Indiana’s horse racing industry is praised again and again for the people within it - people who love horses and horse racing and wish to see the industry thrive. One of those great people is Tony Wolfe, DVM of Wolfe Equine Services.
Tony Wolfe graduated from Auburn University’s veterinary school in 2008 and began working as a veterinarian in Lexington. He moved to Indiana after a few years to become the resident vet for Swifty Farms before moving back to Kentucky and starting his own practice. Though he is no longer an Indiana resident, Wolfe still provides services to many of Indiana’s horse farms, including Swifty Farms and Breakway Farm.
Wolfe has a great love and passion for animals, especially horses, and channels this into his practice. He cares deeply about the health and happiness of every horse in his care; he is gentle with them, yet firm when necessary. His years of practice have taught him how to handle every situation he is presented with in a calm and professional manner. He is often seen smiling and laughing, even through situations that would have outsiders cringing.
Dr. Wolfe can provide quite an array of services, including preventive health care, equine dentistry, lameness evaluation, athletic maintenance, acupuncture, ophthalmology, endoscopy, general medicine, field surgery, and reproduction (including advanced reproductive techniques). He can also shoot repository radiographs and perform upper airway scopes for horse sales.
Those who are in the horse industry know that there are no holidays or weekends off, and that sometimes there is no chance to make an appointment, which is why Dr. Wolfe is available for emergency services 24/7, 365 days a year.
Tony Wolfe’s contribution to Indiana’s horse racing industry does not end with his veterinary practice. He has dove completely into the industry as a breeder and owner through Wolfe Racing Stables. This allows him to take advantage of Indiana’s incredible breeders and owners program, as well as Indiana Grand’s great purses.
“They actually have a very good incentive fund for breeders,” Wolfe explained. “20% gross match of the purse and they also have a sire award for stallions. It’s kind of unique to this state - there’s not a lot of regional programs that have such a strong incentive fund.”
The money offered to Indiana bred and sired horses isn’t the only thing that encourages Dr. Wolfe to breed racehorses; breeders can keep a vested interest in the horses that leave their hands. “They [breeders] get to follow the horses in their career and that’s always good,” he said. “Anytime we stay connected to the horses that we’ve bred, keep up with them, and have a vested interest, that makes it more fun for everybody. It’s not just about the money.”
Breeders who choose not to race their horses themselves can offer them in various sales around the country, including the Indiana Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders’ Association (ITOBA) Sale held annually in October. Wolfe consigned four horses that he bred to the 2021 ITOBA Sale and had great results. His yearling filly by Tapiture out of Cactusa (Cactus Ridge) sold for $28,000 - the second-highest priced horse sold (the sale topper was a $48k filly by Bucchero)!
“We all hope to have that yearling that we hit a home run selling, but if you don’t always get that huge sale price those horses can still go on to win. That’s still a nice way for the breeders to get something on the backside if they don’t get a huge sale price.”
Those who choose to race their horses at Indiana Grand will benefit from the track’s great purses. “The purses are really nice in Indiana, they are structured very well,” Dr. Wolfe said. “I think Indiana tries to support the owners and the trainers. Very competitive fields, great racing, and the track is beautiful. Indiana Grand has a very nice facility. You probably couldn’t ask for a better place to race.”
“They’re investing in the infrastructure at the track because they see the value. Indiana has been very good about supporting the horsemen - the owners, the breeders, all of them. I think all of that is a very positive sign about Indiana’s program that’s already really strong.”
Dr. Tony Wolfe has further invested in Indiana’s program by partnering with Breakway Farm to bring a new stallion, Charming Kitten, to the state. Charming Kitten (Kitten’s Joy) broke his maiden in his debut at Saratoga in 2012 and went on to race 32 more times, winning eight races including the W.L. McKnight Handicap (G3). He also hit the board in multiple graded stakes races, including the Blue Grass Stakes (G1). Indiana has fallen in love with their Charming Kitten foals. Some breeders have even taken to social media to declare that they have the best Charming Kitten foal in the state (which elicits a response from others who believe that they have the best Charming Kitten in Indiana).
“We’re trying to bring a little more unique bloodlines, a little turf, a little long distance to the state,” Wolfe explained. “We have a lot of speedballs in this state - we hear that a lot. He offers a unique pedigree and we thought he would be a very good addition to the program here especially. So far his foals this year have been fantastic.”
Lastly, Wolfe advocates for Indiana horse racing by serving as the President of the Indiana Thoroughbred Alliance (ITA), “a collaboration of breeders, owners, trainers and horse-racing enthusiasts dedicated to the continued success of Thoroughbred breeding and racing in the state of Indiana.”
The ITA does wonderful work for the Indiana Thoroughbred industry through its educational seminars/webinars, fundraising auctions, and more. Dr. Wolfe can be found at the head of it all.
Tony Wolfe, DVM is a prominent figure in Indiana horse racing thanks to his dedication to seeing this sport thrive. He supports the industry on almost every front - as a trusted and respected veterinarian, a stallion owner, a breeder, an owner, and the President of a group that advocates for this industry's success. Thanks to people like Dr. Tony Wolfe, Indiana is becoming one of the best places to breed and race Thoroughbreds in the entire country.
This article is part of our project #TreasureoftheMidwest. Champions of the Track has partnered with the Indiana Thoroughbred Alliance, Indiana Horsemen's Protection & Benevolent Association, and Indiana Grand Racing & Casino to shine a spotlight on Indiana's vibrant Thoroughbred industry. We will be highlighting the state's farms and successful horses and horsemen through written stories, a YouTube video series, and social media content.