The Road to the Derby

The Road to the Derby

The Rebel Stakes is a key marker on the road to the Kentucky Derby with a total of 85 Derby qualifying points allotted to the top four finishers. American Pharoah won The Rebel and went on to be our Triple Crown Champion in 2015! The St. Patrick’s Day race features 11 Kentucky Derby hopefuls with the majority having at least one connection to Horse Country!

'Tis the season for breeding

It is officially breeding season in Horse Country so we wanted to share some (family friendly) information all about how we will get the next generation of champions. There's much more to know than we could cover in a blog post and infographic, so we do hope you'll visit one of our stud farms for more of the story!. But we can get you started with our Breeding Season 101.


When a thoroughbred foal is born, it must be registered with The Jockey Club that it was produced from a "live cover". Industry practice requires thoroughbreds to be conceived naturally, not with AI or other methods. While it is primarily tradition, is also ensures honest and accurate progenies.

Why do foals have two birthdays? Much like the live breeding requirements, this boils down to tradition. All foals born in the northern hemisphere share the birthday of January 1 and it helps to standardize sales and racing qualifications.


On any of our farm tours that discusses breeding, you'll learn all about the safety measures and tools the staff uses to keep all horses and people happy and healthy.

Stud fees are set every year based on the success of a stallion and his progeny. Currently, the highest American stud fee belongs to Tapit at $300,000.

Kentucky is the leading state for mares bred and foals born. We are the Horse Capital of the world for a reason! Learn more with The Jockey Club's State Fact Book.

Want to learn more about the thoroughbred breeding process? Book your visit to a Horse Country location!

Want to print out the infographic? We made a printer-friendly version just for you!

Handicapping 101: What to Expect ( it for you!?!?)

Handicapping 101: What to Expect ( it for you!?!?)

Greetings from Horse Country - where the air is crisp, foaling season is officially under way, and we're following the Derby prep races with an eye toward the first Saturday in May. 

Racing is an entity unto itself, and for many fans, the language and structure around handicapping can be opaque and overwhelming. Enter Phillip Shelton, resident handicapper at Taylor Made Farm and Manager of Medallion Racing.  

It's Foal O' Clock Somewhere

So, if you have seen any of our social media pages in the last few days, you might have noticed something. It's foal season and we are kind of excited! Foals are a sign of a new year, a herald of Spring, and the promise of new thrills in racing. When you really think about it, they are a sign of hope. There is boundless potential with each new colt and filly that is born. For all we know, the next legendary horse could have stood for the first time this year at a farm right here in Horse Country. It seems pretty likely since Kentucky foaled thoroughbreds held 40% of racing earnings in 2016.

Every champion, from Jordan to Phelps to Ali to American Pharoah, started out on wobbly little legs snuggled up next to momma ("Started From the Bottom" plays in the background). While they have several years before they see the track, we like to think they spend their nights dreaming of rose garlands and eclipse awards. In just about a year, they will be yearlings and spend 2019 gearing up for the sales that take place in the fall. By age two, they will have reached 90% of their full growth and we'll get to see what they can really do. They will be winning races and we will fondly remember when their steps were a little more unsure.  


If you head over to, you can see real time video of moms and babies out at the farms. It is easy to spend your entire day watching Sabbatical and her colt bond in the stall or stretch their legs in the paddock. 

We are a little early in the season, but the fields will be flush with foals as we make our way in to Spring. This is the perfect time to say hello to all of those future champions! There could be a new baby with each visit!

The Boys Are Back In Town

Unless you've been ignoring social media the last couple of weeks, you have probably noticed the exciting news about our shuttled stallions. Some of racing's top celebrities are finally back home in Horse Country! If you've missed these studs while they were down south (and we are pretty sure you did), it is time to celebrate and welcome them back! American Pharoah, Air Force Blue, Vancouver, Frosted, Medaglio d'Oro, Street Boss, Animal Kingdom, Mshawish, and California Chrome have all settled in back on their respective farms.

 Photo: Laura Richard

Photo: Laura Richard

 photo: Coolmore Stud

photo: Coolmore Stud

These guys got to spend the last 6 months or so in some incredible destinations like Australia and Chile. #travelgoals! They weren't on vacation though, not entirely at least. There was still work to be done at their temporary homes. Our top stallions were called overseas to do the important job of creating the next generation of great thoroughbreds in the Southern Hemisphere. 

Don't worry though! They were still treated like the champions that they are. They traveled by air (which became routine for them through their racing careers) accompanied by travel buddies and a dedicated staff of grooms and vets whose ultimate goal was to keep them happy and healthy. 

