The Thoroughbred Center is located in Fayette County, Kentucky, just outside the city limits of Lexington. Built in 1969, and formally named the Kentucky Horse Center was originally situated on 133 acres of prime central Kentucky farmland. Established as a Thoroughbred training and sales facility by Rex Elsworth and Dr. Arnold Pessin, KHC was immediately popular as an alternative to training at the local racetracks. Amenities at the training facility included a 5/8-mile track with a metal roof, two barns made primarily of concrete with metal roofs that could house up to 260 horses and had 40 tack rooms and a state of the art, 920 seat sales pavilion, complete with a lounge and full service bar. Thoroughbred sales were slower to catch on, with the first in 1972 when Fasig Tipton used the facility for their inaugural Thoroughbred auction. Elsworth’s financial difficulties in the mid-seventies forced the sale of KHC. Joseph Johnson III purchased KHC at a commissioner’s sale to add to his considerable land holdings in the immediate area. Johnson at one time owned nearly 5000 acres in Fayette County and among his holdings was the Log Cabin Farm, which bordered KHC to the east. After Johnson purchased the training and sales facility the barns currently numbered 3 through 8 were relocated to KHC from Miles Park, a defunct racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky. By 1974 Johnson had constructed an additional six barns, which make up barns 18 through 23. In addition, Johnson had begun construction of a larger training track, which would eventually become what is now a one-mile, all weather training track. The original one-mile track was surfaced with a bark footing that had become popular in Europe. This surface proved to be incompatible with the extremes of Kentucky weather and would eventually be replaced with a sand, silt, clay surface typical of most Thoroughbred racetracks.
In 1998 The Kentucky Horse Center was purchased by Churchill Downs out of Louisville and were owners of the facility until April of 2000 when Keeneland, Lexington’s local racecourse purchased the facility. In the transition, the KHC name was changed to The Thoroughbred Center and an expansion was made to the facility with an additional five barns added to enable the facility to house up to 1,180 horses
The Thoroughbred Center is nestled among some of the most lavish horse farms in Lexington, KY. Our tour offers a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the daily care and training of Thoroughbred Race Horses. During the tour you will get to watch morning workouts, see horses up close at track side, in the paddocks and barns, and visit with professionals who will answer questions. Learn how Thoroughbreds are trained for racing and experience a typical day in the life of a racehorse. Come to The Thoroughbred Center to learn why and how Central Kentucky came to be the Horse Capital of the World!
Tours run once each day and last approximately 90 minutes. Self-guided tours are not permitted. Tour space is limited. April 1 – October 31
Monday – Saturday: 9 am
Reservations are Recommended
November 1 – March 31
Monday – Friday: 9 am
Reservations and a 4-person minimum are Required
For vacation planning assistance or information on the Bluegrass Region contact VisitLEX.
• Adults: $15 per person
• Children (12 and under): $8 per person
• Children 2 and under: FREE
• Groups (20+): $10 per person
* Please note that we can provide meals for group tours
Where Champions Of Tomorrow Are Training Today
The Thoroughbred Center is located just outside of Lexington in Fayette County, Kentucky. Horsemen stabling here have a multitude of racetracks within easy, or reasonable, driving distance. This enables you to select races which best suit your horse and maximize potential return from your investment.
Some horses are brought here as yearlings, prepared for racing and then sent to trainers around the world. Others are stabled and trained at The Thoroughbred Center year-round. Whatever your needs for training and stabling, The Thoroughbred Center is a great option!
RockCastle Bourbon, named for the county that is home to our limestone rich mountain spring water, is a smooth, sweet bourbon handcrafted using local Kentucky corn and wheat. This small batch spirit is bottled at barrel strength and displays distinct flavor notes of toffee, caramel and vanilla.
As of January 2015, Blue Grass Treated Wood closed their Distribution Center in Nicholasville, KY.
The Thoroughbred Center is taking this opportunity to carry on their exceptional service and quality in Central Kentucky. Now equipped with delivery trucks and fork lifts, The Thoroughbred Center is engaged in the distribution of farm fencing supplies.
For pricing and information, call (859) 293-1853 or email info@TheThoroughbredCenter.com
Unveiling of the Thoroughbred Center’s new outdoor wedding venue The Paddock in Lexington, Kentucky. Photos by: Kevin and Anna Photography www.kevinandannaweddings.com
The Paddock- Packages Starting at $4,650
Seats up to 200
Nestled among the rolling hills of the Bluegrass, we offer an exceptional wedding venue, advantageous location, informative and fun tourist activities, convenient parking, and an experienced staff to assist you with all of your planning stages.
The Thoroughbred Center and its professional staff of planners cater to the success of their clients and visitors by providing a feeling of hospitality and comfort. Whether here on business or pleasure, the Center is the ideal location in a city known for its diversity and charming traditions.
Listed below are our event spaces. Availability changes frequently so be sure to contact our event coordinator, Amy Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (859) 293-1853. Click each image to see a photo gallery of that space.
The unique and rustic Stableview Hall, the casual barn-like atmosphere clearly defines the Center’s central location in the heart of the Thoroughbred industry. Supplied with a bar, this party area has become the best facility around for wedding receptions, barbecues, reunions, company parties/picnics and many other social events. This room seats up to 500.
Packages starting at $1,525
Seats up to 500
The equestrian-themed, formal Horseman’s Lounge is 2,400 square feet of elegance. Complete with its magnificent chandelier, working brick fireplace, adjoining kitchen and bar, this room is ideal for banquets, weddings, wedding receptions, formals, proms, company parties, small business meetings and more. This room seats up to 200.
Packages starting at $1,275
Seats up to 200
We have several event spaces to welcome a wide range of events. The Center’s sales Pavilion, or 920-seat auditorium, was originally built for horse auctions with the idea in mind to accommodate conventions, corporate meetings, conferences, seminars, concerts, theatre productions and other special events.
Seats up to 920