Visiting Thoroughbred Breeding Farms-A Personal Adventure!



  • A peppermint monster - lol!! Thanks for sharing the outtakes as well as the other photos of this lovely horse.

    WAR FRONT (2/11/2002)
    Pedigree: Danzig (a 1977 chef de race sire) x Starry Dreamer (1994) by Rubiano (1987)
    Lifetime Earnings: $424,205 (13 starts: 4 wins, 5 places, 1 show)
    Background: In 2005 at age 3: won the Princelet Stakes (8.5f). In 2006 at age 4: won the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Breeders' Cup Handicap (G2, 6f). In 2006, he also came in 2nd in the Vosburgh Stakes (G1, 6f), the Forego Stakes (G1, 7f), the Tom Fool Handicap (G2, 7f), the Deputy Minister Handicap (G3, 6.5f) and the Mr. Prospector Handicap (G3, 6f).
    Entered Stud in 2007
    Current Claiborne Stud Fee: $150,000 (s/n)
    Height: 16.1-1/2 hh
    Pedigree Chart:
    Notable Progeny: Data Link (2008c), Summer Soiree (2008f), The Factor (2008c), Warning Flag (2008c), Soldat (2008c), Declaration of War (2009c), Summer Front (2009c), Helene Super Star (2010g), Departing (2010g), Lines Of Battle (2010g), War Command (2011c), Due Diligence (2011c).

    At the 2nd Stallion Barn, we were all anxious to see which stallion John would bring out next. He asked our group if we had any preferences and I quickly responded....War Front! The other group members, were not into horseracing and didn't have any other suggestions, so they also agreed that War Front was a good choice. Yeah!

    imageJohn approaches War Front's our group anxiously waits.

    Once brought out, War Front obviously thought he was being led out for another "date" with a mare. In fact, all his better full body photos were showing his maleness. Therefore I had to do a bit of "touch-up" to make his review "PG-Rated" for our multi-aged forum.

    imageWar Front makes a grand entrance...he knows he's a star!

    imageA full body photo of War Front.

    imageAnother unofficial conformation photo of War Front.

    imageWar Front's profile headshot.

    imageWar Front's off-centered blaze.

  • A peppermint monster - lol!! Thanks for sharing the outtakes as well as the other photos of this lovely horse.
    Yep...Orb is very handsome as well as a real rascal testing John, our tour guide, in order to get more peppermint treats. On the otherhand...War Front showed more confidence and manners. Very opposite personalities indeed! :oD
  • Interesting. War Front's facial expressions don't look exactly happy, but considering what he had on his mind, he probably was a little grumpy but trying to maintain his manners for the peppermints. I think that indicates a pretty good temperament for a stud.
  • KMMKMM Member
    Orb and War Front appear to be built the same from my looking.
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited July 2015
    Interesting. War Front's facial expressions don't look exactly happy, but considering what he had on his mind, he probably was a little grumpy but trying to maintain his manners for the peppermints. I think that indicates a pretty good temperament for a stud.
    Yes...War Front definitely had something "else" on his mind. Most of the photos shows his ears turned back. But War Front remained well mannered and cooperative with John. Infact, I was amazed that John was able to show our tour group War Front's lip tattoo without any problem. He never nagged for his peppermint treats either and waited patiently for his treats.

    I'm still prepping the next post...a few interesting questions were answered in this next post.
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited July 2015

    Since many of the members in our tour group were not into horseracing and breeding. John gave a good basic review to help inform the group. John was very knowledgeable and was able to clearly explain topics to the average non-racehorse enthusiast. But he really got into the discussion when more in-depth questions were posed.

    How tall is War Front?: War Front is registered as standing at 16.1-1/2hh. The height of a horse is measured from the ground up to the top of the withers in "hands" (1 hand = 4"). Actually, War Front is probably under 16hh and is mostly likely 15.3 hh at best.

    imageJohn was pointing out parts of the equine anatomy and where the top of the withers is to the group in this photo. Amazingly, War Front stood very still throughout the anatomical review of his body.

