major credit cards, with a small processing fee.
Interested? Let's get planning!
We'll be happy to work with you on planning your total visit, so ask all the questions you'd like!
Visit Kentucky's Most Famous Horse Farms...
Old Friends, Inc.
Old Friends is a 501(c)3 non-profit horse retirement farm in Georgetown, KY that provides a dignified retirement to thoroughbreds whose racing and breeding careers have come to an end. By promoting these one-time celebrated horses through a campaign of education and tourism, we hope to draw attention to all retired thoroughbreds in need. Our concept is simple: Such notable horses can attract tourists and fans to a public facility where visitors can meet the ex champs, hear about their past careers, learn about the racing industry, and in turn be educated about these great athletes. Old Friends is open to the public and conducts tours daily by appointment. Our guests come to visit a few ex-racehorses, they leave having been touched by the heart of a Thoroughbred hero.
Three Chimneys Farm
Three Chimneys Farm began with a dream, a plan and 100 acres of undeveloped land in 1972. Today it incorporates approximately 1,500 acres in six divisions, four of which are devoted to mares and foals, one to yearlings and one is home to 12 world class stallions. It operates as a boutique with a very select clientele. Three Chimneys once was home to Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew and presently has two Kentucky Derby winners standing at stud: Smarty Jones and Big Brown.
"A farm is comprised of three things - Good soil, good horses and good people, and WinStar is fortunate to have all three." – Bill Casner
WinStar Farm is comprised of approximately 1400 acres. Settled in the 1700's by the Williams of Tidewater Virginia, the original Silver Pond property remained in the family for over 150 years. Today the original farmhouse, smokehouse, pond, bank barn and Osage orange allee on Pisgah Pike are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Claiborne Farm is located just outside Paris, Kentucky, USA, and is one of the most famous Thoroughbred horse farms in the United States. The farm was founded by Arthur B Hancock, who came to Kentucky in early 1900's. Claiborne has been continuously run by his family, now in the third generation.
Cobra Farm is a 340 acre thoroughbred breeding facility with approximately 70 horses. The farm is owned by Gary and Betty Biszantz. Mr. Biszantz has raced horses for over 50 years, winning with his first horse, Affirmed Miss. The Biszantz’s have also been successful racing internationally in France, England, and Argentina. The farm’s rich history started in 1974 as the birthplace of Seattle Slew, the Triple Crown Winner in 1977. The farm is open on a limited basis to our Thoroughbred fans, while respecting the need of the daily operation and the privacy of the Biszantz family. Tours available through Blue Grass Tours.
In the early 1900’s, Colonel E. R. Bradley developed a top-rate equine facility and assembled breeding stock from the finest Thoroughbreds in the world. John W. Galbreath purchased the farm around 1960 and renamed it Darby Dan. Today, Galbreath's grandson, John Phillips, along with T. Wayne Sweezey, remain committed to the farm's heritage. The transition from private to commercial facility has seen the rebirth of a thriving stallion operation in the 21st century, with stallions representing some of the most regal bloodlines, including sons of A.P. Indy, Unbridled, Sadler’s Wells and Mr. Prospector.
Walmac Farm has been operating in central Kentucky for 40 years, and has satellite operations in Florida and Pennsylvania. They’re best known as a global source for thoroughbred stallions. Its history includes famous champion stallions such as Alleged, Miswaki and Nureyev, while their present includes stallions such as Successful Appeal and Songandaprayer. Walmac is regarded as having some of the most prosperous young thoroughbred stallions in the Kentucky Bluegrass region.
