Visiting Lane’s End Farm had been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. My longing to go grew even stronger when Union Rags retired there after his win in the Belmont Stakes. On June 14th, 2019, I was able to cross visiting there off of my bucket list.
The black fences of Lane’s End Farm greeted us long before we even reached the entrance. When we finally arrived at their stallion complex entrance and began driving up the path, it was immediately clear what the vibe of this farm would be. Everything was pristine - the grass was cut, the fences were perfect, and the visitors entrance was decorated with beautiful pink flowers.
We parked behind a car with a Texas license plate. It was amazing to me that someone that lived sixteen or so hours away from Lane’s End would be on the tour as well! When we stepped inside the visitor’s center, our tour guide Danielle introduced herself and handed us some Visit Horse Country passports and stamped the Lane’s End spot. She then directed us into a room where the rest of the tour group were sitting and waiting.
The room was red with a gorgeous chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Stallion brochures and magazines filled the tables in every corner of the room and replays of their stallion’s races was playing on a TV. Outside the window, I could see the statue of A.P. Indy.
Once it was time for the tour to start, Danielle explained some brief history of the farm and told us about how important this year was for the farm; 2019 marks Lane’s End’s 40th anniversary and A.P. Indy’s 30th birthday. She then took us outside and we began our trek around the farm.
Danielle first took us to a stallion barn. She talked about almost every horse in the barn and we were allowed to get up close to the stallions. We saw horses like Liam’s Map, Quality Road, Tonalist, Accelerate, Mr. Speaker, Noble Mission, and Morning Line.
The group was then taken outside and walked down the path towards the graveyard. We stopped at the statue of A.P. Indy. Danielle explained his importance to Lane’s End and, to everyone’s delight, let us know that we’d be able to pet and feed peppermints to A.P. Indy later on in the tour. Many of the people in the tour group stopped and took a picture with the statue of A.P. Indy before we headed on in into the graveyard.
The graveyard at Lane’s End Farm is absolutely beautiful. The graves are curve around paths, each row separated with small hedges. At the entrance of the graveyard is a tribute to Kingmambo and at the end, a tribute to Dixieland Band. I walked through the rows, taking pictures of some of the graves I found to be the most meaningful to me. Weekend Surprise (dam of A.P. Indy), City Zip, Dixie Union, Pleasant Tap, and more are buried there.
The graveyard also shows Lane’s End dedication to their stallions. Horses that descend either from each other or from the same sire are buried next to each other. There is a row of graves of horses sired by Mr.Prospector. Dixieland Band and his son Dixie Union are buried right next to each other. Dixie Union’s son Union Rags stands stud at Lane’s End Farm today.
After we paid our respects to some of the industry’s great Thoroughbreds, Danielle announced to us that she would be showing us three stallions: Quality Road, Accelerate, and Union Rags. We walked up towards the stallion barn and stood along a path, anxiously awaiting to see the stallions up close.
First came Accelerate. He is new to the farm’s stallion roster. He was absolutely perfect, his chestnut coat gleaming in the sun. And the best part? He posed perfectly for the camera!
Next came Union Rags. To say I was awestruck would be an understatement. Union Rags is one of my favorite racehorses of all time. His career was the first I ever followed. His win in the Belmont Stakes left me shaking. Finally seeing that big, beautiful boy in front of me meant so much to me.
Last was Quality Road. He looked fantastic. He was quite playful, biting the lead
and sticking his tongue out for us.
After the stallions were taken back inside the barn, Danielle led us into the stallion complex to see some more stallions. As soon as we were all inside the barn, she brought us to the stall of A.P. Indy. Even in his old age, he was alert and interested in the crowd around his stall. A groom (though not Indy’s groom Asa) opened the stall door and allowed visitors to feed him peppermints and pet him. Unfortunately, A.P. Indy was put away before I had the chance to pet or feed him, but we still got to pet his nose through his stall door. He was so sweet and gentle.
Stalled next to him was his son Honor Code, who stood at the front of his stall watching the crowd for most of the time we were there. Across from Honor Code was Union Rags, who had been outfitted with a fly mask and was now resting calmly in his cozy stall.
After Danielle had finished talking about each horse, she let us know that we could spend a few more minutes looking at the stallions before heading out. I soaked up the last few moments I could with Honor Code, Union Rags, and A.P. Indy before we tipped Danielle and headed out.
The tour of Lane’s End Farm was one that I highly recommend. Our guide Danielle Austin was kind and knowledgeable. She answered all the questions asked by attendees of the tour and knew a lot about every stallion there. The farm was so beautiful and so green. It is amazing that we were able to see so many incredible racehorses while visiting. Make sure you add a visit to Lane’s End Farm to your itinerary next time you make a visit to horse country!
[Video: Watch our tour at Lane's End Farm]
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