Lexington’s Big Blue Horse
At the root of the legend of the blue horse is the famous horse of the mid 1800s named Lexington. Find these ten sites related to the horse behind the legend, and we'll reward you with a special prize!
Snap a picture of yourself holding "Big Lex" at each of these sites and email all ten images to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email small file sizes, please. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.
Stop by the Lexington Visitors Center at 215 West Main Street before you start and we'll give you a "flat Big Lex" to use in your photos. Or you can print one from home. Just click here.
#1. In front of The Square, across from Triangle Park, you'll find the historical marker that pays tribute to Lexington, the preeminent horse-racing legend of the 19th century. In addition to a successful career on the track, this stallion sired more than 600 foals, and more than one-third of his offspring were winners. This horse was the grandsire of Aristides, the first Kentucky Derby winner. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame in 1955.
#2. The famous 19th-century statesman Henry Clay lived here. Just a short distance from downtown, the home sits on a beautiful 20-acre wooded estate with an English parterre garden. A tour inside the 18- room mansion showcases Clay family belongings and memorabilia. Clay, most notably remembered as the "Great Compromiser," was good friends with Dr. Warfield, Lexington's breeder. Clay owned a horse by Lexington named Daniel Boone.
#3. This 2.5 acre park, situated at the edge of downtown, is dedicated to the Thoroughbred industry in the Bluegrass. Seven life-size and lifelike bronze racehorses streak toward the finish line, while broodmares and foals graze in the nearby green space. Also featured in bronze at the park is the legendary stallion Lexington, who still holds the record for siring the most champion offspring in the world.
#4. One of the largest and finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in Kentucky, this house was once home to Dr. Elisha Warfield's daughter and son-in-law, Julie and Francis Key Hunt. The land upon which this massive structure was built was a gift from Dr. Warfield, Lexington's first owner. It is now home to the Lexington Art League, Lexington's oldest and largest visual arts organization.
#5. The rotunda in the lobby of this beautiful, centrally located building features the largest ceiling clock in the world. A mural surrounding the pendulum above the rotunda's first floor includes an image of Isaac Murphy, the famous African American jockey. Two of the three Kentucky Derby winners he rode have a bloodline connection to Lexington on the dam side - Kingman (1891) and Riley (1890).
#6. Dr. Elisha Warfield received his medical degree and later taught as a Professor of Surgery and Obstetrics at the first college west of the Allegheny Mountains. This present day small, liberal arts college was founded in 1780 and is located on the north side of an historic neighborhood in Lexington's downtown area.
#7. This federal-style house was built in 1814 by the first millionaire west of the Alleghenies, John Wesley Hunt. His grandson, John Hunt Morgan (aka "Thunderbolt of the Confederacy" and "King of Horse Thieves"), formed a guerrilla band called "Morgan's Raiders" which raided horse farms, causing Robert Alexander to ship Lexington to Illinois in order to save him. There is a Civil War Museum on the second floor of this historic home.
#8. Lexington may not be buried here, but a lot of famous Lexingtonians are, including Dr. Elisha Warfield (the original owner of Lexington). Located on West Main Street, this public cemetery was established in 1849 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. It is nationally recognized as one of America's most beautiful arboretums. Prior to the 1830s Kentucky Association track located downtown, races were held on this site.
#9. Lexington was purchased in 1856 by Mr. Robert Alexander and spent most of his stud career at Alexander's farm, Woodburn, located near Midway. In 1859, Mr. Alexander became the first president of The Kentucky Trotting Association. Eventually reorganized as the Kentucky Horse Trotting Breeder's Association, this organization opened this historic track south of downtown Lexington known for its red clay in 1875.
#10. This National Historic Landmark is one of the most beautiful racetracks in the world. Located at both entrances to the grounds of this racetrack are green posts with "KA" inscribed in gold. These are the gate posts from the old Kentucky Association track where Lexington began his racing career. Just by coincidence, it is also the initials for the current racetrack's association.
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