    Does War Front use the "mound" in the Breeding Shed?: Depending on the height of the mare, yes, due to his shorter stature, he usually mounts a mare while standing on the "mound".

    image I may be shorter than most stallions, but I know I am good at what I do so this is what I think!

    How do you identify the Thoroughbred?: Thoroughbreds are tattooed with identification numbers on the inside of the upper lips. Of course for a more thorough identification this also goes with exterior markings (coat color, head & leg markings and chestnuts or "night eyes", etc.) and genetic identification.

    imageJohn flips War Front's upper lip to show his tattoo to the group.

    Why does War Front only have shoes on his front hooves?: Our stallions basically are not shod when in stud, however War Front has a bit of front hoof issues and therefore we shod his front hooves for added protection.

    imageA close-up of War Front's front hooves.

    What kind of personality is War Front?: War Front is a very kind and well tempered stallion. He is much easier to handle than some of the other stallions at the farm. He is relatively calm around well-mannered children who have come to take up-close photos with him.

    imageJohn lovingly pats War Front on his head. War Front was very calm in front of a rather large group of visitors and didn't give John any play nips, not like Orb.

    How many times a day can a stallion cover mares?: Usually, a stallion can cover a mare 3 times a day and covers approximately 100-125 mares a breeding season which starts in mid February and ends in late May or early June of the same year. To book a mare for the following year to a particular stallion, reservations must be made by the Fall of the year before. For War Front, we breed him only twice a day as we've found it improves his fertility percentage. But each stallion is different of course.

    imageWar Front patiently waits for a treat of peppermints from John.

    How long is a mare's pregnancy?: An average gestation for a mare is approximately 11 months but this can vary. Note: An average gestation of mares ranges from 333 to 345 days but each mare is unique. It does help if she's had foals before to get a general gauge of her estimated full-term duration.

    Do you breed mares on their foal heat?: No, here at Claiborne, we do not breed on the foal heat. The reason is that after foaling, the mare's internal reproductive tract needs time to heal. Breeding a mare on her foal heat which occurs only 5-12 days after foaling does not give enough time for the uterus of the mare to recuperate, heal and discharge any debris/contaminants from foaling that may be left inside and chances of complications like infections are greater. The odds of pregnancy is also reduced. Broodmares are usually bred a few weeks after the foal heat on the subsequent estrous cycle. This next cycle occurs approximately 4 weeks after foaling and gives more sufficient time for the mare's reproductive tract to return to tissue health and size.

    What is the status of War Front's date with Zenyatta?: For those who are not familiar with Zenyatta, she is a famous race horse that won 19 or her 20 races. She won the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic against colts in grand style. Now that the news is out (note: Zenyatta's blog formally announced the news just the day before my Claiborne visit) I can concur that Zenyatta is indeed "in foal". I (John) can now openly inform you that Zenyatta was able to "take" on her first cover this year by War Front. In fact, Zenyatta is one of the few mares that is very fertile and is able to take on her first covers.

    But didn't Zenyatta have to be recovered by Bernardini back in 2011?: Yes...but if you recall, Zenyatta DID get pregnant on her first cover (on 2/24/11). It is just that her system absorbed the fetus after a few weeks (3/29/11)...resulting in a 2nd covering by Bernardini back in 2011.

    imageDid someone mention Zenyatta? Sigh! (blush)...She's a very classy and stunning lady! I hope I see her again!

    Something to ponder...Just my "unofficial" personal assumption.
    Unfortunately, I had not yet seen the 36-day announcement in the Zenyatta blog to ask a crucial question...what date was Zenyatta first bred this year to War Front? Please note: on 5/27/15, the formal announcement in our blog was made announcing Zenyatta was 36 days in foal...making the date War Front covered Zenyatta as either 4/21 or 4/22/15. Either the Mosses intentionally decided to breed her late in the spring (doubtful), or there may have been an issue with booking/estrous timing, or perhaps a similar incident as what happened to Zenyatta's first cover with Benardini back in 2011 occurred. John's comment might be a play on semantics. Unfortunately, the group was moving on to the next stallion and not knowing about the formal 36-day announcement, it didn't dawn on me to dig further...I had assumed that the Blog's official announcement would have been a 60 or at least a 45-day notification, but not a 36-day update!

