When Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky., opens its breeding shed for the 2013 season, breeders will be welcomed into a state-of-the-art stallion complex featuring a new 18-stall barn with adjacent, dual breeding sheds designed to accommodate the volume of traffic the farm's 22-stallion roster will attract.
All of the WinStar stallions, including the five recent additions that formerly stood at Vinery (More Than Ready, Congrats, Kodiak Kowboy, Pure Prize, and Street Hero) were moved to their spacious new digs over the weekend. Eighteen are settled in to the recently completed barn and four are stabled in an adjacent 12-stall barn that has been remodeled and upgraded.
Construction began in December 2011 on the new complex, built on property formerly known as Romanoaks Farm and then Fab Oak Stable. The complex, to the south of the WinStar Farm office, has a van entrance along Paynes Mill Road.
“With the purchase of Harlan's Holiday (in December 2010), Kenny felt it was an important time for the farm to gain further traction when so many others were retreating a little bit,” said Elliott Walden, WinStar's president and CEO. “He thought it was important to expand and was committed to putting up the dollars to fund that expansion.”
With the addition of Harlan's Holiday and stallions from Paul's Mill, Walden said, the roster stood at 14 stallions in 2012. “The barn we were in held 10 stallions and there was a barn close by that had room for four more. We were cramped and felt like we needed to expand. We had bought the old Romanoaks property and felt it was perfectly suited as a stallion complex.”
The new barn has many similarities, Walden said. “There are a lot of things we liked about the old barn: wide aisle-way, a big showing circle in the center. So we kept that look, along with the functionality of having the breeding shed being down from the stallion barn through an indoor aisle-way. We took a lot of what we liked and implemented that.”
Walden said the complex has a much bigger parking area to accommodate the van traffic during the busy breeding season. “We were stacking vans on top of each other,” he said. “Drivers will notice a big difference as soon as they pull in.”
A veterinary lab has been constructed so that both breeding sheds can be observed, but Walden said they've been built so that noise from one area will not be distracting to the activities in the other. In addition there is a waiting room for clients and van drivers and a reception area with a full kitchen that will better facilitate stallion shows. “We're also going to have some nice audio and video capabilities there so people can do research on stallions they are interested in,” said Walden.
Special one-piece rubberized flooring in the breeding shed is designed not just for safety, Walden said, but to increase biosecurity procedures. “With all the traffic, mares coming from different farms and locations, we felt it was extremely important from a biosecurity standpoint,” Walden said. “This flooring is one solid piece (with a drain in the middle) that can be easily sprayed and disinfected without worrying about anything seeping into cracks or crevices or mortar between cinder blocks.”
Because of the dual breeding sheds, Walden doesn't foresee changing WinStar's breeding schedule. “We're still working out the details, but I don't anticipate it being much different,” he said. “Typically we'll be breeding three times a day. If we need to add a fourth, we will.”
The road from the WinStar office to the new stallion complex is named Distorted Humor Parkway in honor of the farm's foundation stallion, a 20-year-old son of Forty Niner who was leading sire of 2011 and has ranked in the top 10 in seven of the last eight years. Distorted Humor stands the 2013 breeding season for $100,000 live foal.
A life-size bronze of Distorted Humor, sculpted by Lisa Perry of Springtown, Texas, has been placed at a roundabout on the road named in his honor, and a nearby cemetery will provide a permanent home to the current and future equine stars that have given the farm its glory.
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