Donamire Farm is tucked into the corner made by Yarnallton Pike as it intersects Old Frankfort Pike. Designated as a Scenic Byway, Old Frankfort Pike is one of a number of horse-farm-lined highways that wind out of Lexington. Donamire is widely recognized for its picturesque stone barns with steeply pitched slate roofs, cupolas and spires set among fifteen miles of curving white fences that follow the contours of the rolling hills. The 650 acre thoroughbred horse farm is owned by Don and Mira Ball and is home to some sixty horses. The white plank fencing defines broad paddocks, a cupola-crowned stallion barn, yearling barn and broodmare barn. A long hilltop training barn overlooks a mile turf training track and a 5/8 mile dirt track with infield lakes often rife with Canadian geese. Photo by: John Hockensmith
Lane's End, owned by Mr. and Mrs. William S. Farish, includes more than 3,000 acres in Central Kentucky. The leading stud farm in North America ten times, Lane's End is home to such top sires as A.P. Indy and Smart Strike, as well as two-time Horse of the Year, Curlin, the richest money-earning Thoroughbred of all time. Lane's End has built a sterling reputation for its stallion and sales divisions and also offers a number of other services as well. In 1999, Will Farish became the first breeder since 1880 to breed or co-breed two horses which together won all three Triple Crown races.
Paris pike, lexington, ky.
Millennium Farms has a staff of hands-on horsemen with uncompromising experience. We use top-notch veterinarians and have an unparalleled nutrition program. We offer services ranging from boarding, foaling, lay-ups and mating advice to sales preparation and representation. We stand such exciting young sires as Student Council and Zanjero along with proven sire Even the Score. The land at Millennium Farms has a long history of excellence, once home to famed sire Pleasant Colony. Our racing stable has enjoyed great success in recent years, campaigning such graded winners as Student Council, Even the Score and Rolling Sea. Photo by: Matt Goins
Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl
Horses, History & Hospitality in Paris, KY
Want to go to Paris? The question is which one! I have been to Paris France, Paris, Tennessee , Paris, Illinois, and now Paris, Kentucky! The town is known for horses, history and hospitality. The actual motto for this town located in the heart of Bourbon County is “Thoroughbred Capital of the World”. Almost everything, everywhere in Paris, KY is connected to horses!
We traveled to Paris to attend the 52nd Annual Central Kentucky Antique Machinery Association tractor show . This is the longest running tractor show, and according to the planners at the show, the largest also in the state of Kentucky. We enjoyed our visit to this fun show featuring John Deere this year. We happened to be there on the HOTTEST day of the year! But some of the attendees found wonderful ways to stay cool. For example, there was a gentleman that hooked up a huge fan to a Farmall tractor!
We loved visiting with the wonderful people and seeing new tractors and a new tractor show! At the show I loved the engine built in 1910 that worked at the former Spears warehouse.
On the Paris, KY Tourism website they share, “Tucked away in the heart of Kentucky’s famed Bluegrass Region, Paris is the county seat of Bourbon County. Settled in 1776 and named after France’s capital, Paris is home to an abundance of historical sites.”
I am a history lover. To learn more, I sent a message to the tourism bureau. I asked what I shouldn’t miss. They were wonderful, and responded with a list of ideas. One of those ideas was a visit to their version of the Eiffel Tower. The tower is located right on the historic main street!
The Kentucky version was completed in July of 2021. This tower stands 20′ tall. It also lights up at night. This Eiffel Tower is a tourist draw that worked wonderfully for us!
More downtown gems in Paris, Kentucky
The Eiffel Tower stands next to what Ripley’s Believe It or Not claims “Is the tallest three-story building in the world!”
A bit further down the street is the in-construction Secretariat Park . Plans for the park include a life-size bronze sculpture of Secretariat running in the field at legendary Claiborne Farm. Already completed is a three-story mural of him winning the 1973 Kentucky Derby. A quote on their website from the Washington Post shares, “Fifty years after his Triple Crown, Secretariat remains an immortal wonder.” The park will open on Nov. 11, 2023, which happens to be 50 years to the date the Triple Crown champion arrived at Claiborne for his breeding career.
While downtown we saw the outside of the cool Duncan Tavern. This is the oldest standing tavern in Kentucky, built in 1788! I hope to tour it one day soon!
We had lunch at Lil’s Coffee House which has their original 1950’s lunch counter. I tried for the first time some amazing tomato pie and had a bite of Keith’s scrumptious Coconut Cream pie! The diner is located in the old J.J. Newberry’s (dime store) building that is also home to Ardery’s Antiques. Before we headed out of town, we had an equally delectable breakfast here!
