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Darley and WinStar

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  • Darley and WinStar

    I'm going to visit Darley and WinStar when I come back to Lexington in October. I have already been to Lane's End 4 times, Three Chimneys twice, Ashford twice, Gainesway and Claiborne. Some of my visits were private and I was taken around by the one of the managers, others were the tours. What other farms have you all visited to see the stallions. What a thrill to stand next to AP Indy, Curlin, Smart Strike, Mineshaft, Afleet Alex, Birdstone, Tapit, Pulpit, Eddington, Arch, Dynaformer, Exchange Rate, Smarty Jones - when he was at TC, Big Brown, and more. The "big" stallions of Darley will be in Australia, but still to get to the farm is exciting.

  • #2
    I was just in Lexington in April. Had the public tour of Three Chimneys, a brief private visit to Hill 'n' Dale, and a public tour of Darley. It was so impressive and they were very personable - I was pinching myself as I saw Medaglia D'Oro in the paddock next to Street Cry - I could just imagine them talking about "their girls".

    So sorry you can't be there in the spring. But also on the tour are all their Eclipse awards and other racing trophies as well as the TVs that Sheik Mo requests their receptionist keep an eye on to watch live racing around the world. What a job...
    But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


    • #3
      I had a private tour of Monticule, but it was to see the farm (landscaping mainly), not the stallions. Absolutely gorgeous place.

      Winstar is beautiful -- I drive past in on my commute, depending on the route I take.

      I've been to most of the big farms around here. No advice on which stallions to see, but you can't go too wrong with any of the big farms in the Bluegrass
      "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."


      • #4
        Two or three years ago, I visited several farms in Lexington.

        I'll put in a plug for Adena Springs. The people there were so nice and the stallions all seemed happy and friendly. The groom who showed us around was a British guy (I think his name was Matt). I had only asked to see a few of the stallions, but Matt showed us all of them. I think he just liked them that much and he wanted to talk about them and show them to us. Adena Spring just seemed like a happy, warm fuzzy place.

        We also went to Shadwell and saw Invasor, Jazil, and Dayjur. Shadwell is a lovely farm and it was quiet and peaceful.

        We went to Taylor Made and weren't able to see the stallions (they were in quarantine to go overseas). But that tour was interesting because we got to see some different stuff. The woman who took us around showed us some of the mares and foals, the barns and facilities where they do sales prep for the auctions, some landmarks on the farm, etc.

        We also went to Claiborne, Ashford, Juddmonte, and Darley. In the office at Darley, they have many large framed photographs of the stallions. The photos are really unique and artsy and gorgeous. IIRC, they said the photographer who took them is a professional but he doesn't usually photograph horses so his perspective was unique.

        Have a great time on your tours!


        • #5
          I'll second Adena Springs. I went with a friend who knew nothing about horses but is interested in everything and they were incredibly patient and informative. The staff seemed really attached to the horses and the horses looked wonderful and happy.


          • #6
            My favorite was Claiborne. Just out of curiosity what is considered a proper tip for the guy that shows you around? You can PM me if you don't want it to be public.


            • #7
              If it were me, no matter how many times I'd been to the farm, I'd find time to go see the Queen Z. Love that mare!!!!!!!!!!
              We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


              • Original Poster

                I don't know what others tip - bue depending on the length of the tour and if it's a groom or stallion handler, and how many stallions they actually bring out of the stall, I give $20-$40. At Claiborne, Rodeo took us - he brought Eddington and Pulpit out, stood them up as long as we wanted, let us pet them, let us take pictures, showed us Eddington's trick, then took us to each stallion's stall and told us about them, plus showed us the cemetery. It was so interesting - I have no idea what anyone else gave him, but I gave him
                $40. It was a hugely interesting tour.

                I don't know if it's correct or not, but if a groom brings stallions out of the stall for us to see and take pictures, I always tip. If it's a farm manager, and I have been lucky enough to have a few of them take me privately, I don't tip. It just didn't seem right to me. Grooms/handlers - yes, managers - no.

                I will keep Adena Springs in mind and want to go back to Darley in the spring, when the big names will be back. I think I'll be back in Lexington next spring.

                I plan to try to see Zenyatta in the fall, or next spring, for sure, maybe when she has her foal. Would love to see Rachael Alexandra, too - her baby should be gorgeous - Curlin is the most beautiful one of all to me, so far.


                • #9
                  Adena Springs is nice. I know a few people who work/worked there, so I've had a few "private tours." Lovely stallions. The place is a complex -- the employees never really need to leave. It will be much lovelier in a few years when it's grown up a bit.

                  Tipping is always a good idea. The few times I've tried to tip a manager, they've refused it.
                  "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."


                  • #10
                    I tipped between $10 - $30 depending on how much time they spent with me, what they showed me, and how nice they were. At Darley and Taylor Made, they wouldn't accept a tip but I think it's always good to offer. At those farms, it wasn't a groom that did the tour so that might have been why they didn't take the tip.

                    At Claiborne, I was on a group tour and I was the only one from the group that gave the guy a tip. He really appreciated it.

                    At Ashford, I had a private tour from a grouchy Irish guy. I don't know if he was a groom or not...he was middle aged so he might have been one of the stallion managers. But he got a lot nicer at the end when I tipped him. Maybe I should have tipped him at the beginning!