“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lexington in Fayette County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)

Idle Hour Farm

Idle Hour Farm Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, March 21, 2022
1. Idle Hour Farm Marker
E. R. Bradley's Idle Hour Farm, covering 1,292 acres on both sides of Old Frankfort Pike, set an almost unbelievable standard for the early 20th century Thoroughbred farm. Idle Hour raised four Kentucky Derby winners and dominated the American racetrack from 1903 and 1933. Bradley's horses names all began with “B", including the famous Bubbling Over, Busher, Black Toney, and Broker's Tip.

Idle Hour employed about 100 full time workers with a yearly operating budget that would total about four-to-five million dollars today. Many African American staff lived north of the farm in Bracktown, and crossed the private bridge over Elkhorn Creek to work. Others lived on the farm in dormitories. Besides breeding, raising, and training Thoroughbreds, Idle Hour maintained sheep and cattle herds, had its own water system, power station, firehouse, dairy, equine hospital, indoor arena, training tracks, and race track with a clock tower.

Bradley was one of the most influential horsemen of his day.
Known for his gambling, uncommon generosity, and thoughtfulness, the multi-millionaire built Idle Hour Country Club
Idle Hour Farm Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, March 21, 2022
2. Idle Hour Farm Marker
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when the Lexington Country Club denied him membership - supposedly because of his gambling. Thousands attended the "Orphan's Day Races” at Bradley's Idle Hour race track on the south side of Old Frankfort Pike from 1928-1932. Proceeds funded contributions to Kentucky orphanages that today would exceed $1.5 million.

Bradley's Idle Hour Stock Farm is now three separate Thoroughbred farms, including Darby Dan on the north side of Old Frankfort Pike. Many of the historic buildings and landscapes of this remarkable venture remain; some visible from the road.

Historic images of Idle Hour and views of the farm today. Bradley's buildings and plan remain remarkably unchanged. Black and white of the entry drive in 1923 and color, right, today. (Historic views KR)

Stallion barns in the 1930s (above) and today.

Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureAnimalsScience & Medicine. A significant historical year for this entry is 1903.
Location. 38° 4.119′ N, 84° 33.459′ W. Marker is in Lexington, Kentucky, in Fayette County. Marker is at the intersection of Old Frankfort Pike (Kentucky Route 1681) and Alexandria Drive, on the right when traveling east on Old Frankfort Pike. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2450 Old Frankfort Pike, Lexington KY 40510, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within
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walking distance of this marker. The West Fayette County (here, next to this marker); Gentlemen Farmers and Burley Tobacco (a few steps from this marker); the International Thoroughbred Landscape (a few steps from this marker); Preservation and Conservation (a few steps from this marker); Breed Only The Best (a few steps from this marker); Calumet Farm (a few steps from this marker); Woodburn (a few steps from this marker); Create An Agri-culture (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lexington.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 10, 2022. It was originally submitted on March 29, 2022, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 227 times since then and 55 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 29, 2022, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 29, 2023