Thoroughbred horses. Kentucky Derby. Bourbon. Those five words define classic Kentucky. A place like no other, Kentucky lives and breaths horses.

Next week, horse lovers around the world will tune in to watch “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” – the Kentucky Derby – when a field of thoroughbreds make a run for the roses around the track at Louisville’s Churchill Downs. The horses shown above, hopefully future Derby competitors, were grazing in the fields near Lexington, Kentucky in summer 2012. Lexington, like its neighboring Louisville, lives for the horse industry.

Come Derby Day (May 4th in 2013), the entire state comes to a stand still during those two intense minutes when millions of dollars worth of horses – and the lifelong dreams of so many – circle the track in hopes of winning the first of the three big races on the road to the Triple Crown. I was in Lexington one year during the Derby and it was the next best thing to sitting at Churchill Downs. The racing facilities at Keeneland in Lexington are a perfect mix of classic race tradition and modern amenities. The day was filled with a variety of local races, along with the big races broadcast on the track’s massive screen.

Even if you can’t be in Kentucky for Derby Day, plan to visit Lexington and stop by the track at Keeneland. Be sure to inquire about visits to local horse farms. Seeing these exquisite animals up close and personal is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Click here to see other featured Photos of the Day.

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