While I was at Old Friends, I met that nice lady named Melissa, who hailed from upstate New York. As we were wrapping up the tour by perusing the offerings in the farm gift shop, I heard her ask her friend about what time they were supposed to be visiting India. I must admit to being a bit confused, given that we were standing in the middle of Kentucky. Silly me... of course they were talking about a horse! Specifically, a retired race mare, now a broodmare, a horse who Melissa had frequently visited in the shedrow at Saratoga and was very anxious to see again. She was living now back at Summer Wind farm right across the street from Old Friends. To my surprise, the ladies asked me if I would like to go with them to see the horse.
While I was in the midst of contemplating this kind offer (I didn't leap at it because I wasn't sure about wading into the middle of a happy reunion), another lady walked in. She knew the secretary at Old Friends and immediately told her about what a great time she'd just had visiting WinStar Farm, which was having an Open House in honor of Breeder's Cup weekend. WinStar Farm? Open House? REALLY? This certainly made me prick up my ears. Normally one has to make a reservation in advance to tour any of the big-time Bluegrass establishments, much less one which owns a Derby-winning stallion. That would be Super Saver, who came in first in 2010 under Calvin Borel (and I really do need to find that photo of me with Calvin to show you guys!). I asked the lady how long the Open House lasted and how far away the farm was. She said she expected they'd be open at least until 2:00 (it was about 12:45) and the farm was 20 minutes away. That did it - I hastily said goodbye to Melissa and friend and was in my car like a shot. I was most anxious to check out a premier breeding facility like the ones I'd been driving by, having only ever been to one in the past (Claiborne).
The only drawback to this instant plan was that it was lunch time and I was very, very hungry (Tinners Way was a long ways uphill at OF and we walked quite a distance to begin with). Fortunately I had some trail mix in the car, so in between stuffing a few handfuls of that in my mouth, phoning my husband to tell him my incredible luck in finding out about the Open House, and constantly checking the GPS (remember, this area is chock-full of back roads and winding lanes) I made it to WinStar in good time. I decided I would simply not worry about the fact that I was not dressed in anything remotely resembling "rich TB mare owner/breeder/trainer attire" and besides, pulling up in my eight-year-old Toyota minivan would probably give anyone scouting the parking lot a clue that I was not there to potentially blow a hundred thou on a stud fee. An Open House was an Open House, dammit, and hopefully they wouldn't care if the hoi polloi dropped in to get an eyeful of equine eye candy.
A nice young man directed me to a parking spot and I hopped out, determined to put on a brave exterior and act like I belonged (hah). The stallion barn at WinStar did NOTdisappoint, folks. You can go here to see a slideshow of the place, but here are my shots of the exterior:
|This handsome fellow is Tiznow, who can be your mare's beau for a mere $75,000!|
Tiznow and Distorted Humor themselves are responsible for millions and millions of dollar of earnings on the racetrack, and their progeny are following suit. I saw several other stallions brought out as well. Still, I was a little disappointed that Super Saver was not present, but away breeding in the southern hemisphere. It's okay - the last Derby winner I ran across I got to actually pet (Monarchos, at Claiborne).
This is the actual breeding area at WinStar, with padded walls all the way around. It's linked by a covered walkway to the stallion barn.
his Wikipedia article. I'll admit I really didn't know much about him but I certainly recognize a lot of the horses in his pedigree (he shares Princequillo as a grandsire with Big Red), and he is Zenyatta's grandpap (Vertigineux's sire)! I'm glad he is properly honored at WinStar.
Needless to say, it was all extremely impressive. If I was a TB breeder I would certainly be most interested in bringing a mare to this particular court. Incidentally, I was not the only 'tire kicker' visiting the farm that day. There were families with small children, there to show the kids the "pretty horsies," and other just plain enthusiasts, so I need not have worried about being an interloper. And guess who else showed up? Melissa and her friend, from my Old Friends visit. It turned out their appointment to see the now-retired mare at Summer Wind wasn't until 2:30, so they had time to come over to WinStar. Which is how I also found myself re-invited to join them at Summer Wind, and why you will next be reading about that, my last big adventure in KY this time around!