In the center of downtown Lexington, Kentucky is a unique park that is both an excellent picnic spot and a horse lover’s dream. Thoroughbred Park has lush, sloping lawns, park benches, ancient trees … and a horse race!
Thirteen life-sized horse sculptures grace the 2.5-acre park. Two horses and two colts enjoy the sloping, grassy hills. A foal curls up besides a circle of shrubs. But it’s the seven horses racing past the fountain that catches the interest of both people driving by and those enjoying the park.
The bronze horse sculptures are so realistic you find yourself patting them gently. Bring a coffee, stroll the pathways, or take advantage of a park bench. Straightaway races were held on Lexington’s dirt streets in the 1780s; future champions rest and play eternally nearby, so park visitors are stepping back into history and moving forward into horse future.
The artist who sculpted the horses, Gwen Reardon, has spent her life around horses. After attending art classes at the University of Kentucky, she began sculpting a quarter-life sized statue of famous stallion “Lexington.” Besides bloodlines and racing record, the horse has an amazing history to include race relations, noted names in our country’s foundation, and the public’s love of horses. Reardon’s statue is the centerpiece for Thoroughbred Park.
Along the winding limestone pathway are bronze plates set in stone that feature the likeness and the story of 42 horse racing greats. These include Sam Riddle, the owner of Man O’War, and Arthur B. “Bull” Hancock, Jr., a breeder and owner at Claiborne Farm and President of the Thoroughbred Club of America in the 1940’s. The downfall is there are not many women listed; there are many female trainers, owners, and riders who deserve recognition (thus 4 stars out 5 rating).
Thoroughbred Park offers great photo opportunities for the artist, much history for racing enthusiasts, and (despite passing traffic) a quiet place for reflection. You cannot think “Kentucky” without thinking “horses” so the park is great for tourists.
For more information on the park history, and on the horse “Lexington,” click HERE.
Thoroughbred Park is located at East Main Street and Midland Avenue in Lexington, Kentucky 40514. It is about a three-hour drive from the Nashville, Tennessee area. For information call toll free 1-800-845-3959. For more information, including a map to the park, click HERE. The park is free to the public.
For more information on sculpture artist Gwen Reardon, including a chance to own some of her work, click HERE.