Lexington is surrounded by hundreds of horse farms and is home to the world's largest thoroughbred horse auction house, Keeneland, which also hosts races.
In September is Keeneland's yearling sale, where people drop millions on year-old horses who've never even been ridden. In 2018, more than $377 million worth of horses were sold at Keeneland's September sale.
I flew down to Lexington for the sale, but first, I managed to score an invite to the sale's exclusive kickoff party at an upscale events venue called the Apiary.
Keeneland's annual September yearling sale in Lexington, Kentucky, is the biggest horse sale in the world, with more than $377 million worth of horses sold in 2018.
The evening before the sale started, Keeneland hosted a kickoff party at the Apiary, an 8,100-square-foot upscale events venue in downtown Lexington.
After handing off my car keys to the valet, I walked through a pair of ornate wooden double doors into a courtyard, where a couple of staffers were checking people in from the guest list.
Inside, I was met by an elegant bar.
I made my way to the venue's main hall, which featured soaring ceilings and large windows.
I spotted at least six different types of dessert, including tiny puddings, brownies, shortbread cookies, and meringue pies.
On one end of the hall, an electric violin player and an electric cello player were performing.
Outside, a cocktail and buffet area was covered by a large tent and surrounded by a garden.
The food menu was served buffet-style by the venue's chef-proprietor, Cooper Vaughan, and his team.
According to the event planner, the guests at the party were the elite of the horse racing world.
The guests at the party were all dressed in stylish cocktail attire.
Down in the cellar of the venue was a rare bourbon tasting, which included bourbons from Buffalo Trace, Weller, and Taylor.
A couple hours into the party, Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason called for a Champagne toast in honor of the horse, because "the horse is the reason for our existence and why we do what we do," he said.
As Thomason spoke, bottles of Dom Perignon Champagne were popped and servers passed through the crowd passing out glasses of bubbly.
As the night wore on, and some of the horse racing industry's most important people drank bourbon and Champagne and talked about the upcoming sale, I was amazed by the breadth of this whole world to which I'd previously barely given a thought.
The party ended relatively early; I headed out at 10 p.m., by which point most people had filtered out.