Unique has operated out of the Kentucky Horse Park for a few years (with three tours per day), and its owner Shaun Washington, has evolved the business over time. My wife and I went on a tour with him a few years back, and at that time he went to Keeneland and to Winstar Farms. However, he told me that he had decided that there was no point in taking people to Keeneland, as people can go there for free and look around.
Now, he has been able to get inside of Calumet Farm, which in its glory days was the most successful thoroughbred operation in history, with two Triple Crown winners, and numerous other horses who won the Kentucky Derby and other major races. In addition to being the Steelers/Celtics/Canadiens/Yankees of the thoroughbred world, Calumet also had iconic buildings painted in white and red trim that are known throughout the world to racing fans. Even though Calumet fell on hard times, most of the other local tours drive by it as part of their itineraries just so people could see where history's greatest thoroughbred operation had been. Unfortunately, for many years, no one could actually get inside its gates.
Now, however, if you take the Unique tour you can get in and see Calumet. When I took the tour this August, the first stop was the farm's horse cemetery. A lot of non-racing fans would probably be bored silly there. However, to me it was almost like holy ground, as it had the burial sites of all the Calument Derby and Triple Crown winners, as well as Alydar, who lost all three Triple Crown races to Affirmed by a tiny margin. There was also a statue over the grave of Bull Lea, their star stallion. After visiting the cemetery, we went to a number of different buildings on Calumet. There, you could see where some of the famous horses had been stabled, as their name plates were still on the doors of their stalls.
The tour also included a drive through horse country past a number of other farms, plus a stop at a very new thoroughbred operation that was built on what had been a cattle farm until just a few years ago. The owner of that thoroughbred farm had spared no expense in his buildings, which in some ways are more elaborate than what you would expect to see in a house for humans. Calumet's buildings had been elaborate for their time, so it was interesting to contrast the new with the old.
I should also say that Shaun is an interesting guy, and knows a lot of people in the racing business (which is how he apparently obtained the right ot visit Keeneland). In any event, if you are a fan of horse racing and its history, you should run out and do this tour while you have the chance, as this might be the only chance you have to tour Calumet.
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