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Open House: A Glimpse of Horse Country

A nation collectively held its breath as American Pharoah took a two-length lead over Frosted and crossed the finish line with his smooth, distinctively long stride, to become the 12th Triple Crown winner-the first in 37 years. American Pharoah, like many of the world's finest racehorses, was born and bred in Lexington, Kentucky, the fabled "Horse Capital of the World."

The three races that constitute the Triple Crown take place in three states: Louisville is the site of the Kentucky Derby; the Preakness Stakes is located in Baltimore; and New York lays claim to the Belmont Stakes. Thoroughbred racing is a multibillion-dollar industry, and while horses convene on many racetracks around the nation, only Lexington can boast the coveted "Horse Capital" title.

Horses are Lexington's hometown heroes: the estimated economic impact of Kentucky's horse economy is $4 billion annually, with Lexington ranking first in number of acres dedicated to the equine indus- try. Suffice it to say, Lexington and its surrounding counties boast the most, and the most famous, Thoroughbred farms. More money changes hands over the sale of horses in Lexington than in any other place in the world. At the famed Keeneland Sales, it is commonplace for horses to fetch millions of dollars.

Keeneland, minutes from downtown Lexington, is the world's most prestigious Thoroughbred auction company. Keeneland Race Course hosts live races in both the spring and the fall, and was rated number one out of 65 Thoroughbred racetracks in 2009 by the Horseplayers Association of North America. And just 15 minutes from Keeneland is VinMar Farms, an entirely custom and naturally beautiful Thoroughbred operation. Extraordinarily well planned and executed, this property shares its Woodford County location with other world-class horse operations such as Airdrie Stud, Ashford Stud, Lane's End, Three Chimneys, and WinStar, to name a few.

The property, listed by Zachary A. Davis of Kirkpatrick and Co., includes a cottage and three magnificent barns with a combined 46 stalls. The primary barn includes an office and is in close proximity to the yearling barn, which includes a six-horse craft walker and round pen. Rounding out the three barns is the weanling barn, which can house up to 20 foals.

Though VinMar Farms boasts modern facilities, it is part of Lexington's long history in the Thoroughbred industry, which began during the Civil War. Fearing fallout from various skirmishes, breeders in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia relocated their horses to the west for safety. Today, horses thrive here, thanks to water beneath the bluegrass pastures, the rolling terrain, and the favorable weather conditions. The high mineral content in the soils of the Bluegrass Region leads to stronger bones and greater durability in Thorough- breds. The extensive drainage and irrigation systems throughout VinMar Farms are a testament to the importance of this resource. Each field has its own water shut-off valve to allow best utilization of the mineral-rich water.

Currently on the market for $5.1 million, VinMar offers the option of being divided into two separate properties, should a buyer choose to do so. The split offers 970 Carpenter Pike with one barn, 20 stalls, and almost 60 acres for $1.4 million. The remaining acreage (127, to be exact), at 1255 Carpenter Pike, features two barns, 26 stalls, a one-bedroom, one-bath cottage, a Kraft walker, and a round pen for $3.9 million.

While Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby, has the race, Lexington has the reason for the race. VinMar offers equine enthusiasts a chance to add to the rich Bluegrass history of the Lexington area-where the best racehorses are born, bred, trained, raced, and retired.

  • Topics:
  • Equestrian
  • Country Living

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