Updated: Sep 4, 2019
The black fences of Lane’s End Farm greet visitors long before their entrance does. Green pastures stretch as far as the eye can see. Dots of chestnut, grey, and bay decorate the distance. It is one of the most beautiful things one will ever see.
Woodford County as a whole is known for its bourbon and its horses. The county prides itself for having the largest agricultural income in Kentucky, mostly because of its huge equine industry. Undoubtedly, Lane’s End Farm belongs here. Lane’s End Farm’s 40th anniversary is this year, but the land on which it resides has been producing champion racehorses for decades longer than that. In 1865, retired Confederacy general Abe Buford returned home to his farm, Bosque Bonita (“Beautiful Woods” in Spanish). It is there that Leamington, sire of the first Kentucky Derby winner, stood stud. It is also where Mannie Gray, dam of the great Domino, was raised.
In 1979, William Farrish purchased 240 acres of land. Part of that was Bosque Bonita. That year marked the very beginning of what is now a horse racing powerhouse. Lane’s End Farm now sprawls out over thousands of perfectly manicured acres.
A stallion complex was built at Lane’s End in 1985 and thus a new stallion division was born. Among the first stallions were Dixieland Band, Fit To Fight, and Hero’s Honor. It was not a bad roster at all for a new farm. Dixieland Band sired 117 stakes winners! In 1989, the great A.P. Indy was born at Lane’s End Farm. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest things to ever happen to Lane’s End Farm. He is the first stallion there to cover more than 100 mares in one season. The living legend still resides there today.
A new stallion complex was built in 1990 and all stallions were relocated to the new complex. Within those three, eight-stall barns is where countless outstanding horses have resided. It is where Kingmambo became an influential sire in multiple continents. It is where Smart Strike built an empire of progeny that earned $118 million. And this is where any visitors will be allowed to meet some of today’s greatest sires.
Lane’s End Farm expands its reach and influence in the sport everyday. But it is also a place in which tradition reigns supreme. The farm owned Secretariat’s daughter Weekend Surprise, then raced and stood her son A.P. Indy at stud, and now A.P. Indy’s sons Honor Code and Mineshaft own stalls in the stallion complex.
Dixieland Band started Lane’s End Farm off on the right foot. Dixieland Band is honored in the same graveyard in which his son Dixie Union eternally rests. Not a far walk from there, Dixie Union’s son Union Rags naps in his stall.
The farm stands Candy Ride for $80,000, the second highest stud fee at the farm. His is a bloodline they believe in; they also stand his sons Twirling Candy and Unified.
In addition to great stallions, Lane’s End Farm has been home to some incredible mares. Weekend Surprise, a daughter of Secretariat and the dam of A.P. Indy, was apart of the farm’s broodmare band. Today, Zenyatta calls a quiet corner of the farm her home. It is no secret that this place is filled with legends. You can feel the rich history here as you walk through their barns. You can sense the importance of each of these stallions when you look into their eyes. You can see the potential in every foal cantering around it’s mother and in every yearling that is prepping for the sales.
In just 40 years, Lane’s End Farm has made itself into a horse racing kingdom. They have been named the Leading Stud Farm 14 times. They have been named Leading Consigner 26 times. More than 365 stakes winners have been sold by the farm. Lane’s End Farm has been in the heart of horse country for 40 years and that doesn’t look to change anytime soon.
Author - Kaeli Bartholomew: I run Champions of the Track as a way to spread the love of horse racing through writing, photography, and videography. The best way to increase the popularity and respect for this sport is by sharing stories and memories! Thank you for joining me on my mission to improve and grow the sport of horse racing.