Of course, they had their entourage with them on the way back to their old Kentucky homes and we are pleased to know (although not entirely surprised due to the staff's expertise) that the stallions are settling in just fine to their old stalls, paddocks, and routines.

While we have certainly missed them, absence makes the heart grow fonder and we are beyond excited for all our guests to visit their favorites! American Pharoah, Air Force Blue and Vancouver are back home at Coolmore at Ashford Stud; Frosted, Medaglio d'Oro, Street Boss and Animal Kingdom have returned to Godolphin at Jonabell; and Mshawish and California Chrome are back at it at Taylor Made Farm! Be sure to book your tour so you can welcome them back in person!

 Photo: Godolphin at Jonabell

Photo: Godolphin at Jonabell

 Photo: Taylor Made Farm

Photo: Taylor Made Farm

Taking It All In Stride

Taking It All In Stride

“No foot, no horse.” A pertinent industry saying for Ryan Watson, Darby Dan’s Stallion Manager, as we observed DIALED IN receive his new set of shoes made just for him. The morning began at 8:30am when Stuart Muir, a farrier with Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, pulled off the stallion’s current set, which had only been glued on five weeks prior. The old adhesive was filed away and his hoof was cleaned of mud and debris to make way for his shiny new set. This set, like every other, would be custom tailored to fit DIALED IN’s feet specifically. Using tools that look like they belong on the set of Game of Thrones, Stuart shapes the metal, measures it against the hoof, and shapes it some more. Like a glass slipper, it has to fit perfectly. 



Now that we have recovered from the holiday weekend and the madness that is Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we are so pleased to wish everyone a happy and generous #GivingTuesday! Today is a global day of giving fueled by social media and kicks off the charitable season when many focus on gift giving and donations. Last year, the movement generated over $168 million in donations and they are on course to exceed that number! Will you be part of the movement?.

129 Reasons to Watch the Breeder's Cup


The 34th running of the Breeder's Cup will not be one to miss. This international field of unparalleled depth cultivates two of the most exciting days of thoroughbred racing beginning tomorrow, November 3. The world's top horses will go nose to nose in 13 different races and this year we are up to our withers in greatness with 129 Horse Country connections (possibly even more!) We won't overload you by listing every single one but you can follow our members on social media and celebrate each victory with us!

Lane's End has 17 connections
Pin Oak Stud has 2 connections
Runnymede has 2 connections
Spendthrift has 10 connections
Stonestreet has 8 connections
Taylor Made Farm has 6 connections
Three Chimneys has 5 connections
WinStar Farm has 10 connections
Winter Quarter has 1 connection

Adena Spring has 7 connections
Airdrie Stud has 5 connections
Brookdale has 1 connection
Claiborne has 15 connections
Coolmore at Ashford Stud has 14 connections
Darby Dan has 2 connections
Diamond A has 1 connection
Gainesway has 7 connections
Godolphin at Jonabell has 16 connections

What is a connection exactly? Let's break it down using the Breeder's Cup Classic as an example.

Breeder's Cup Classic:

1. Arrogate
Taylor Made Farm was the home of Unbridled's Song who is Arrogate's sire

2. War Decree
Claiborne Farm is home to War Front who is the sire of War Decree

3. Win The Space
Win The Space was bred by Spendthrift. This is also the home of his dam, Teamgeist. She also once lived at Three Chimneys. His sire, Pulpit, stands at Claiborne Farm.

4. War Story
Northern Afleet, War Story's sire, stands at Taylor Made. Belle Waiting, his dam, lives at Brookdale

5. Gun Runner
Gun Runner is owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC and Three Chimney's. His sire, Candy Ride, stands at Lane's End

6. Mubtaanij
Mubtaanij is owned by Godolphin

7. Churchill

8. West Coast
West Coast's sire, Flatter, stands at Claiborne. His dam, Caressing, lives at Airdrie Stud

9. Gunnevera
Was sired by Dialed In who stands at Darby Dan

10. Pavel
Pavel was bred by WinStar Farm and was sired by Creative Cause who stands at Airdrie Stud. These two Horse Country members are co-owners of Pavel's dam, Mons Venus.

11. Collected
Collected was bred by Runnymede Farm which is also the home of his dam, Pavel. His sire, City Zip, stood at Lane's End.


10 of the last 20 Classic winners have all been connected to Horse Country members. Will we have another to add to the roster? Tune in this Friday and Saturday to NBC Sports to watch the excitement unfold!

2016 Breeder's Cup Classic