@Book{ wall2010,
    author = {Maryjean Wall},
    title = {How Kentucky Became Southern: A Tale of Outlaws, Horse Thieves, Gamblers, and Breeders},
    address = {Lexington},
    publisher = {University Press of Kentucky},
    year = 2010,

Although Kentucky horse industry and “Southern colonel” image indelibly linked in popular memory, Wall argues that for forty or fifty years after the Civil War, Kentucky horse racing as an industry was in decline due to competition from northeastern industrialists throwing their wealth into the field. With the exception of R. A. Alexander, owner of Woodburn Farm (a near neighbor of Zebulon Ward, most Kentucky horse breeders were not industrialiasts in the mid-nineteenth century, and so they were ill-prepared for the onslaught of northeastern wealth (p. 1-2).

Kentuckians were eventually able to shift center of gravity back to their state by attracting capital into the central horse district, but “only after both locals and outsiders embraced a popular plantation myth that gave the region a ‘neo-Southern’ identity” (p. 3). What Wall seems as a new, invented identity, embraced long after the Civil War, “excluded African Americans from participation in the new horse industry” (p. 3). “In this instance,” she argues, “big money trumped racial possibilities” represented by jockeys like Isaac Murphey (p. 11). It also rewrote the state’s history as a Union state by depicting it as neutral during the Civil War. In contrast to historians like Luke Harlow who see continuities between antebellum and postbellum Kentucky culture, Wall pictures the embrace of Southron identity as largely an exercise in nostalgia, designed for instrumental economic ends as well as in reaction to industrialization.

p. 15: Mentions Zebulon Ward as one of several Kentuckians who took their horses North to race during the Civil War. “The Kentuckians Zeb Ward, [John] Clay, Captain T. G. Moore, and Dr. J. W. Weldon campaigned their racing stables in Pennsylvania and on Long Island at New York’s old Union Course in 1862. They also raced in Boston.” This is part of a larger section in Wall discussing race between Kentucky (a son of Lexington) and Asteroid in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1865, illustrative of shifting center of gravity from Bluegrass to northeast.

p. 28:

Before the war, Kentucky-bred horses had ruled the turf, sent via steamboats down the Ohio River to the Metairie course at New Orleans, where the greatest of them all, the horse named Lexington, had settled a regional rivalry on the racetrack. He had defeated his Mississippi rival, Lecomte, in a sectional contest on a par with any of the famous North-South contests held before the war in New York and the southern Atlantic states. Lexington retired from the track to a new career as a breeding stallion and, during the mid-1850s, came into the hands of the wealthiest breeder in Kentucky, Alexander, the squire of Woodburn farm.

Alexander, a Cambridge-educated relative of British aristocrats, “could afford to pay a then-record $15,000 for Lexington to stand at stud at Woodburn because he possessed a fortune founded in industry and divested into agriculture and livestock breeding” (p. 29).

Wall sees Wilkes of the Spirit of the Times as a key player in convincing Bluegrass traders to engage Northern races.

p. 35:

… some of the better known Kentucky horsemen had accompanied their racing stables to Philadelphia in 1862, the second year of the Civil War, to compete on a circuit that temporarily sprang up between that city, New York, and Boston. Zeb Ward and Captain T. Moore were the first to arrive …1

  1. Citation for this is “The Turf: Spring Meetings at Philadelphia, New-York and Boston,” New York Times, June 23, 1862.