Stallion barn at WinStar Farm
Racing colors of WinStar Farm
|Horse breeding stud farm and
Thoroughbred racing stable
|Industry||Thoroughbred horse racing|
|Headquarters||3001 Pisgah Pike
|Eclipse Award for Outstanding Owner (2010)|
|Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder (2016)|
WinStar Farm is an American Thoroughbred horse breeding and racing farm near Versailles, Kentucky. It stands several notable stallions, including Tiznow, Distorted Humor and Pioneerof the Nile, sire of American Pharoah. It has also raced several notable horses, including Super Saver, winner of the 2010 Kentucky Derby; Drosselmeyer, winner of the 2010 Belmont Stakes; and Creator, winner of the 2016 Belmont Stakes. WinStar Farm won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Owner in 2010 and was won the Outstanding Breeder award in 2016.
The core of the property was Silver Pool Farm, a 450-acre (180 ha) farm settled in the late 1700s by the Williams family from the Tidewater area of Virginia, which remained in that family for over 150 years. The area was first surveyed in 1788 and the original Silver Pool farm was settled by Daniel Williams, a descendant of Roger Williams. His wife, Mary, was a relative of Andrew Jackson. The couple were among the founders of the local Baptist Church. Their sons Daniel and John went on to own the Silver Pool property and it was used for raising livestock and for manufacturing products from hemp. John's grandson, Claude S. Williams, also lived there and was known as a successful and "locally prominent" farmer and stockman. The farm was known to have been owned by the Williams family at least through the 1930s.
Several buildings on the property are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The original pond was used as a location for cutting and hauling ice. The NRHP historic portion of the property is part of the Pisgah Rural Historic District and lies mostly along Pisgah Pike road. The conforming structures include the original farmhouse from the settlement period, circa 1784-1790, when Virginia families first moved into the region. It had additions built onto it sometime after the Civil War but retains its historic character. A brick smoke house, tobacco barn that was converted to a horse barn, and the spring-fed, stone-lined pond also are listed. Along a portion of the Pisgah Pike that adjoins the property, a natural hedge of Osage orange has grown so tall that it has become a canopy arching over the road, and is also noted on the NRHP as a historically significant feature.
Over time, most of Silver Pool became part of the 400 acre Prestonwood Farm, owned by Houston, Texas oilmen Jack, Art, and J. R. Preston, whose better known horses included Da Hoss and Victory Gallop. In 2000, Kenny Troutt and Bill Casner, both with long-standing interests in horses, came together to purchase Prestonwood, renaming it WinStar Farm. Included in the purchase were the stallions Distorted Humor, still standing at WinStar and the sire of 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide, and Kris S.. Over the years, WinStar has steadily grown, incorporating land from the nearby Olsen, Johnson and Kinkead farms, and as of 2016, consists of over 2,400 acres (970 ha) housing over 20 stallions, as well as a large broodmare band and facilities for weanlings and yearlings.
In 2002, WinStar made its first major stallion acquisition —Tiznow, the only two-time winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic, having won that event in 2000 and 2001. Although Tiznow's pedigree was not fashionable, WinStar took a gamble that paid off when Tiznow became the leading freshman sire of 2005. He has ranked among the top thirty sires in North America for many years, and was among the top five sires in 2008 and 2009. He is now developing into a successful sire of sires.
Dave Cauthen, brother of jockey Steve Cauthen, was named the first president and CEO of WinStar. In 2005, W. Elliott Walden, who had trained Distorted Humor and several WinStar horses, became vice president and racing manager. In 2010, Troutt and Casner dissolved their partnership, leaving Troutt as the sole owner of WinStar. Later that year, Walden replaced Cauthen as president and CEO.
In 2013, WinStar built a new stallion barn that houses 18 stallions, with covered access to two breeding sheds and two viewing areas. There are twenty-two paddocks of 3 acres each in which the stallions are turned out each day. A secondary barn acts as a quarantine area for stallions shuttling to the Southern Hemisphere, and also houses stallions when there is no room for them in the main barn. They also have an extensive training facility for teaching young Thoroughbreds the basics of racing. Graduates of their training program include such notable horses as Songbird and Honor Code.
WinStar was a finalist for the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder in 2008. WinStar won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Owner in 2010. WinStar offers an innovative "Dream Big" program, which offers breeders the opportunity to earn a lifetime breeding right to a young stallion after producing just two live foals from his first books. Troutt said that in the volatile thoroughbred industry, the keys to survival are to not let emotions drive bidding and to always be willing to sell.
WinStar Farm won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder of 2016 after leading all North American breeders with earnings of $10,516,427, led by Tourist. Horses bred by WinStar earned 15 graded stakes wins and 239 overall wins in 2016, placing WinStar first in these categories as well.
WinStar at the races
Although WinStar is known primarily as a stud farm, they have also raced several notable horses under WinStar's colors.
