First of all-- thanks LOADS to those of you who helped me plan this little get away. Your advise was spot on!
Stayed at the Best Western (south side somewhere) just off 75. Good price and nice rooms.
We came into town last Wed night with the intent of heading to Keeneland Thursday morning.
Ate at the Track Kitchen (fun, good food and cheap!) Never been to a horse race before. We wandered and watched the morning practices, looked at horses, tried to figure out how to bet with the info we had and generally just tried to keep warm since the day started off quite chilly. We had grandstand seats. Nice if you want out of the sun or rain and an unobstructed view. General admission is only $5 and for an additional $3 you get a reserved seat. Not a bad deal at all!
Of course, we had to bet on all 9 races. And of course, I chose not ONE winner in the bunch. No worries... it was all in good fun.
I have to say that the whole experience was excellent! The bathrooms and grounds were kept immaculate the entire day which amazed me considering the number of people there. It was a beautiful place. Afterwards, we wandered a bit down the back roads enjoying the countryside en route to Lexington for dinner.
We had dinner at a little place called Stella's. A yellow house on Jefferson, I think? We walked their from where our friends were staying. Great little place and their black bean burgers were awesome! Enjoyed some walking along the old houses. Beautiful historic homes in Lexington. We loved your little city!
On Friday, we had 2 horse farm tours scheduled and figured to drive and take photos of the great barns, horses and fences along the way. Fortunately, the rain stayed away for the tours, but... unfortunately, ruined our photography plans the rest of the time. UGH!
The tours were great. Went to Claiborne Farm in the morning. What a great tour and loads of information. Got to "pet" last year's Kentucky Derby winner (what's not to love about that), meet one of the highest paid studs in the country and pay respects at Secretariat's grave. Tour lasted about an hour? and there were probably 2 dozen in our group.
Our 2nd farm tour was at Normandy. TOTALLY different experience, but equally enjoyed. This tour was given by the farm manager complete in his tall rubber boots. A working farm was the feel. And... there were just the 4 of us traveling together in the group. We got to meet and photo a 5 day old foal. Several mares and babies there, actually. Great old barn to photo built as a replica from one in Normandy. Then off to the graves of Man O War's parents. Yeah, I know... sire and dam? I'm not a horse person and these terms confuse me. lol At any rate... great story about the start of the farm.
We loved both guides and both farms. We decided we'd made a great choice giving us a taste of 2 types of farms.
Since it rained off and on all day, we spent more time looking for little places to eat as opposed to taking photos. Not all bad :) We lingered over breakfast at Doodles before the morning tour. (a unique place, great staff, but average food and priced for excellent food) Lunch was at Windy Corner Market near the Normandy Farm. Pulled pork and catfish were both excellent! Dinner was at Bourbon 'n Toulouse. LOVED the Cajun stuff that tasted as if it had been cooking for hours. Gumbo and Cajun chili both spicy and excellent. Bread pudding was sinful!
Saturday-- we were given great advice to choose this day of the Rolex to attend. Again... not a horse person, okay? This event was awesome! There were SOOOOO many people there, it was insane if you saw the parking lot, but.... in the park? It didn't feel crowded at all. We wandered the entire 4 mile course and took photos at I THINK all the jumps. It was a beautiful park, course and day.... Perfect! We loved the event despite not having a clue as to who was who or who was winning or why :) Stunning to watch what the horses and riders could do.
We headed home after the Sat event deciding that another long weekend is a MUST for some non-rain country shots, another try at betting at Keeneland and more farm tours to try! Every one we met was just nice as can be... love your city, we did! You've made a great impression. We will be back!