Visiting Thoroughbred Breeding Farms-A Personal Adventure!



  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited July 2015
    Yes...if Top Marks began to show signs that she was going into labor... I would have hung around longer and rescheduled my visit to Old Friends for sure. But I was glad that Top Marks had a safe foaling with a healthy colt that evening! :oD

    I was truly fortunate that Pam allowed us into the foaling barn where she showed me up close, the status of Top Marks bag! I just wish more of our indoor photos had been in focus. Grrr!
  • I have to say it.......I'd probably be more excited to see the broodmares than the stallions. Now I'd love to see places like Claiborne for the history, but for the horses themselves, the pregnant mares are thrilling to me. You are indeed lucky you got to visit Brandywine, Paniolo_Gal! Can I ask, was Top Marks waxing? Or was she dripping? Every aspect of foaling fascinates me. As a dog breeder and conformation exhibitor, I'm actually more happier when I'm whelping than when I'm showing. :)

    imageMeet Robert, the foaling man! Here he is with a very large 2 day old Smokin Ghost filly now named Smokin Reward (2012) by Warrior's Reward. Robert stands 5'7", you can estimate the size of this filly! Robert reminded me of Santa Claus with a kind, gentle personality to match! Unfortunately, my personal photo of Robert came out blurry. This photo is much better and shows what Robert does best! Photo from Brandywine's facebook with permission from Pam Robinson.

    As Robert (aka the foaling man) arrives at the Foaling Barn, I was expecting that Pam would introduce me to one of her workers who would take us around the farm to see Line of Thunder and Champagne Glow. Not only will I get to see the magnificent dam, Line of Thunder up close and personal...Pam had us jump in her truck and she personally drove us around her wonderful property where we got to see Champagne Glow as well!

    imageI thought this was a very nice photo of both Robert & Pam taken on 9/19/2013 at the Keeneland Fall sales. From Brandywine Facebook with permission from Pam Robinson.

    Disappointed that several of my photos did not turn out, I hope my other amateur photos of mine in later postings will help show more wonderful sights found at Brandywine...

  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited July 2015
    I have to say it.......I'd probably be more excited to see the broodmares than the stallions. Now I'd love to see places like Claiborne for the history, but for the horses themselves, the pregnant mares are thrilling to me. You are indeed lucky you got to visit Brandywine, Paniolo_Gal! Can I ask, was Top Marks waxing? Or was she dripping? Every aspect of foaling fascinates me. As a dog breeder and conformation exhibitor, I'm actually more happier when I'm whelping than when I'm showing. :)
    Sorry @sarinne...I had my earlier post already input into the window and could not respond to you until now.

    For what it's worth, this is my really bad, blurry photo of Top Marks' bag which showed liquid dripping from her nipples.
    Sigh, I was soo disappointed to have several key photos come out in a similar fashion too! Thank goodness Pam gave me the okay to use her facebook photos.
  • @Paniolo_Gal, thanks for sharing, blurry or not! Looks like colostrum to me. Very cool that you got to see mamas and babies. That had to be sheer bliss! :)
  • It really was @sarinne!...I'll be posting some of the mares and their foals in their paddocks. Sorry, we couldn't get the names of these mares as we were busy keeping up with all that Pam Robinson wanted to show us during our tour of her farm.
  • Looking forward to it, @Paniolo_Gal! :) Thanks as always, for starting this thread and sharing the details of your trip in so much detail! :)
  • Hey-Hey...This is my way of trying to remember what we saw on our visit to Lexington before my memory turns grey. Sorry Hayflinger, I appreciate your extreme patience! But once I'm done with my trip of breeding farms on this discussion, it will be open to all who have personal photos they want to share of their own visits to TB breeding farms as well! :oD

    imageAnother view of Brandywine as we drove over to another barn on the property

    During our tour, I asked Pam how she came about naming her farm Brandywine. She informed me that Brandywine Farm was named after one of her pets!

    imageA blurry photo taken from the truck of one of several mares and their foals along the way to another barn on the property.

    As Pam drove us to another part of her property, we saw several of Brandywine's broodmares and their foals in the paddocks. We later got to see their underwater treadmill which was built by her husband and business partner, Jim Robinson! It was an extreme pleasure to be in the company of a woman who with her husband, created a wonderful professional operation breeding outstanding equine athletes!

    imageOne of the Eurocisers nearby a barn at Brandywine.

    imageA wonderful photo of one of Brandywine's mare watching over her foal.

    imageAnother touching scene of a mare checking on her sleeping foal.

    imageIt's lunch time for the foals!