- Bluegrass Cat, won the 2006 Haskell Invitational and was second in the Derby, a homebred by Storm Cat
- Colonel John, won the 2008 Santa Anita Derby and Haskell Invitational, a homebred by Tiznow
- Well Armed, won the 2009 Dubai World Cup by a record 14 lengths, a homebred by Tiznow
- Super Saver†, won the 2010 Kentucky Derby, a homebred by Maria's Mon
- Drosselmeyer, won the 2010 Belmont Stakes and 2011 Breeders' Cup Classic, a homebred by Distorted Humor
- Commissioner†, won the 2015 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap, 2nd in the 2014 Belmont, a homebred by A.P. Indy
- Creator, winner of the 2016 Belmont Stakes, a son of Tapit, purchased at the 2014 Keeneland September sales for $440,000
- Tourist†, winner of the 2016 Breeders' Cup Mile, a homebred by Tiznow
- "Homebred" means WinStar owned the dam of the horse at time of foaling, not the sire.
† Currently stands at WinStar Farms
Tourist after the Breeders' Cup Mile
- Distorted Humor (1993) — leading sire of 2011. Notable offspring include dual Classic winner Funny Cide and Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer. Distorted Humor is also a successful sire of sires, including Flower Alley, sire of Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another. Distorted Humor once stood for as much as $300,000, before a downturn in the bloodstock market caused his fee to decline to the current level of $80,000
- Tiznow (1997) — leading American freshmen sire of 2005 and consistently in the top rank of sires since then. His leading progeny include 2008 Belmont Stakes winner Da' Tara and Santa Anita Derby winner Colonel John. His current stud fee is $60,000
- Speightstown (1998) — winner of the 2004 Breeders' Cup Sprint, top 10 sire for six straight years, his fee is now $100,000 thanks to multiple grade I winners
- Pioneerof the Nile (2006) — leading third crop sire of 2015 due in large part to American Pharoah. As a result of this success, Pioneerof the Nile's stud fee jumped from $60,000 in 2015 to a farm-high $125,000 in 2016. For 2017, the fee is $110,000.
- Artie Schiller (2001) — won Breeders' Cup Mile, a good sire with a current fee of $10,000
- Bodemeister (2009) - third-ranked freshman sire of 2016, current fee $25,000
- Carpe Diem (2012) — stood his first season in 2016 for a fee of $25,000. First foals will be of racing age in 2019
- Commissioner (2011) — stood his first season in 2016 for a fee of $7,500. First foals will be of racing age in 2019
- Congrats (2000) — leading freshman sire in 2010, currently stands for $20,000
- Constitution (2011) — won the 2014 Florida Derby and the 2015 Donn Handicap, stood his first season in 2016 for a fee of $25,000. First foals will be of racing age in 2019
- Daredevil (2012) — won the 2012 Champagne Stakes, stood his first season in 2016 for a fee of $7,500. First foals will be of racing age in 2019
- Exaggerator (2013) – won the 2016 Preakness Stakes. first season stallion of 2017 with a fee of $30,000
- Fed Biz (2009) — stood his first season in 2015, first foals of racing age in 2018, current fee $10,000
- Gemologist (2009) — number five freshman sire of 2016, current fee $25,000
- More Than Ready (1997) — a leading sire in both the northern and southern hemispheres with over 60 graded stakes winners, currently stands for $60,000
- Outwork (2013) – first season stallion for 2017 with a fee of $15,000
- Overanalyze (2010) — stood his first season in 2014, first foals of racing age in 2017, current fee $10,000
- Paynter (2009) — stood his first season in 2014, first foals will be of racing age in 2017, current fee $20,000
- Revolutionary (2010) — stood his first season in 2015, first foals of racing age in 2018, current fee $7,500
- Speightster (2012) – first season stallion for 2017 with a fee of $10,000
- Super Saver (2007) — second-ranked second crop sire of 2015, sire of champion Runhappy, current fee $50,000
- Tourist (2011) – Breeders' Cup Turf winner of 2016. first season stallion for 2017 with a fee of $12,500
Bluegrass Cat, was retired to stud at WinStar in Kentucky but now stands at Ballena Vista Farm in California on lease.
- Kris S. died in 2002 at the age of 25. At the time of his death, he had sired 63 stakes winners, including four Breeder's Cup winners and two Eclipse Award champions, with progeny earnings of $48 million. In 2003, Action this Day became his final Breeders' Cup winner and champion. Kris S. is buried at WinStar, just outside the entrance to the stallion barn
- Victory Gallop, the 1998 Belmont Stakes winner and the 1999 U.S. Champion Older Male Horse, was sold to the Jockey Club of Turkey in 2008
- Colonel John was sold to the Korea Thoroughbred Breeders Association in September 2016
- Drosselmeyer was sold to Stud TNT and now stands in Brazil
- Take Charge Indy was sold to the Korea Racing Association in November 2017
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