    imageSadly, after we got a chance to pet/scratch his shoulders, back and pose for photos, our time with War Front was up and he is led back to his stall. War Front finally tucks his macho-gizmo away.
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited July 2015
    To elaborate on the previous post, I provided details regarding Zenyatta's past official "In Foal" notifications earlier in the "Zenyatta's Waiting Room 2016" with a few more added dates on birth:

    Since Zenyatta took a "break" for 2014, the usual objective after a rest, is to try to get back on track for an early year foaling enabling subsequent foals to be born in the first half of the year to allow the foal time to mature since all foals are given the birthdate of January 1st of the year they are born.

    ●On 5/27/15 The Zenyatta Blog announced that "Zenyatta was 36-days in foal to War Front. She was bred in April (4/21/15 or 4/22/15) so that her 2016 foal (her fourth) will be born in the spring."
    June 16, 2015, page 20: Zenyatta took on her first cover this year. That I know for sure! I'll explain later. (see above posting) :oD

    Wasn't Zenyatta's public announcement of being in foal made later in the year of 2013 when she conceived Z Princess?
    ●Okay...just checked...they announced Zenyatta was in foal to War Front on 6/14/13 after 37 days resulting in our beloved angel, Z Princess on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014.

    ●They announced Zenyatta's pregnancy for Ziconic in June 21, 2012 after 60 days on a precautionary note since Zenyatta had to be covered twice to conceived Cozmic One. Ziconic was Zenyatta's birthday present on 4/1/13.

    ●They announced Zenyatta's pregnancy for Cozmic One on 5/31/11 after 60 days. This was after her fetus from her first cover on 2/24/11, was found to have been absorbed by her body on 3/29/11 and that she was no longer in foal.) Cozmic One was born during a full moon on 3/8/2012.

    Otherwise...I just wonder if it was a typo for a 60th day announcement rather than a 36-day announcement in this year's blog. Or...the same scenario occurred this year, where she "took" on her first cover and absorbed the fetus into her system once again and had to be recovered. idk We'll have to wait and see next Spring 2016. :oP
    Note: This is merely a hypothetical assumption and not meant to cause any discord or controversy in the forum.

  • Wow, thanks for taking all of those notes! This has been one of my favorite threads to follow on here.
  • Wow, thanks for taking all of those notes! This has been one of my favorite threads to follow on here.
    I concur! Thanks for all your thoroughness, PG, and again for sharing your trip with us! :)
  • KMMKMM Member
    War Front reminds me a lot of Mr. Prospector in his looks and build.
  • Thanks all! I know I tend to provide extra details, but it helps me to remember & understand what I saw during my trip. :oD

    BLAME (5/2/2006)
    Pedigree: Arch (1995) x Liable (1995) by Seeking The Gold (1985)
    Lifetime Earnings: $4,368,214 (13 starts: 9 wins, 2 place, 2 show)
    Background: In 2009 at age 3: won the Clark Handicap (G2), the Fayette Stakes (G2) and the Curlin Stakes (9f). In 2010 at age 4: won the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1-10f), the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1-9f), the Whitney Invitational Handicap (G1-9f) and the William Donald Schaefer Stakes (G3-8.5f). Became the 2010 Eclipse Champion Older Male. Blame retired after his win in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic (becoming the only race warrior to beat Zenyatta by less than a head).
    Entered Stud in 2011 at Claiborne Farm
    Current Claiborne Stud Fee: $20,000 (s/n)
    Height: 16.1hh
    Pedigree Chart:

    John led us to the last stall on the left at the second stallion barn just two stalls down from War Front. He wanted to also show us another stallion who was his personal favorite...Blame! I guess we can see why, John had Blame's name embroidered on the back of his baseball cap.

    imageBlame's stall.

    Blame arrived at Claiborne to begin his career as a stud at Claiborne on 11/12/10. His home is the first stall in the stallion barn closest to the Claiborne's main office. He was put in this particular stall because it was once the home of Buckpasser. Seth Hancock decided to house Blame in this stall because of his resemblance to Buckpasser. Blame's sire Arch also stands at stud at Claiborne.

