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After Long Wait, Work Begins On Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden

Josh James

While celebrated jockey Isaac Murphy broke racing records, it took more than seven years for his Lexington memorial to get to the starting gate.

Monday’s groundbreaking was described by more than one speaker as “a long time coming.”

"The road has been long, steep, winding, and filled with hurdles, but we've overcome all of them," said garden board member Thomas Tolliver.

Tolliver was referencing the complicated planning, financing, and delays that have characterized the last seven-and-a-half years of work on the part of supporters. Now, with funding in place, the $700,000 memorial art garden is slated for completion in November.

Mayor Jim Gray said the project will feature original artwork and sculptures by local artists.

"This park, once the site of Isaac Murphy's home, will honor the contributions of all the pioneers to horseracing in the community. The garden will serve as an extraordinary gathering place," he said.

A three-time Kentucky Derby winner and National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame member, Isaac Murphy is considered one of the most successful jockeys in the history of racing.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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