The fertile Bluegrass Downs, just eighty miles across, are at the heart of the US's thoroughbred racehorse breeding business, and vibrant Lexington is the region's equine capital. The fertile downs brought early wealth to the city and the number of fine antebellum houses here are a testament to its successful past.
Lexington's current affluence dates from after World War I when the town emerged as the world's largest burley tobacco exporter. Today, with more than 450 farms in the vicinity, the horse trade is the most important commercial activity. The International Museum of the Horse at Kentucky Horse Park traces the story of horses throughout history, whilst the Thoroughbred Center allows you to watch trainers at work.
Nearby lie the fine old towns of Danville and Harrodsburg and the restored Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill which are all well worth visiting.