    A video of Blame arriving at Claiborne:
    Video from YouTube

    imageHey, hey! Who's making noise at my door? I was taking a nap!

    image Blame is a beautiful bay stallion and proudly stands at his stall door to greet our tour group. In the shade, he almost looks black.

    John mentioned that Blame is one of the nicest stallions at Claiborne. He doesn't nip at anyone and is very people friendly. In fact, any bad habits that he developed, probably came from watching the other stallions at Claiborne. He loves his peppermint treats and when given his treat, he will go straight to his water trough to soak his peppermint so that he can savor the sweetness in his mouth, with his tongue hanging out. Most of his photos we took shows his tongue out as he savors his peppermint soaked in water. But he seems to be a happy, friendly stallion here at Claiborne.

    Unfortunately, we asked if he was going to take Blame out of his stall, but John said that he wasn't able to. I guess, we visitors are only allowed to see two stallions outside of their stalls...I just don't know. As a result, please bear with my bad photos (once again) as Blame was a very dark colored horse and it was hard to see his beautifully sculptured face and body in my photos.

    In lieu of my bad photos, here is Blame's conformation photo from Claiborne Farm's website:
    Photo taken just outside of Claiborne Farm's Stallion Barn

    imageA nice profile of Blame. He had soft, curious eyes and really enjoyed the admiring attention he was getting.

    A few of us got a chance to pet Blame's beautiful head with John closely overseeing. He gently closed his eyes and seemed to enjoy the pets he was receiving. He's a real sweetheart of a horse...and a stunningly handsome one as well!

    imageDoes anyone want to come up and give me a some more loving? I won't bite!

    imageBlame savoring his sweet peppermint treat by dipping his mouth in his water trough and letting the sweet sugar flow throughout his tongue and mouth.

    imageA close-up of Blame's dripping wet mouth and tongue as he sucks on his treat.

    imageAnyone else have peppermints?

    imageWhat did I hear? That Zenyatta should have won the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic?

    image ▲I won the 2010 Breeders' Cup fair and square even if it was only by half a head.
    This is what I think...blowing a raspberry.

    We were then led to the Claiborne Stallion cemetery as the final part of the tour, but since we had already seen it prior to the start of the tour, we left and thanked John with (tip & gifts from Hawaii) for his informative tour and left for our next appointment at a broodmare farm...we didn't want to be late in case we got lost along the way.

  • I was hoping you'd have pictures of Blame! I've come to really like him as a stallion. He is absolutely stunning though.
  • Yes @jaefeathered! Blame makes a good Ambassador for Claiborne. Not only is he a promising young stallion, he is sweet and people friendly as well as funny with his trademark tongue hanging out. I can understand why he would be a favorite stallion of John, our guide.

    I wish I had the money and space to take a "clone" of him home with me. ❤
  • Forgive me if I already mentioned this, but I forget what I've posted and what I have not. This past June at an art fair, I bought the cutest picture of Blame from a Louisville-based photographer. The photo was taken in winter. He's in his paddock, leaning over the fence. His halter is muddy, and his tongue is most of the way out. Happy horse! (I also bought a small pic of Zenyatta winning the Classic, a picture of Rachel cavorting in her paddock, Taco cavorting--same paddock, same time, and a lovely black and white headshot of American Pharoah.)
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited July 2015
    Oh-WooooW! @lauraj_cincinnati...I don't think we've seen your photo of Blame yet! Do you mind sharing your photo of Blame in this thread...that is if you have the photo rights? If you do and need assistance, I will be more than willing to post it for you if you'd like. ❤♫
  • Blame is absolutely adorable, oh my goodness.
  • Oh-WooooW! @lauraj_cincinnati...I don't think we've seen your photo of Blame yet! Do you mind sharing your photo of Blame in this thread...that is if you have the photo rights? If you do and need assistance, I will be more than willing to post it for you if you'd like. ❤♫
    Sorry, no, it is copyrighted by the photographer. I'd direct you to his website, but I'm pretty sure it's not posted there either. :-(
  • SallyTSallyT Member
    Love the pics of Blame! Quite a personality, and the tongue/water approach to peppermints is too cute.

