“Training champion horses for over 40 years”
We also offer Guided Tours of this working Thoroughbred training facility for groups or individuals. Come behind the scenes for a rare glimpse of "A Day in the Life of a Thoroughbred in Training!" 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.
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- Mon - Sat: 9:00 am - 10:30 am
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