We stayed locally at the Best Western which was nice. I would have loved to try out Paula Doyle’s Farmhouse Peaceful bed and breakfast, perhaps next time! For dinner, we went to the wonderful Trackside Restaurant & Bourbon Bar. Located in the Paris Train Depot built in 1882, the food and service both were wonderful.
Bourbon Story in Paris, Kentucky
At the tourism office where we stopped in, they told us that Bourbon County where Paris is located is where Bourbon began. Online at Explore Kentucky History , I read a bit about the history of this special whiskey. They share the wording on a marker found in Paris. “BOURBON WHISKEY/JACOB SPEARS, named after Bourbon Co. because of quantity and quality of whiskey produced within its borders. Made from a fermented mash of at least 51% corn, with less wheat, rye, or barley, yeast and limestone water. Distilled at no more than 160 proof and aged in charred oak barrels. In 1964, Congress recognized bourbon as a distinctly American product.”
Jacob Spears was a farmer and according to information from the Hopewell Museum (which I hope to tour someday),” a dealer in blue grass seed and breeder of fine horses.”
From Pennsylvania, Spears was listed as one of the first distillers of bourbon whisky. Downtown bourbon aficionados will enjoy the Hatfield & Co Distillery.
Claiborne Farms in Paris, Kentucky
Noting at each establishment, horse races are on the TV screen, and everyone has a horse picture or , statues. There are even horseshoes depicting horse history located embedded in the sidewalk downtown. With this background, we were excited to tour a real live horse farm.
We were especially delighted to tour Claiborne Farms , because this is the farm where Secretariat retired for his breeding career, and where this legendary horse is buried.
Our guide, William “Billy” Buckler provided a great tour of this 3,000-acre farm. The farm has raised 63 champions and 17 horses of the year. “This 113-year-old farm has been run by the Hancock family since 1910,” Billy said.
One of the famous horses we had the chance to meet up close and personal is War Front. We learned that he has a current breeding fee of $100,000, and it was once as high as $200,000.
As Billy said, the story of the farm begins in Virginia with Civil War Veteran Capt. Richard Hancock who raised Thoroughbreds. The next generation of Hancock’s, the Capt.’s son, Arthur Hancock started a farm on his wife’s property in Kentucky and named it Claiborne. Today, the farm is still in the family and run by Seth Walker Hancock Jr. Several famous horses have come from this beautiful place, and it is an honor to be able to visit.
We toured the barns, saw the former tobacco barn where stallions breed during the breeding season. Billy said breeding season runs from July – February. We were able to see a few stallions up close before wrapping up the tour at the cemetery where Secretariat’s grave is among several, many famous horses.
Last minute stops before heading home.
We love covered bridges , and we had heard that the Colville Covered Bridge is lovely, so we decided to check it out. This bridge is one of only 11 covered bridges left in the state of Kentucky. The Colville bridge was built in 1877 in Bourbon County near Paris, Kentucky. The bridge spans Hinkston Creek. It is of Burr trust construction. The single span is 124 feet long, and 18 feet wide. It was extensively renovated after it was damaged by floods in 1997. The bridge is amazing because you can drive through it, which in covered bridges is a rarity!
On our way back to Paris, Kentucky we spied I loved this beautiful Ruddle’s Mill Methodist Church.
Best of all is the little blessing box located near the church. Have you seen one before?
The small town of Ruddels Mill was interesting because there is a historic sign sharing that Issac Ruddle built a gristmill here way back in 1788!
Paris, Kentucky was a beautiful town and surrounding area. With a new tractor show, horse information, historic sites, and wonderful hospitality, I recommend a stop in your future!
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Traveling the backroads come with me on my journeys. I love to share the wonderful people, places and things I see in the small towns, festivals, museums and out of the way places.
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Historic Runnymede Farm is recognized as the oldest continuously owned Thoroughbred farm in Kentucky. The property in Bourbon County, owned by the Clay family, is dotted with historic buildings from the 18th and 19th century, and holds tales of Civil War intrigue. Runnymede Farm has been home to many champions over their storied history, including Breeders’ Cup winner Lady Eli, Kentucky Derby winner Ben Brush, Belmont Stakes winner Hanover and more.
