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Farm Tours

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  • Farm Tours

    My best riding buddy and I are headed to Lexington for Rolex, and we'd like to do a breeding farm tour this year. How lame is that? I can't tell you how excited I am. Does anybody have any advice? I'd like to book something before we head to KY.
  • Original Poster


    Hey-is this the wrong place for this question? Any help would be sooo very welcome. THANKS


    • #3
      There is nothing lame about breeding farm tours. The only problem is most of them do not do tours doing breeding season. Figure out which ones you are interested in and contact them directly and ask what their policy is for that time of the year.
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home


      • #4
        Three Chimneys Farm is awesome. They might do tours during the breeding season because I have heard people say they got to watch a stallion breed a mare when they visited the farm.


        • Original Poster

          Farm Tours

          Thanks for posting back. We are going a day early this year to be sure to have time. The time is so precious we just want to be sure to spend it wisely.


          • #6
            I have been to both Three Chimneys and Claiborne when in KY for Rolex. Shouldn't be a problem for you. Both allow you to take pictures if you wish (I have a pic of myself with Monarchos @ Claiborne - very cool!)

            Three Chimneys tends to book up quickly; I'd call them very soon to schedule a tour. Tours are free of charge at both farms but most people tip the "tour director" $10 or so

            From my experience, Three Chimneys is more business-like while Claiborne is more laid-back (My tour at Claiborne last year was almost two hours!).

            Have fun!


            • #7
              It is not lame at all... There are some awesome farms in the Lexington area...Three Chimneys is wonderful!


              • #8
                Ashford definately takes visitors during breeding season, they have an observation window for viewing breedings if the timing of your visit is right.

                Be sure to call them in advance.

                Edited to add..It's not lame at all, it's facinating!
                I recognized with despair that I was about to be compelled to buy a horse ~
                Edith Somerville and "Martin Ross"

                "Momma" to Tiempo, Tucker and Puff, RIP my beautiful Norman 8/2012


                • #9
                  There's also a guy who operates tours originating at the horsepark, he's fantastic. I can't remember his name, but it will come to me.

                  Anyone know his name? He's the really nice black guy with lots of great anecdotes to tell along the tour?
                  I recognized with despair that I was about to be compelled to buy a horse ~
                  Edith Somerville and "Martin Ross"

                  "Momma" to Tiempo, Tucker and Puff, RIP my beautiful Norman 8/2012


                  • #10
                    I happen to live and work right in the middle of the farms here in Versailles. Winstar surrounds me, Hopewell is across the road and Three chimneys backs up to me. PM me if you'ld like and I'ld be happy to take you on a tour when you're here. I work at most of the farms so we can go to any of them you like or I can pick the best ones if you like.
                    Touchstone Farm. Visit us at the slideshow of our Dutch mares and foals below! 30 mnutes of photos.


                    • Original Poster

                      I'm so glad you don't think it's silly-I've been in love with Thoroughbred race horses since I was a little girl-the first Derby winner I can remember is Carry Back. I love my Dutch WB, but the charge that a TB gives is like nothing else. I've always wanted to see the farms, and I've finally nagged enough to be able to go!! Thanks so much again for your input.


                      • #12
                        My husband and I did tons of touring in Kentucky last May and had a blast.

                        We contacted Nancy Hapgood of UnBridled Horse Tours to arrange several farm visits for us. Nancy took us to Adena Springs, where they brought out Ghostzapper and Giacomo for us, and we got to see a breeding with El Prado as well. We also drove through several farms, including Darby Dan, Donamire, and Hill 'n' Dale. We payed a visit to WinStar after breedings were done for the morning and were allowed to walk through the stallion barn -- Tiznow is awesome. We finished up with a visit to Audubon Farm, where we were allowed to play with several of the broodmares & foals (through the fence). Since our tour was so customized and private, we tipped Nancy (20%) -- it was well worth it!

                        We did the public tour with Three Chimneys -- they have so many people come to see Smarty Jones that they hired their own tour guide. 3C's is lovely, no doubt about it, but I will warn you...show up ON TIME for the tour and stay very close to the group. Maybe we came on a bad day, but our tour guide was very grouchy, making fun of some people who came late (you know, lady, not everybody knows their way around Lexington) and she nearly bit my husband's head off for trying to take pictures of Seattle Slew's memorial statue while our group was all of 30' away in the receiving barn. No tip for her. But the farm and horses are worth seeing regardless. Also, make a point of going to Wallace Station just down the road for lunch!

                        We made private arrangements with Margeaux Farm to see Cryptoclearance et al. 'Loved them -- slightly more of a working farm atmosphere but still beautiful, and the horses looked GREAT. We tipped the stallion manager $20 for bringing out Crypto for us to pet.

