WHEN Daniel Boone in 1775 brought to the Virginia Legislature a resolution to improve the breed of horses over in Kentucky County, he was voicing a determination that has persisted in the Bluegrass. And the Bluegrass has made Kentucky celebrated throughout the world for its fine horses.
The resolve alone would not have been enough, however, if the Bluegrass did not have a mild climate and 1,200 square miles of cherished land around Lexington peculiarly fitted to be the nursery of thoroughbreds. The long, easy roll of the land, with its firm, dry turf undisturbed by plows and harrows, with its pools of water and its clumps of open woods, seems to please the eyes and feet of both horses and men. Underneath this Bluegrass turf is a layer of rare Ordovician limestone, a shell deposit laid down millions of years ago when the region was an ocean floor. This limestone gives to the water and grass a high phosphorus and calcium content which builds light, solid bones, elastic muscles, and strong tendons in the horses that feed and drink here. Under these ideal conditions are developed the prime requisites of the Thoroughbred -- strength and fleetness. As a result, Kentucky-bred horses make up one-half of the winners on first-class American tracks, and a large majority of Derby firsts.
Kentucky has always been interested in horse racing and horse breeding. The first settlers in the Bluegrass were men from Virginia and the Carolinas, who brought with them over the mountains and down the rivers on flatboats strong, fast horses, tended affectionately and with care. As early as 1788, six months after the first edition of the Kentucky Gazette was printed, there appeared the first Kentucky stallion advertisements. One of them reads, in part:
The famous horse Pilgarlic, of a beautiful colour, full fourteen hands three inches high, rising ten years old, will stand the ensuing season on the head of Salt
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Publication information: Book title: Kentucky:A Guide to the Bluegrass State. Contributors: Federal Writers' Project - OrganizationName. Publisher: Harcourt, Brace. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1939. Page number: 94.
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