Kinghaven Farms

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Kinghaven Farms
Horse breeding farm and
Thoroughbred racing stable
Headquarters4305 King Road
King City, Ontario, Canada
Key people

Kinghaven Farms is a thoroughbred horse racing stable founded in 1967 by Donald G. "Bud" Willmot. Located in King City, Ontario, north of Toronto, the success of the stable would see it expand to the United States with the acquisition of a 660-acre (2.7 km2) farm and training center near Ocala, Florida. Kinghaven became a father/son operation in 1974 when Bud's son David S. Willmot began managing the farm's racing/breeding programs. In 2004, Willmot announced that Kinghaven was shutting down its Thoroughbred operation, although he would continue to race a handful of horses in following years.


One of the most decorated racing stables in Canadian history, on five occasions it won Canada's most important horse race, the Queen's Plate. American John J. Tammaro, Jr., one of the Big Four of Maryland Thoroughbred racing, was head trainer from 1976 to 1985. He conditioned five Canadian Champions for Kinghaven, including the 1979 Queen's Plate winner Steady Growth and U.S. Champion 2-Yr-Old Colt and Canadian Horse of the Year, Deputy Minister. Trainer Roger Attfield succeeded Tammaro in 1985. En route to being inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, Attfield won numerous prestigious races for Kinghaven in North America including four editions of the Queen's Plate.

Since inception, Kinghaven Farms has bred or raced more than 150 stakes race winners, including back-to-back Canadian Triple Crown champions With Approval and Izvestia in 1989 and 1990. At its peak, Kinghaven Farms had 250 horses including nearly 100 broodmares and owned syndicate shares in close to two dozen top stallions standing at Kentucky stud farms.[2] The stable has earned 30 Sovereign Awards including champion breeder on nine occasions plus another five as champion owner.

Bud Wilmott was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1991.[2] Following his death in 1994, his son David assumed sole control. In 2004, Willmott announced that, lacking a stallion operation to generate additional revenue, Kinghaven Farms was shutting down its Thoroughbred operations.[3]

David Willmot was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2005.[4] He was president and chief executive officer of Woodbine Entertainment Group from 1995 to 2010 and was chairman from 2001 to 2012. During his tenure, Woodbine invested approximately $385 million in upgrading its facilities and technology. Woodbine also played host to both the Breeders’ Cup and Breeders Crown championships, the only racetrack to have hosted both.[5]

Notable Horses[edit]

Notable horses owned or bred by Kinghaven include:[2][1]

  • Steady Growth - 1979 Queen's Plate winner
  • Deputy Minister - 1981 Canadian Horse of the Year, champion 2-year-old in both Canada and the United States
  • Summer Mood, champion sprinter of 1985[6]
  • Carotene, winner of six Sovereign Awards from 1986 to 1988
  • Market Control - 1987 Queen's Plate winner
  • Play the King - 1988 Canadian Horse of the Year
  • With Approval, 1989 Canadian Horse of the Year and Triple Crown winner[7]
  • Izvestia - 1990 Canadian Horse of the Year and Triple Crown winner
  • Alydeed - 1992 Queen's Plate winner, second in the Preadness Stakes[1]
  • Alywow - 1994 Canadian Horse of the Year

Employee fraud at Kinghaven Farms[edit]

On February 20, 2007 Kinghaven Farms' bookkeeper, Christiane Krohn, turned herself in to police to face fraud-related charges stemming from allegations that she stole more than $500,000 from the organization over a period of 7 years. She appeared before the Ontario Court of Justice in Newmarket on March 29, 2007,[8] and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.[9]


  1. ^ a b c "Statistics - Kinghaven Farms". Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "D.G. (Bud) Willmot - Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame". Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  3. ^ "Kinghaven Shutting Down Horse Operation, But Willmot Will Continue to Own Mares". Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  4. ^ "David S. Willmot - Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame". Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  5. ^ "Woodbine: Willmot retires as chairman of Woodbine Entertainment Group". Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  6. ^ "Canadian Champion Summer Mood Dead". Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  7. ^ "Canadian Great With Approval Dies". Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  8. ^ York Regional Police Press Release
  9. ^ The Harness Edge. Kinghaven’s Former Bookkeeper Sentenced

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°54′45″N 79°35′42″W / 43.912583°N 79.595073°W / 43.912583; -79.595073