Kentucky Horse Park

Press Release Date:  Friday, June 15, 2007  
Contact Information:  Cindy Rullman, 859-259-4209 ext 209,  

            LEXINGTON, KY (June 15, 2007) Where was the place to be seen in the mid-1800s?  For a very large cross-section of society, it was at a harness racing meet.


Harness racing continues to draw crowds to racetracks around the country, but in the mid-1800s it was especially popular as both sporting and social event at large city racetracks and hundreds of quaint, small town fairs.  This week, the Kentucky Horse Park’s International Museum of the Horse – an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution – opens a new exhibition to honor and commemorate a piece of that rich history. 


“The History of Harness Racing by Currier and Ives and the Kentucky Connection,” produced by the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, highlights the early history of the sport of harness racing through 66 rare Currier and Ives lithographic prints.  In addition, a careful selection of important artifacts will help complete the story of the sport from its mid-nineteenth century heyday up to today.


Also included in the exhibition will be historic racing trophies, old sale catalogs, driving colors (jackets and caps), paintings, drawings and cartoons, shoes, weathervane, Maud S. High Wheel Sulky, speed wagon, old and current race bikes, tack trunks and statuettes. “The History of Harness Racing by Currier and Ives and the Kentucky Connection,” will be on display in the museum from June 15-October 21.


Bill Cooke, director of the International Museum of the Horse stated, “We are indebted to the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame and its supporters, such as The CTW Foundation, Kentucky Standardbred horse farms and businesses, and friends of the sport of harness racing for loaning this wonderful collection to our museum.  Part of this exhibition has toured the country, but when it came to the Kentucky Horse Park, numerous pieces were added specifically for this venue.  Kentucky has such a tremendous record of breeding and racing outstanding Standardbreds, we are pleased to honor its rich history in this way.”


Due to the value of many of the pieces in this important exhibition, the highly-respected “Art & Antiques” magazine highlighted it in an issue earlier this year.


For more information, contact the International Museum of the Horse at 859-259-4232.


Park Hours and Rates: From March 15 through October 31, the park is open seven days a week.  Admission is $15 for adults, $8 for children 7-12.  Children six and under are always admitted free of charge.  Admission includes the International Museum of the Horse – In Association with the Smithsonian Institution - and the American Saddlebred Museum.


Editor’s Note:  High-res photos of some of the rare Currier and Ives lithographs from this collection are available for use in your publication with this release by emailing




The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm/theme park and equine competition facility dedicated to man’s relationship with the horse.  The park is an agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet that hosted nearly 900,000 visitors and campers, as well as 15,000 competition horses in more than 100 special events and horse shows in 2006.  The park is home to the National Horse Center which comprises more than 30 national and regional equine organizations.   Located at Exit 120, Interstate 75, just north of Lexington, the Kentucky Horse Park is The place to get close to horses.   Open daily March 15 to October 31, and Wednesday through Sunday, November 1 to March 14.