Lawrin Gravesite - Atlas Obscura

Lawrin Gravesite

Prairie Village, Kansas

A tiny racehorse graveyard in the middle of a quiet Kansas City suburb. 


Lawrin, the only Kansas-bred horse to ever win the Kentucky Derby, was buried on his home farm beside his sire. Nowadays, the tiny equine cemetery is the only piece of the farm that remains.

Lawrin was born in 1935 on what was then the 200-acre Woolford Farms, which specialized in thoroughbred racehorse breeding. The operation was owned by Kansas City clothier and horse aficionado Hebert Woolf, who had inherited a family chain of luxury goods department stores. (Incidentally, Woolf was also a cousin to British political theorist Leonard Woolf, who would marry one Virginia Stephen, later known as writer Virginia Woolf). Lawrin inherited a thing or two of his own as a son of Insco, who had sired several successful stakes winners.

The 64th Kentucky Derby in 1938 was Lawrin’s 24th competitive start. He was ridden by a young jockey named Eddie Arcaro, who took him to an early lead close to the rail and staved off the steadily gaining competition through the last moment. The race was over in two minutes and four and four-fifths of a second. Arcaro would go on to win an additional four Kentucky Derbies and is still one of the most celebrated jockeys of all time.

Woolf sold Woolford Farms in 1955, which was the same year that Lawrin passed away at age 20. The farm would become part of Prairie Village, a suburb of Kansas City that had been incorporated just four years before. All that’s left of the land where so many horses used to roam is a well-maintained green rectangle at the end of a residential cul-de-sac. Surrounded by a black wrought iron fence, Lawrin rests easy after a life lived at top speed.

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The area is easily accessed by a quick stop in a car, bicycling, walking, and other similar means.

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