    Claiborne Farm is legendary, for many reasons...
    ♦What other Thoroughbred farm could claim that Bold Ruler and Round Table were foaled in the same barn, on the same morning?
    ♦Or that the only Triple Crown winner (Gallant Fox) who sired another Triple Crown winner (Omaha) was foaled and raised at Claiborne?
    ♦Ten Kentucky Derby winners were foaled and raised at Claiborne. That number includes the 2013 winner, Orb.

    Other Claiborne Farm Facts:
    ♦Claiborne has raised 63 champions & 17 Horse of the Year
    ♦Claiborne stallions have been named Leading Sire 29 times
    ♦Claiborne has been home to 15 Broodmares of the Year
    ♦The Hancock family has been the leading breeder 10 times and longtime clients, the Phipps family, twice
    ♦Claiborne stallions and their progeny are responsible for 22 Kentucky Derby wins, 19 Preakness wins, 22 Belmont wins and 29 Breeders' Cup wins
    ♦6 of the 12 Triple Crown winners were sired by Claiborne stallions
    ♦22 members of Racing's Hall of Fame (12%) were foaled and/or raised at Claiborne
    Stats from the Claiborne Farm brochure

  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited July 2015
    Before I begin my next review, I wanted to give a little background as to how I came about visiting Brandywine Farm...

    During my research in Golden Girls and reading news in our Forum, I found that Thunder Gulch (1995 Kentucky Derby & Belmont winner) was officially retired from stud duty at Ashford Stud (Coolmore Stud) before the start of the 2015 breeding season. I was already going to see Gulch at Old Friends as he was in his senior years (age 31) and I didn't want to miss an opportunity to meet him in person before it was too late. I thought it would be great to also locate Thunder Gulch's dam, Line of Thunder!

    I found through my research for Golden Girls, that Line of Thunder was living a happy retired life at Brandywine Farm with a band of other retired mares, including Champagne Glow (the dam of Ruler on Ice-the 2011 Belmont winner) and a very lucky gelding named Steelyeyed. I called Brandywine and was surprised to get a hold of Pam Robinson directly! After explaining my objective, she allowed me to do a short visit to the farm to see this grand lady...Line of Thunder (age 28) as well as Champagne Glow (age 27). I guess she was amazed that someone all the way from Hawaii would be so interested in visiting Brandywine to meet Line of Thunder. It was still breeding season and Brandywine is a working farm which do not do public tours of their farm but Pam understood my passion of seeing the sire and dam of Thunder Gulch. I was indeed very fortunate to be allowed this wonderful opportunity!

    Thank you Pam Robinson!
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited July 2015

    Brandywine Farm owners "Jim and Pam Robinson, the ultimate mom-and-pop operation who has not only experienced its shares of triumphs, but has also stood the test of time." They purchased their first mare in 1974 and have seen their operation rise from humble beginnings to the upper echelons of the Thoroughbred industry. In 2014, they ranked 7th on the North American individual breeders top 10 list by earnings!

    imageAfter arriving at the general area...we locate the sign to Brandywine Farm in Paris, Kentucky...

    In 1997 Jim and Pam Robinson both retired from their outside professions (Jim was an electrical engineer with GTE and Pam was a director of Sports Medicine research & graduate programs at the University of North Carolina. Their professions provided the capital to get started in the horse industry who launched their original Brandywine near Hillsborough, N.C. in the mid 1970s. It was a 100 acre property of trees which they personally cut down and made into firewood to earn money to buy fencing which they personally put up. They also built their own barns and run-in sheds with wood from their land.

    imageNo fancy wrought iron gates nor intimidating limestone walled facade, just a down- to-earth yet wonderful working broodmare farm!

    On their current Paris, Kentucky farm, Brandywine currently owns 100 broodmares and boards an additional 25 mares for other clients on their 500 acre property. The farm consists of 7 barns, 3 round pens, a Eurociser and an underwater treadmill. With 40 years of experience, the Robinsons have gathered the knowledge to run a top-notch operation! With the Robinson's deep knowledge, integrity and honesty along with their hands-on involvement, they have an excellent reputation and is highly regarded in the Thoroughbred Breeding Community!
    Excerpts from Blood Horse "Winner's Circle"— 2/23/2013: Winners Circle 2-2013.pdf

    imageLOL! We took the wrong fork in the road within the property so Pam Robinson had to redirect us to the correct barn where she was waiting for us. Refer to the yellow arrow to indicate where we had to drive up to.