    Below: Meet an important member of Brandywine Farm's equine family...Traveller, the in-house teaser stallion. His difficult duty is to check to see if the mares are ready to be bred. It takes a special stallion to handle this arduous task but he gets rewarded by covering a nurse mare when the opportunity arises.
    imageA photo of Brandywine's teaser stallion, Traveller. He is a beautiful pinto...more likely a sabino. I only wish my photo of him in his stall in another barn on the property would have come out. But this is from Brandywine's facebook of Traveller, even this photo does not do justice to this handsome stallion. Photo by MH Pitts from Brandywine's facebook with permission from Pam Robinson.

    After arriving at another barn, we got out and found we were surrounded by paddocks of mares and their foals all around us!

    imageIn this particular paddock were 3 mares and their foals...The third mare is just off the photo. On the far right, one foal snoozing while the other two are up and wanted to play. The two foals ask: " Hey wants wrong? Oh don't bother me, I'm too tired to get up." I think the sleepy chestnut was Champagne Sparkle's foal.

    We were not sure of the name of this beautiful grey mare in the paddock. There are 3 grey/roan mares on Brandywine's broodmare roster that are young enough to still have dark, distinctive dapples on their coats. One was Champagne Sparkle (born 2010-a daughter of Brandywine's outstanding broodmare, Champagne Royale-2001), All Day Donna (2010), and Rockport Beauty (2009). But viewing an April 2015 photo of her head, coat color with dapples in Brandywine's facebook, my logical guess, is it's probably Champagne Sparkle. LOL! We forgot to take a photo of this mare's name plate on her halter. We also neglected to later ask Pam since we were overwhelmed with so much to see and learn!

    image As we approached the paddock gate, the dapple grey mare noticed us and leisurely strolled up to us. The other two mares held back and watched or decided grazing was priority.

    image Well, here I am...don't you think I look gorgeous? Are you going to let me out or do you have treats for me?

    imageMMM...Mrs. Pastures cookies...yummy!

    imageIn the meantime, two of the 3 foals in the paddock slowly approach us as well...

    imageAuntie Sparkle...who are these people? Shhh! They're strangers...we better stay behind Auntie just in case.

    imageChampagne Sparkle bows to her admiring audience as the two foals cautiously keep a safe distance from us "strangers".

    imageThis is a photo of Champagne Sparkle and her 2015 chestnut foal by Drosselmeyer.
    A 4/22/15 Photo by MH Pitts from Brandywine's facebook-with permission from Pam Robinson.

    This is Champagne Sparkle's lineage:

    Champagne Sparkle is a full sister to Danza (2011c) who came in 3rd in the 2014 Kentucky Derby and won the 2014 Arkansas Derby. Danza will enter stud duties for 2016 at Spendthrift Farm.

    Champagne Sparkle's dam, Champagne Royale (2001) also foaled: Majestic Harbor (2008c)

  • Champagne Royale was well and truly named! Dams make the difference! When the lady is a really shows! Momma Power!!!
  • Yes...I hope oneday Champagne Royale will be listed as a Blue Hen Mare and eventually a "Reine de Course" mare. We shall see.
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited August 2015
    btw...Champagne Royale I believe was sold in last year's Fall Fasig Tipton Broodmare sale as hip No. 178 on 11/3/2015. She went for $825,000 in foal to Eskendereya and was purchased by Town & Country Farms. I believe her offspring Champagne Sparkle will be representing Champagne Royale's bloodline now at Brandywine Farm.

    This is a photo of the magnificent Champagne Royale during the Fasig Tipton sales:
    image Photo by MH Pitts from Brandywine Farm with permission from Pam Robinson.
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited August 2015

    imageThe Underwater Treadmill which was built by Jim Robinson himself. The entire system is first class and built above code standards. The flooring is fully insulated to protect the horses as well. It cost $200,000 to build this facility!

    At another building on the property, we were treated to an "equine spa facility" right on the Brandywine property!

    Pam Robinson uses many principles she learned and helped devise and research as director of the University of North Carolina human physiology research lab when devising the programs for the horses of Brandywine Farm. The lab she directed also served as a regional testing center for elite human athletes including the U.S. Olympic team candidates.

    imagePam pointed out the tanks on the side are the water filtering system for the HydroHorse to keep the water clean and free of contaminants.

