Department of Parks
Racing Exhibit Opens May 2 at William Whitley House State Historic Site

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, April 22, 2015  
Contact Information:  Stacy Thomason,

CRAB ORCHARD, Ky. – A new walking trail and thoroughbred racing exhibit will open on Derby Day, May 2 at the William Whitley House State Historic Site in Lincoln County.


The walking trail will cover what is known as “Sportsman’s Hill,” where horse racing, as we know it today, began. Because of his anti-British sentiment, Col. Whitley ran his races counterclockwise – opposite to the clockwise tradition of the British “Sport of Kings.” The site of one of the country’s earliest race tracks, which dates back to 1788, will feature a half-mile trail with six interpretive signs on the history of racing.


The “Trophies and Silks” exhibit will celebrate thoroughbred racing and feature items on the rich history of the sport in Kentucky. Among items displayed will be racing trophies, including a replica of the Kentucky Derby trophy, jockey silks and other historical racing memorabilia. They will be on display through June 28.


The William Whitley House stands as a monument to pioneer ingenuity and resourcefulness. It was the first brick home and circular racetrack built west of the Allegheny Mountains, completed in 1794 by William Whitley and his wife, Esther. The house was a gathering spot for early Kentuckians, including George Rogers Clark and Daniel Boone.


The William Whitley House, operated by Kentucky State Parks, is about 10 miles south of Stanford off U.S. 150. Exit Interstate 75 at U.S. 150 or take U.S. 27 south from Lexington to U.S. 150 east. The home is open for tours Wednesday through Sunday starting May 1. Visit for more information.





The Kentucky State Park System is composed of 49 state parks plus an interstate park shared with Virginia. The Department of Parks, an agency of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, operates 17 resort parks with lodges -- more than any other state. For more information on Kentucky parks, visit our website at