Tag along with Lindsay and Kim to deliver a mare to First Defence at Juddmonte Farm.
At the reasonable hour of 8 am I loaded the mare to drive just a few miles over to Walnut Hill Rd to picturesque Juddmonte Farm. My friend, Kim Ammeter, armed with the camera, met us in the parking area, intent of snapping a few great photos. The sun was topping the trees and the lighting was dramatic, sort of navy blue and gold.
Juddmonte has three farms in Kentucky and is owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Beginning with the purchase of 592 acres of the Bluegrass from the Belair estate in 1977, Juddmonte now spans 2508 acres in Kentucky. Winner of 10 Eclipse Awards, breeder of 65 starters in the Breeders Cup Championships who collectively topped earnings of $7.9 million dollars. Breeder of Frankel, now retired, who was undefeated in 14 races, a product of several generations of carefully selected Juddmonte breeding.
Today the mare has come to the court of young stallion, First Defence, who has already made his mark siring the 2 year old runner, Dundonnell. First Defence is by Taylor Made’s big grey stallion , Unbridled Song, who stands just a few miles down the road, and out of Honest Lady by Seattle Slew, a Juddmonte family mare who is a half sister to Empire Maker, who Juddmonte recently sent to Japan.
Cinnamon Charlie, a daughter of Indian Charlie out of a Cox’s Ridge mare, is a tall, dark mare built like her breeding would predict, a career earner of $65,000 and already the dam of winners. We unload, and she walks up the crushed red brick path to the red brick shed with wide curved mantles like the experienced mare she is.
Longtime buddy, Steve Dotsey, Stallion Manager at Juddmonte, soon arrived with the teaser in hand and the show was set to roll. Another truck and trailer pulled in, from Brookledge , bringing an Airdrie mare to be bred to Mizzen Mast.
The holding stalls are spacious and tall, freshly bedded with a thick mat of pine shavings. Steve’s breeding crew shows up,all donning their safety helmets and padded vests and the mare is quickly teased, washed and prepped. Kim and I stand on the wood deck just inside the breeding area,protected by a paneled wall. Kim has to be on tiptoe to look over the wall to get photos.
First Defence, polished to a rich dark mahogany, saunters in to the shed, disappears into the wash stall and soon reappears, washed and ready to breed. Two jumps, and soon Cinnamon Charlie is happily back in the trailer heading back home.