Frank Stronach said the decision to put his family's Adena Springs farm in Paris, Ky., on the market is based on a desire to improve racing in the states where he owns major racetracks. Though he mentioned California, Florida and Maryland, his primary focus seems to be in California, where he owns Santa Anita Park in Arcadia and Golden Gate Fields in Albany. His announcement will not affect the 2018 breeding season at Adena Springs, he said.
“I want to sit down with the racing community – the owners, breeders and racing commission – to see what we can do to improve racing in California,” Stronach told the Paulick Report. “We have small fields because we haven't got enough horses. We've got to see if we can do something about that. What can we do to have more California-breds and make the quality better? We need better stallions and a program to increase the number of California-breds.
“I want to bounce some ideas off the racing commission, the breeders and owners there. I would like it to be a collective decision on how we can improve things. Chuck Winner's heart is in the right place (Winner is chairman of the California Horse Racing Commission), and the breeders group (California Thoroughbred Breeders Association) is run by good people. I'm sure together we can come up with a program that works. There's a lot of goodwill from our side.”
Stronach, who has won eight Eclipse Awards as outstanding breeder in North America and 11 Sovereign Awards as Canada's leading breeder, moved his Kentucky operation from Midway to Paris in 2007 after developing 2,000 acres of what had been a cattle farm. He constructed a 14-stall stallion barn and seven 28-stall broodmare barns on the property.
Adena Springs in Kentucky stood nine stallions for the 2017 breeding season, including Awesome Again and his son, Ghostzapper, currently fifth on the general sire list. Adena Springs in Canada stood eight stallions this year. Stronach formerly operated a stallion station at Adena Springs South in Williston, Fla.
“We are not leaving Kentucky,” Stronach stressed. “We have a nice farm in Midway. I just want to reduce the number of mares I have in Kentucky.”
Stronach does not anticipate any changes prior to the 2018 breeding season. “We'll be in Paris for the upcoming breeding season,” he said. Stronach said some mares will be sold, but that “we have some bloodlines we want to keep because of sentimental reasons.” And he said he will continue to support his stallions – no matter where they stand – with a program to buy maiden mares and breed them.
“If someone wants to buy the Paris farm and the stallions, we would consider selling them, too, though I would like to retain an interest,” he said. “I do have a small stallion station in Midway. And I would consider moving stallions to California, Florida and Maryland. I have looked at farm properties in California and Maryland, but haven't bought anything yet. I hope we can do something by next year.”
“In Maryland, we have one of the great turf courses (at Laurel), but still have improvements to make to the facilities so we can offer the people who love horse racing a great experience – like what we have at Gulfstream, where we've had good increases.
“Timmy Ritvo (Stronach Group chief operating officer) and his team have worked very closely with the racing commission in Maryland, and they have a great horse community there,” Stronach said. “We have an open process with the horsemen's organization and we've gotten good results. We have learned a lot but we can improve.”
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