To learn more about Runnymede Farm, visit their website or check out their Facebook , Instagram and Twitter .
Denali Stud is one of Kentucky’s leading thoroughbred nurseries, thanks to the dedication of the family who own and operate the farm. We offer tours through Horse Country. During each tour a brief history of the farm will be given, explaining how a boy from suburban New Jersey fell in love with horses, choosing the racetrack over college, and eventually bringing him to Kentucky. The tour will move to the foaling barn area to visit mares and their foals (in the spring and summer, and just weanlings in the fall). Visitors will learn about the care and management of broodmares and their babies and have the opportunity to pose for pictures and feed the mares peppermints. Visitors will also learn about Denali’s leading sales consignment and our yearling sales prep program, as well as the Thoroughbred industry as a whole.
The Cabin at Denali Stud
Treat yourself to an authentic Bluegrass experience by staying at the cabin on the world-famous Denali Stud Thoroughbred nursery. Located in Paris, KY, you are only about a 15-minute drive from the Kentucky Horse Park and about 25-30 minutes from downtown Lexington and Keeneland.
1-859-213-6653 | [email protected]
Unique Horse Farm Tours
Kentucky's Favorite Bus Tours
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- Horse Farm Tour
Clay Pigeon Tour
- Bourbon Tour
Horse Farm Tours in Lexington, KY
Bringing you 30 years of unique horse farm tour experience. Exclusive insider access to the most prestigious farms. Explore the barns, feed the horses, and touch the yearlings and mares! See thoroughbred horses with championship lineage.
Come See Why We Are Top Rated
You'll never know what you're going to see or experience on your Unique Horse Farm Tour. Every tour brings it's own excitement and entertainment. We love interacting with our guests! Watch this video of one of our lovely guests singing "My Old Kentucky Home" to horses on our tour.
Ready for a fun filled day of trapshooting clay pigeons and touring bourbon distilleries? Your visit to the Blue Grass Sportsmen's League is sure to make an exciting start to a one of a kind day.
We take your safety seriously!
When you travel with us, we want to make sure you enjoy your trip to the fullest. Our buses are sanitized between each tour and we offer masks and hand sanitizer, so you can relax and delight in all our tour has to offer. Also, feel free to call and inquire if you'd like your own private tour.
Horse Farm Tours
in Lexington, KY
Are you visiting Lexington, KY, and searching for something more than you run-of-the-mill tourist options? Join Unique Horse Farm Tours and explore the singular industries for which Kentucky is famous and gives you a chance to see history in action.
Many of the horse farms in this area have been operated by the same families for generations, relying on the same methods the grandparents developed to maintain their success into the 21st century. Our unique tours in Lexington, KY, give area visitors a peek at the time-honored traditions that have contributed to the area's wealth and identity for over a century.
Book a tour for your group today.
Unique Horse Farm Tours offers an excellent and intriguing excursion for couples, families, and other groups. Whether you've come to Lexington for a weekend getaway or a business conference, we invite you to take in the sights this region has to offer.
Many of the farms we visit are typically closed to the public. We've developed relationships with these locations and can provide you with a peek at the inner workings of some of the most famous names in the horse breeding industry. If you're set on exploring the area, why not get the insider experience with Unique Horse Farm Tours?
There are few feelings more satisfying than a drink of mellow Kentucky bourbon. The state is known for creating the best bourbon in the world, and you can have the chance to sample that history firsthand. You’ll visit three area distilleries and learn all about the history of Kentucky bourbon and, of course, taste some of the finest liquor they have to offer.
We start at the Buffalo Trace Distillery where you learn about history, see the bourbon aging and finally see how the liquid is packaged. The Woodford Reserve has more than 200 flavors and can train you to tell the difference between the flavors. The final stop is the birthplace of Wild Turkey. Experience the full flavor of all-natural non-GMO bourbon filtered from limestone and made with water from the Kentucky River.