12/05/2008 12:00AM

Indy Wind earned his stud chance, Tarrant says


Burlington, Vt., is not usually associated with horse country, but for Amy Tarrant, the owner of Hard Acres Farm in Ocala, Fla., Burlington is where her lifelong romance with horses began.

"Our neighbors had horses, and my sister and I just loved being around them," Tarrant said. "We pleaded with our father to buy us a pony. He did. And I have been involved with horses ever since."

For most of Tarrant's adult life, horses meant hunter-jumpers. She would seek out Thoroughbreds and other breeds who measured up to her standards. Some of the schooled horses she kept for her own purposes; others were schooled and sold.

"When the last of my kids went off to college, I felt that I wanted to do something else in the horse world and the decision I made was to invest in Thoroughbreds," she said.

Tarrant was introduced to Ron Taylor, a well-known trainer who plies his trade mostly at Mid-Atlantic and Florida venues. Together they went shopping at the 2-year-old sales, and among their first purchases was Bold World from the 2001 Ocala Breeders' spring sale of 2-year-olds in training for $475,000. Bold World, sporting the Hard Acres colors, went on to become a multiple stakes winner, earning $376,710. She was subsequently sold in foal at the 2004 Keeneland fall mixed sale for $475,000.

In 2003, Tarrant and Taylor attended the Keeneland September yearling sale, and among the purchases was a colt by A.P. Indy who went to Hard Acres Farm for $150,000.

"Both Ron and myself were surprised that we were able to buy him for far less than the average price for an A.P. Indy colt at that sale," Tarrant said. "Ron could not find anything wrong with him that would prevent him from becoming a racehorse and neither could I."

It was about this time that Tarrant decided to go on her own and train her purchases and homebreds. Her venues are Monmouth and Gulfstream, with occasional trips to nearby Tampa Bay Downs. She currently has 24 horses in training, and they will soon be moving from Hard Acres Farm, a section of the former Fred Hooper facility, to Palm Meadows in preparation for the Gulfstream meeting.

The A.P. Indy yearling purchase was named Indy Wind. He made his debut in summer 2005. Despite the notorious Monmouth Park bias in favor of speed horses, Indy Wind rallied from far back in a six-furlong race and won his debut going away. His next start came at 1 1/16 miles in a first-level allowance. Indy Wind darted out of the gate, opened a daylight lead, and cantered home by more than 10 lengths.

"The phone was ringing off the hook," Tarrant said. "The offers were substantial."

Indy Wind would not race again that year, having suffered an injury in training.

"He was really never the same afterwards," said Tarrant, "even though he won several stakes and placed in graded events at 4, 5, and 6."

Tarrant is a pragmatist, and is hopeful that Indy Wind can develop into a successful sire. She is well aware that standing and supporting a stallion is a serious investment.

"He has the pedigree to become a successful sire," she said, "and despite a near career-ending fracture, he was able to compete at a high level. He's earned $392,900 and his chance in stud. I will be sending most of my 12 mares to him, and I hope other Florida breeders will invest in him as well."

Indy Wind is out of the unraced multiple stakes producer Zagora, by Kingmambo. The second dam is champion mare Late Bloomer. It is a black-type family that Greentree Stud developed in the second half of the 20th century.

Indy Wind stands at Brent and Crystal Fernung's Journeyman Stud for $2,500 due when the foal stands and nurses.

* The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association will conduct the second of several open houses at its Ocala facility from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Dec. 16. Members are invited to attend and discuss matters pertinent to Florida's Thoroughbred industry with the FTBOA's executive vice president, Dick Hancock, and members of the FTBOA board.