    Prior to Brandywine Farm's relocation from Hillsborough, N.C. to Paris, Kentucky, Jim and Pam Robinson had to truck their sale horses from North Carolina up to the Keeneland Sales which was time consuming and expensive. So when in 1997, in the Keeneland November sale when two of their weanlings sold for $182,000 and $125,000 for a collective $307,000, they decided to look around at property while in the bluegrass country. They had planned to retire eventually in Kentucky. They fell in love with one of the first farms in Paris that featured a house which had the exact floorplan as their home in North Carolina...except in reverse. They put in an offer and it was accepted. They contemplated splitting time between the two residences but decided to sell their home in North Carolina. Instead of months...their North Carolina farm took only days to sell!

    Pam at the time was caught in a predicament of retiring from her post at UNC in the middle of the academic year or stay in Tarheel country during the weeks while Jim managed the Kentucky Farm. Pam decided to retire. The move up to Paris involved a loose caravan of 11 semi-trucks trekking on a cold January day. These trucks were carrying literally the "livelihood of the Robinsons...100 broodmares!

    image ▲ From Brandywine facebook with permission from Pam Robinson

  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited July 2015

    imageThe Broodmare Barn at Brandywine. Note the furry guard cat in the center of the barn entrance! There's 3 Brandywine cats: Odie, Lucy and Carol. I only got to meet up with Carol on our visit.

    imageA close up of Carol, one of Brandywine's mousers!

    When we arrived at the correct barn, we were met by Pam Robinson, a very friendly yet classy woman with a bright twinkle in her eyes which revealed tremendous intellect but in a down-to-earth manner that left me awe struck with admiration. I had planned to ask several questions, but was caught speechless which allowed Pam to provide the flow of discussion topics. I really enjoyed sitting back just to listen and learn from a woman with a wealth of knowledge!

    Pam apologized but one of her mares was on the verge of foaling! Pam wanted to make sure that Robert (nicknamed the "foaling man") would arrive shortly so that someone was there to watch over her very pregnant mare, Top Marks. She invited us to come into the foaling barn to see Top Marks. We jumped at the opportunity!

    imageAs we approached the foaling barn, we were greeted by Carol who sat up and waved her paws...saying "hello"! She was so affectionate and seemed more like a friendly dog than an aloof kitty!

    imageHere is Carol purring away with contentment as I gave her some loving pets.

    imageEntering the foaling barn...sorry the photo is a bit blurry.

    imageHere is the very pregnant Top Marks (1995). She was carrying a foal by Eskendereya. Pam showed us that Top Marks was dripping from her nipples. Sorry, the photo I took of her bag turned out extremely blurred.

    Top Marks is a 20 year old broodmare by Marquetry who's current top racer on the tracks is Debt Ceiling (2011c). From the telltale signs, Pam informed us that Top Marks was going to foal today. If I didn't have an afternoon appointment at Old Friends...I would have enjoyed hanging out by helping with chores at Brandywine just so I could witness this wonderful foaling event. Top Marks was one of only two mares left to foal this season at Brandywine.
    This is Top Marks' Pedigree:

    imageA rear view of Top Marks' vulva. Poor Top Marks was obviously very uncomfortable based on her body language and would consistently look out her window then circle around in her stall...waiting.

    In subsequent correspondences with Pam, I found out that Top Marks foaled a handsome colt the evening we visited. Below is a Brandywine facebook photo of Top Mark's Eskendereya colt born on 5/28/15.
    imagePhoto by MH Pitts from Brandywine's facebook with permission from Pam Robinson.

    These are other mares at Brandywine and who they were in foal to for 2015:

  • How awesome to get to witness the foaling barn with such a very pregnant mare! Could have turned into some real excitement in a hurry - lol!
Sign In or Register to comment.