Thursday, March 21, 2013

Back to The Shed ~ Historic Gainesway and Hat Trick

The second half of a busy day, finds Lindsay Hunter delivering a mare to Hat Trick. A great read about the history of Gainesway Farm.
Gainesway 3/19/13

I’ve been going to Gainesway’s breeding shed since 1980. Back then, before the 4 stall stallion barns (that won an Architectural Design Award ) were built, every morning the mares lined up along the long crushed brick walk waiting to be bred to any one of 38 stallions that stood at stud there.
Across the parking lot was the small private stallion barn of Nelson Bunker Hunt , that housed , among others, Vaguely Noble, Exceller and Youth.
John Gaines first raised his Trotters and Racehorses on land on Tates Creek Road south of Lexington.. Back in Taylor Made days, I took care of Kerry Way, that won the Hambletonian for him, and was the dam of Classical Way, another great trotter.
This was land that had produced the winner of the first Kentucky Derby, Aristides in 1875.
Joe L. Taylor (father of Duncan, Ben , Frank and Mark ) had come to work for John Gaines in 1950. During his 40 year tenure as Gainesways’ Farm Manager, Joe saw six Gainesway stallions lead the World’s Sire List, the American Sire List, and the European Sire List , namely Bold Bidder, Vaguely Noble, Lyphard, Blushing Groom , Riverman and Sharpen Up.
In 1963, the land was sold for development (Gainesway Subdivision ) and John Gaines purchased 500 acres on Paris Pike, from Greentree Farm, across the road from the renowned Spendthrift Farm of Leslie Combs II, including the cemetery of Greentree, where, amongst others is buried Regret , winner of the1915 Kentucky Derby, who died in 1934.
Home to as many as 38 stallions in the early 80’s,Gainesway produced both Standardbred and Thoroughbred Champions.
John Gaines was a pioneer before his time, having the enlightenment to found the Breeders Cup program, and helped develop the Kentucky Horse Park, just up the road on famous Iron Works Pike.
In 1989, Gainesway was sold to South African horseman and vintner, Graham R. Beck and his family, who have continued the Gainesway traditions. Under the watchful and excellent guidance of Michael Hernon and Neil Howard, Antony Beck’s Gainesway continues to uphold it’s world renowned reputation.
Today I am bringing the mare, Moolakaya to the court of Hat Trick, the almost black son of Japanese stallion, Sunday Silence, who was foaled at Claiborne Farm in Paris, right along the pike in Bourbon County. Hat Trick, foaled in Japan out of the Lost Code mare, Tricky Code, ran one of the fastest miles in history, in a blistering 1.32.1( 8 furlongs in 92.1 seconds . That‘s 11.51 seconds a furlong ! ) and is the only champion and Grade 1 stallion in the US by Sunday Silence.
His son, Bright Thought, just this past Saturday, set a new track record in the $150,000 San Luis Rey Stakes, clipping off the one and half miles in a scorching 2.22.72. Like father, like son !

 The mare, Moolakaya, by Alzao, a son of Lyphard who stood at Gainesway, unloads quietly and makes herself comfortable in the deep straw of the teasing stall. In the corner overhead, a speaker issues forth the nickering and squealing of a stallion, designed to get the mare ‘in the mood ‘. Meanwhile, the real teaser hangs his head through the teasing hatch, nibbling on her flank and sniffing her tail. Soon she ‘breaks down’ showing her readiness, and we move into the padded wash stocks.
The breeding shed crew hasn’t changed much in 35 years, Carl Buckner has taken over the head position, since long time Stallion Manager, Marion Gross, passed away. Chico and James are still there, Tommy took over Chico’s position washing the mares a few years back. Andre, also from South Africa (like me ) joined the crew after interning at Taylor Made, maybe 8 or 9 years ago. In the staff room still hangs a framed photo from back in the early 80’s and it shows the shed crew that was working when I first started going to Gainesway. James ,Chico,Carl and of course, Marion Gross , were much younger then !
Kim has accompanied me on this trip, and she is busy snapping photos. We are asked not to take any in the shed, but Carl gives permission to snap some of Hat Trick walking over from the Stallion Barn.
James takes the mare and twitches her up. Carl guides Hat Trick, Chico holds the tail, and it’s all over.
Soon we have Moolakaya back in the trailer and headed home to her waiting foal. Maybe she’ll have another speedster !


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