                        Other places we went to on our own were: Old Friends, the KY Horse Park, and Keeneland at the crack of dawn to watch morning works and have breakfast at the track kitchen.

                        Since we flew in & out of Louisville, we also went to Churchill Downs on our first and last days there. There's a public backside tour that runs from the Kentucky Derby Museum that was very touristy (think, lots of non-horse people) but still fun, and of course there's the museum itself to see.


                        • #13
                          Barnfairy -- What is Cryptoclearance like? He was running when I really started getting interested in racing and he's always been one of my favorites.

                          lesson junkie -- Wanting to go on a farm tour is NOT silly. I still have wonderful memories of my visits to Three Chimneys, Gainesway, and Stone Farm (where I got to see Sunday Silence and feed him peppermints shortly before he went to Japan). I want to go back to Kentucky to see some different farms and horses...especially Street Sense and Hard Spun at Darley.


                          • #14
                            Perhaps even better than going to the farms, is going to Keeneland early in the morning to watch the works. The last day of the spring meet is usually the first day of Rolex, so there are tons of good (and famous) racehorses in residence. The facility is beautiful, and you can go pretty much anywhere you want. Stand beside the rail or bring binoculars and go up into the grandstand for an even better view. You can also walk pretty freely through the barn area. When you're finished, head up to the track kitchen (actually nowhere near the track, it's just beyond Barn 30) for breakfast.


                            • #15
                              My husband and I have been on farm tours in the Lexington area the last two Aprils. We also already have one booked for this coming April and I cannot wait. We have done all of our tours through Kentucky Horse Tours, which is run by Mary Ann Squires.

                              The first year (2006), we went to Adena Springs, Lane's End and Three Chmineys. We are from Philly, so we HAD to see Smarty Jones. We were also able to see a breeding (by Medallist) at Three Chmineys. At Adena Springs, we saw Ghostzapper and Awesome Again, among others. The tour of Lane's End was unbelievable - we were given a tour by one of the stallion handlers named Asa. He was absolutely excellent - many of the horses were out when we were there, so he took us for a ride around the stallion division in a golf cart so we could see them in their paddocks. Their line up of stallions is incredible. We saw A.P. Indy, Smart Strike, Stephen Got Even, Langfuhr, Rock Hard Ten, Came Home, Lemon Drop Kid, Dixieland Band, Kingmambo and others too numerous to mention. It was an amazing experience!

                              So, we did it again last year (2007) with the same tour company and guide. We started with morning works at Keeneland where we saw Hard Spun and Funny Cide, among others. Then we visited Darby Dan, Lane's End (again! We had to go back, we loved it so much) and Stonewall. It was another absolutely fabulous tour, so we have booked again for 2008 (can you tell this is becoming a habit?). This year, we are scheduled to go to Darley and Mill Ridge. Cannot wait.

                              I would definitely recommend KY Horse Tours - their number is 859-312-1124. Tell Mary Ann that you are a horse person so that she knows. Have fun!!


                              • #16
                                I have been going to Rolex for the last 4 years and have seen many farms. Gainesway is gorgeous! some of these farms are special to me, my horse was conceived here. His grand daddy stood at Gainesway and the stallion manager was awesome. Claiborne is wonderful as is Three Chimmney but the best for me was Taylor Made. That is the place my horse was made! I stood in his daddy's stall and our tour was private just my friend and myself. We were there for about 3 hours! We saw Forestry, Round Pond and Fleet Indian too....
                                This year we are going to Ashford Stud. Lane's End was not available during breeding season...
                                We are going to Rolex again and let's hope for nice weather...See ya there
                                Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
                                Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
                                "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Tiempo View Post
                                  There's also a guy who operates tours originating at the horsepark, he's fantastic. I can't remember his name, but it will come to me.

                                  Anyone know his name? He's the really nice black guy with lots of great anecdotes to tell along the tour?
                                  I think it's Shawn Washington....he does a great tour. Just call the Horse Park and ask to book with him, they take care of the arrangements....


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by ravenclaw View Post
                                    Barnfairy -- What is Cryptoclearance like? He was running when I really started getting interested in racing and he's always been one of my favorites.
                                    Sorry ravenclaw; I just saw this. Crypto is one of my faves too (mmmm, Fappiano....) which is why I was thrilled to find out Margaux would let us visit.

                                    Cryptoclearance looks fantastic, he has held up very well over the years. He was the consummate professional about coming out and posing for us, not moving an inch even when I stroked his shoulder. I will say he did have a little bit of the devil in his eye!