Visual Arts

Ferraris featured at this year's Concours d'Elegance

The prancing horses are coming to the Horse Capital of the World.

The prancing horses we're referring to are the symbol of Ferrari, the famed Italian builder of sports and competition cars that have dominated racing and warmed the hearts of motor sports fans for 60 years.

The prancing horse emblem will be out in force at Keeneland Race Course on Saturday because Ferrari will be the featured make at the 7th annual Keeneland Concours d'Elegance. Proceeds from the "show of elegance" will go to Kentucky Children's Hospital.

Ferraris of all kinds will grace the show grounds, from racing cars that tore up the tracks in the 1950s and '60s to modern-day, super street cars that can cruise the boulevards at 200 mph.

Numerous other rare and exotic cars from all over the world also will be on display, including cars built a century ago and some of the latest offerings of modern manufacturers. One hundred of the best will be competing for trophies under the eagle eyes of concours judges, who will be looking for the slightest blemish that could mean the difference between winning and losing.

More than $1 million worth of antique and classic motorcycles also will be on display. Two-wheel enthusiasts can ogle such rare items as a 1912 Abingdon King Dick or a 1951 Vincent Black Lightning, a cousin to the 1952 model in Richard Thompson's famous song.

This year for the first time the concours also will include classic wooden racing motorboats from bygone years. Those who like their speed on water can savor everything from a 1926 Gold Cup racer to a Harmsworth Trophy boat with an engine from luxury car maker Hispano-Suiza.

Automotive art and related items will be on sale, and a 2010 Porsche Boxster will be raffled off.

"You won't be able to walk 10 feet this year without seeing something special," promises concours co-chairman Tom Jones.

Particularly notable cars will include:

■ A 1952 Ferrari 375 single-seater, one of four built specially for the Indianapolis 500.

■ The Ferrari 250 LM that won the 1965 LeMans 24-Hour race, driven by Germany's Jochen Rindt and Masten Gregory, the colorful, bespectacled "Kansas City Flash."

■ The No. 19 Crosley Hotshot that won the first Grand Prix of Endurance at Sebring, Fla., in 1950. The tiny car barely could top 70 mph. It won because the race was run under an "index of performance," a mathematical formula that rewarded efficiency over speed.

■ A 1907 American Underslung, thought to be the second one built. Many call the Underslung America's first sports car.

Ferraris will be the stars of the show.

The cars and the company that makes them were created by Enzo Ferrari, born in Modena, Italy, in 1898. Ferrari had little education, but he had a genius for speed. After winning some races as a driver, he gained initial fame as a racing-team manager in the 1930s. Ferrari started building his own cars after World War II, each carrying the emblem of a prancing horse on a yellow shield. Ferrari died in 1988, but his prancing horses continue to epitomize speed and Italian style.

Which is why fans like Lexington's Chris Cashen lust after them. Cashen acquired a Ferrari 308 Quattrovalvole a few years ago.

"We drove it back to Lexington from Atlanta, listening to the Kentucky-Louisville football game on the radio," Cashen recalled. "It was an absolutely fantastic trip."

Now, Cashen and his middle son, Pete, 9, drive the Ferrari to buy doughnuts at Magee's Bakery most every Saturday. Theirs is one of the Ferraris that will be shown at the concours.

Cashen noted that he and Pete have a special reason to be taking part in the show. Pete developed a mysterious and frightening illness when he was about 18 months old. Ultimately, Kentucky Children's Hospital doctors determined that Pete had contracted a rare infection playing with dirt in the back yard at home. He recovered after eight surgeries.

"Kentucky Children's Hospital has a special place in our hearts," Cashen said.