Homes of the Stars – Part 3

Posted on February 22, 2008. Filed under:, farm tours, horses | Tags: , , , , , , |

As promised, here’s Part 3. If you’re reading this, then you’ve seen my question to Suzanne about obtaining photos. This kind of blog needs photos. So maybe I should just give the horse topic a rest and move on to another topic, until I get this snag solved? ;->

Anyway, I promised a Part 3, so here it is. Enjoy!

So, you just found out that tours of Three Chimneys Farm where the popular Smarty Jones lives are booked up for The Entire Time you’re in central Kentucky? 😦

Never fear — other fabulous horses live here! 🙂 But where are they? And how do you find them?

Thanks to the power of the Internet, you can find out. First, if you’re looking for an individual horse, Google his name and see which farm site has him.

But let’s say that you would like to visit a farm on your own self-guided tour. A Bluegrass thoroughbred breeding farm is a beautiful place to see, kind of like a historic house tour. What visitors usually see on a farm tour is the stallion complex. The facilities often show distinctive architecture and beautiful landscaping. Each one has a different style.

To get an idea, as well as some ideas of where to tour, the website for The Blood Horse is a great place to look.

The Blood-Horse Magazine is a trade journal for thoroughbred racing and breeding. If you love pretty horse photos, you’ll drool over some of the ads on this site. But right now, you’re looking for horse farms to visit.Scroll down the page and keep an eye on the right hand column for the Farm Directory. Heck, you’ve probably noticed that the whole right hand border is ads for stallions and farms.

Click on any one of those ads or listed farms and look for the “about the farm” page. The magic phrase that you’re looking for is “Visitors Welcome” or, better yet, a link to contact for tours.

The farm websites are so pretty that you can almost save yourself the plane, hotel and car rental fare with a virtual tour. Plus, the virtual tour can take you everywhere.

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Homes of the Stars – Part 2

Posted on February 21, 2008. Filed under:, farm tours, horse stories, horses, KY, Lexington, Smarty Jones, The Bluegrass, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Remember Smarty Jones? (A picture would be nice here, wouldn’t it? ;-> Sorry – workin’ on it! 🙂 )

Smarty won the hearts of millions in his bid for the 2004 Triple Crown. Was it his comeback story from a nearly-devastating skull fracture the year before? Or his charming senior owners, The Chapmans, who showed us that dreams can come true? Or the way he ran with his ears pinned flat against his head, as if he knew about aerodynamics?

Well, fans who plan ahead, can visit Smarty. I probably should add that you shouldn’t try to pet him, unless his groom gives permission. We’ll cover horse farm tour etiquette in Part 4. (Don’t worry, it’s not complicated. Just some common sense.)

Anyway, Smarty now leads the life of a breeding stallion at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, KY, which is between Lexington and Louisville. The farm offers tours by appointment only.

I remember that when Smarty’s retirement was imminent, the Chapmans toured the Bluegrass farms in search of the best home, according to articles I read in The One of their requirements was that Smarty retire to a farm where his fans could visit him. Three Chimneys fit the bill. So, a prospective visitor wanting to see Smarty Jones needs to make an appointment. The Three Chimneys website has a link for contact info to reserve tours.

Keep in mind that Smarty is a man in demand, both for human visitors and his dates with The Ladies, which is his real job. There are certain times of year that his human visitor appointment calendar is booked up: the week leading up to the first Saturday in May (KY Derby time) and when events are scheduled at the nearby racetrack Keeneland. Plus, the farm is open for tours probably during limited hours on selected days. “Book early” is good advice to avoid disappointment.

But what if Smarty’s people say he’s tied up (or booked up?) Well, there are plenty of other stars in the Bluegrass.

Finding them will be the topic of tomorrow’s installment, part 3.

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