06/07/2017 12:50PM

Cobra Farm carries classic legacy

Barbara D. Livingston
Twisted Tom will be Cobra Farm's first horse to compete in the Belmont Stakes.

Twisted Tom will be the first horse to represent Cobra Farm in the Belmont Stakes. However, the historic property and the people currently behind it have already played a role in some major moments in the history of the last and longest American classic.

The property that became Cobra Farm was originally owned by Ben Castleman, who dubbed it White Horse Acres. Castleman bred and sold 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, the only horse to sweep the series while undefeated, off the property.

The farm was later purchased by Robert Brennan, who ran it as Due Process Stables before his legal troubles and bankruptcy. Gary and Betty Biszantz purchased the property in 1995 and set about developing and expanding their Cobra Farm operation. They purchased 145-acre Whileaway Farm to add to the property in 1999 and five years later added 113 acres that had been part of Castleton Farm. Pamela Humphrey Firman’s Whileaway had bred 1985 Belmont Stakes winner Creme Fraiche, the fourth in Woody Stephens’s historic streak of five wins in the race.

With Biszantz, a longtime owner who has also been lauded for his efforts in Thoroughbred aftercare, at the helm, Cobra bred Grade 1 winner Lunar Sovereign and the graded stakes winner Nates Mineshaft. The farm also bred and raced the graded stakes winner Cobra King and campaigned the multiple graded stakes winner Old Trieste.

Cobra Farm also raced Star of Goshen, who eventually gave it another link to the Belmont Stakes. The Lord At War mare won three of her five career starts – including the La Troienne, with a runner-up effort in the Edgewood Stakes – before joining the broodmare band. Her fourth foal was a Gone West colt purchased for $680,000 by the nascent Zayat Stables at the 2005 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale.

Ahmed Zayat was so impressed by Forefathers – a graded-stakes-placed runner – that he privately purchased Star of Goshen and her daughter Regala Di Trieste from Biszantz. Star of Goshen was carrying the Empire Maker colt who would become Grade 1 winner Pioneerof the Nile, the sire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.