If I were to spend one day in Central Kentucky I would be certain to hook up with a Horse Farm Tour Company. Central Kentucky is the heart of the Thoroughbred Industry and if one is lucky enough to visit this piece of heaven on earth, having a tour guide to take you to places the average Joe is not allowed is a must.
I believe they are several hours long and will take you to the farms, a trip through downtown, and a stop at Keeneland.
If you decide to do the tour on your own, you have to go to the Keeneland Horse Track. It is so beautiful, it will stay with you forever and every other horse track will pale in comparison. I believe there are horses there year round training in early morning, when the heat is low. I know the kitchen and gift shop are open year round. You may even catch some horse sales in the summer. Racing is only in April and October, the season being only three weeks each.
If you do not want to stray far from I-75, you can hop off at the Kentucky Horse Park expect to stay all day taking in all the exhibits and checking out all the activities. Man-O-War is buried there and a magnificent statue of the Greatest Horse that ever raced graces his grave. Lot's of horse activities going on there all the time, horse shows, jumping competition, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
If you are adventurous and want to see the second most famous industry in Kentucky, you can take tours of the Bourbon Distilleries in the area, Wild Turkey, Four Roses, Buffalo Trace, Woodford Reserve, Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, and the crème de la crème of all bourbons, Markers Mark.
Another fabulous place of interest and not to be missed is the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. It is outside Lexington, going down a most beautiful country highway about 30 miles out into God's Country on the Kentucky River. The village has pretty much been restored to its original simple beauty. Local artisans are on hand creating furniture, candles, glass, brooms (there is nothing that can compare to a Shaker broom) and other items of interest in the Shaker way. The food is beyond delicious at the restaurant (I use to be a waitress there after my first year in college and I gained 10 pounds on the corn bread, lemon pie, and squash casserole). It is a step back in time.
Since you are close, you may as well go see Old Ft. Harrod . When we were kids and our cousins would visit us from the North, we would always include a trip to the Fort. Why? Because they would enact Indian fights!!! I'm not certain if they still do this, but when I was kid, it was soooooo cool.
There is also Fort Boonesboro, made famous by the long running tv program in the 1960's...Daniel Boone!
Me? I would include a trip to the Lexington Cemetery because it is the most breathtaking landscaped place of rest in the area. Spectacular!
I would go to the Arboretum because I love it.
I would go to the downtown library and head downstairs to the Friends of the Library Book Cellar.
If I had the time, I would head to the Irish Acres Antique House located at Nonesuch in an old school house. I would have lunch there.
If I felt like it, I would head to Ashland, Henry Clay's home and tour the gardens and the mansion.
Then I would head to Hall's on the River for catfish and hot banana peppers.
And the trip would not be complete with out visiting the Joseph-Beth Booksellers at Lexington Green. This bookstore has grown over the years, but still maintains its unique style of presenting books .... friendly. There may be a zillion Borders and another zillion Barnes and Nobles, but first there was Jo-Beth and no one has been able to copy it yet.
I'd exhausted by now, and if I were younger I'd be ready to hit the night life. Maybe a movie at the last movie theater standing in downtown, The Kentucky Theater to see if the Troubadour Series was on and if not, to catch a movie.
Then after that, I would have a night cap at Cheapside Bar and Grill and maybe listen to some music and have a snack.
I'd be exhausted by now and have to be carried to the car.