    To rehab an injury and enable a horse to get back to the track soon, the HydroHorse is great for fitness while at the same time, it minimizes stress on the joints and tendons. Brandywine Farm uses this facility extensively on yearlings and layups. The underwater treatmill has warmed water and there are underwater jets. Ahh such a wonderful spa treatment indeed!

    Pam says "Nutrition is extremely important and the principles behind conditioning are the same for both human and horse. There are basically 6 factors that can be manipulated in an attempt to produce the desired response. The key to a successful conditioning program is being able to evaluate the needs of the subject-be it human or horse-and individualize the program to produce the desired results.
    1- Type of exercise
    2- Duration of exercise
    3- Intensity of exercise
    4- Number and frequency of repetitions
    5- Number of sets
    6- Number of days per weeks

    The conditioning of a horse also incorporates the use of round pens, the Eurociser and the HydroHorse (underwater treadmill) as well as turnout paddocks.

    imageThe narrow corridor leading in and out of the HydroHorse helps the young horses learn trust and gain mental development as well as providing a good introduction for loading into the starting gate.

    “We decided to add the HydroHorse after observing one in action at Vinery’s Kentucky training facility,” says Pam. “The underwater treadmill has been very beneficial in terms of getting injured horses back to the track sooner. And we use it to dramatically improve the conditioning maintained by horses coming off the track for basic R&R.”

    Besides rehab for race horses, the underwater treadmill is used in preparing yearlings for the sales at Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton. Yearlings are also put into a conditioning program to strengthen and condition their muscles, tendons and bones. And, as much as possible, yearlings still enjoy turnout time in the evening up until close to sale time. Since the vast majority of yearlings prepped and sold by Brandywine have been foaled and raised on the farm, the Robinsons are also able to control the horses’ nutrition through every phase. Pam says: “I feel that the health of the yearlings begins with that of the mare even prior to conception.”

    imageHere you see the HydroHorse in action! Photo from Brandywine facebook with the permission of Pam Robinson.

    References and more detail information on conditioning for yearling sales:
    How we develop athletes at Brandywine Farm facebook (10/17/2011)

  • Paniolo_Gal, I just wanted to tell you that I had not been following this adventure until last night, not because I wasn't interested, but I haven't had time to just sit and enjoy. I started reading last night and IT IS AMAZING! I love all of it! It feels like we are along for the trip. I ended up reading until 4 a.m. my time and couldn't stop. This is so fun and I really appreciate all the hard work you've put into it. Thank you and I can't wait to see more. Great job!
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited August 2015
    DeNada @louisecastello! Glad you had the time to read the discussion. Hey-hey...With my senior memory, I thought it was good to put it down in this forum before my memory fades. As mentioned before, this way I can also remember what I did on this trip later on, as well as well as take you along the "ride". :oD
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited August 2015

    imageHere we arrive at another barn on the property which housed a few of the yearlings that were being prepped to go to the Keeneland summer auction.

    imageHere is a April 2014 Colt by Creative Cause out of Goodness Unbridled. He looked like a pinto with flashy reddish Prince Valiant bangs! He was a very nice and curious boy...he loved the camera!

    imageA headshot of the Creative Cause out of Goodness Unbridled colt. Interesting coloring!

    imageThe 2014 Creative Cause x Goodness Unbridled colt really cleaned-up well for the Keeneland Sales! He went for $100,000 in the July 9, 2015 Auction to Calumet Farm. Photo by MH Pitts taken on 7/9/15. From Brandywine's facebook with permission from Pam Robinson.

    imageMeet the 2014 colt by MajesticPerfection out of Circle My Name.

    imageThis is the 2014 colt by Astrology out of Standswithafist.

    imageIn the foreground is the Astrology x Standswithafist-JPN colt at the July 9, 2015 summer Keeneland Sales. He went for $65,000 to Maverick Racing LP. Photo by MH Pitts from Brandywine's facebook with permission from Pam Robinson.

    imageA 2014 colt by Tale of Ekati out of I'manheiress.

    Brandywine's List of 2014 Yearlings:

  • Ditto what Louise said, minus the part about staying up til 4 a.m. - haha! It is such a pleasure to be going along with your journey to the farms and what a clever idea it is to use this as a way to chronicle your adventure for future reference. Smart! I love the water/spa treadmill and their focus on nutrition as well.
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited August 2015
    Thanks @Celeste_in_TX & @louisecastello (for your stamina in reading my posts)! Brandywine is a wonderful broodmare farm and I love their humble background story...Pam and Jim Robinson are good people and as mentioned earlier, well respected in the Thoroughbred Community!

