From Columbus we moved one State south to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. What is a Commonwealth and why does Kentucky call itself one? Commonwealth basically means a political community founded for the common good of its people. It does loosely relate back to the days of British colonies and rule. Kentucky wasn't a colony of Britain, but it was a part of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Commonwealth moniker apparently stuck when Kentucky separated from Virginia. The few States that call themselves Commonwealths have no special status vis-a-vis any other State, it's just a part of history reflected in the official name of the State.
We had driven by Lexington on I75 on a few occasions. It was one of those places where you say, "one day we will find the time to stop here for awhile." This time we did. Kentucky is known for horses. And the horse center of Kentucky is the greater Lexington area. One major theme of our visit was to experience a bit of that horse culture.
We did a few different driving tours to see the bluegrass, board fence, rock wall horse farms of Lexington.
We spent a good part of a day touring the Kentucky Horse Park, somewhat of a theme park of man's relationship with the horse. It is a two-square-mile working horse farm that holds various shows and competitions as well. There was a horse jumping competition going on during our visit. There are two museums on site -- the Museum of the Horse, an affiliate of the Smithsonian, and the American Saddlebred Museum. The Park showcases many of the various breeds of horses of the world.
Another horse related stop we made was to Keeneland Farms. It is famous in horse circles for two reasons -- its racetrack which many regard as the world's finest and as the premier horse auction venue of the world. There weren't any races going on at Keeneland during our stay, but they were conducting their all important Fall sale of yearling thoroughbred horses -- where potential future Triple Crown race winners are sold. We were able to sit in on part of the auction. After recently watching a 4-H auction of animals in a sawdust ring in a barn, we were blown away by the sale facility at Keeneland. While watching we made sure we didn't make any sudden body movements and thereby purchasing by accident a Thoroughbred horse. We saw one sell for $150,000. We heard earlier in the week a yearling had sold for $3 million. But we saw one horse sell where the auctioneer practically had to beg to draw out a winning bid of $1,000.
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