Thoroughbred horse racing experienced an explosive growth in popularity from 1865 to 1910, but Kentucky lost its dominant position as the locus for the breeding of racehorses. The overarching theme behind this struggle to build a Kentucky horse industry was the realization among the region's horsemen that they could not begin to do so without luring the big money from outside capitalists into central Kentucky. Kentucky racehorse breeders got left behind in the new expansion of the sport, even before the Civil War had ended. Racing shifted to the northeast, Bluegrass breeders lost valuable horses to both armies as well as to guerrillas and outlaws, and the only plan of action for a productive future resided with Robert Aitcheson Alexander, the owner of Woodburn Farm, and his handpicked associates.
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