    I'm going to post a story involving Brandywine during last year's winter auction at's a heart breaking story that ended very well! ❤
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited August 2015
    Although I didn't get to meet Leaving Virginia and her colt on this visit...I thought I'd slip in this touching incident...

    Brandywine is a new home for a no-bid mare & her newborn foal born a few hours before auction at Fasig Tipton Kentucky Winter Mixed Sale in February 2014:

    One has to keep in mind that breeding for horse racing is a business. Being in the industry, you have to put your heart aside but this 2014 incident really touched deep down to all animal lovers. On February 10, 2014 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Winter mixed sale, an 11-year old Leaving Virginia walked into the ring with her tiny new foal, born just hours before...Leaving Virginia did not get a single bid at a minimum of $1,000 and eventually walked out of the ring. While in the sales ring, the little foal had to be helped along by one of the guys in the ring as he hobbled around. Pam said her heart was breaking. She and Jim were to bid on a broodmare for an out-of-town client. If they let their hearts rule their decisions, they'd be broke...husband Jim looked at Pam and said "don't you dare."

    In the meantime, one of Pam's clients (Ressa Harris) was watching from Minnesota and saw the incident. She was a nurse and knew how crucial the first 24 to 48 hours are for a foal. Knowing that the Robinsons were about to leave, she quickly called Pam and told her to buy the pair for her. The Robinsons and Leaving Virginia's agent, Dapple Stud agreed on a $2,000 purchase price. The foal was barely 12 hours old and it was a super, super cold day. In the meantime, one of the consignors took off his sweatshirt, cut the arms off and put it on the baby and put a blanket over it to keep it warm. The Robinsons went home to get their truck & trailer and brought 2 fleece-lined foal blankets...warming them up in the truck as they went to fetch the mare and hours old foal.

    Ressa knew that if she could get this foal in Pam's hands, he'd be in as good hands as he could get in Kentucky. She said: "I'm the kind of person who believes strongly that what God wants to happen will happen"..."I do believe that for some reason, God wanted me to help this little horse".

    Please Read The Full Story:

    This is Leaving Virginia's Pedigree:
    This is the unraced sire Star Cat's (by Storm Cat) pedigree:

    imageLeaving Virginia's 2014 colt all nice and warm at Brandywine after a rough
    start in life! Photo posted by Ressa in

    More photos from Brandywine Facebook on Leaving Virginia
    and her Star Cat Colt.

    Below: No longer a knock-kneed, frail newborn, the colt is, according to Robinson..."gorgeous". "He's got some flesh on his little body and he's a
    pistol...he's full of himself".

    imageAh...A beautiful pose for Leaving Virginia & her colt on 5/15/15.
    From Brandywine facebook with permission from Pam Robinson.

    imageBut...not for long! Such a patient mama dealing with a rascal colt.
    From Brandywine facebook with permission from Pam Robinson.

    imageLeaving Virginia's Star Cat colt pestering mama once again on 6/3/20214!
    From Brandywine facebook with permission from Pam Robinson.

    imageLooking self-assured as a 5 months old on 7/27/2014.
    From Brandywine facebook with permission from Pam Robinson.

  • Oh wow, great story! Thanks for sharing! Love the pedigrees, especially Star Cat being an Ashado son. And Leaving Virginia a Secretariat granddaughter. I know pedigrees aren't everything, but I wish both of them the best! Sounds like they are in wonderful hands now. :)
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited August 2015
    Oh Oh...sorry for my typos on the dates regarding Leaving Virginia and her foal...please disregard. The mis-typed dates should be all read 2014, not 2015 nor 20214! Oops! I must have been tired. :oP
  • Thank you, thank you for sharing that absolutely heart-warming story! It was hard to read my eyes were so teared up.
  • Aw, cool story! Remy's sire's damsire is Crafty Prospector. Tough horses. Not the prettiest but very hardy.

    It's crazy to me that she didn't meet her reserve - it looks like her dam has blacktype. She's so well-bred!!
  • I agree. The pedigree with Secretariat so close up is intriguing. While the Sire is unraced I love his dam. I will definitely be adding this little guy to my virtual stable when the time comes and desire for even more blessings to his story, but If the resulting foal had been a filly, that $1,000 would have looked even better to me.
    Aw, cool story! Remy's sire's damsire is Crafty Prospector. Tough horses. Not the prettiest but very hardy.

    It's crazy to me that she didn't meet her reserve - it looks like her dam has blacktype. She's so well-bred!!
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