06/26/2008 11:00PM

Parrish Hill Farm land changes hands


Southern Equine Stables principal Mike Moreno has purchased the Roach family's famed Parrish Hill Farm in Midway, Ky., and plans to establish a private nursery there.

The 300-acre farm produced the 1999 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner and Horse of the Year, Charismatic; 1984 champion mare Princess Rooney; and such Grade 1 winners as Cormorant, Storm Tower, and Millennium Wind, a half-brother to Charismatic.

Tom Roach, who currently owns Parrish Hill with his sisters Helen and Judy, said the private sale will close on Oct. 1. Roach and his wife, Robyn, who managed Parrish Hill for the family, are looking for a smaller property in the area. They plan to continue operating their breeding, boarding, and sales-prep business, Roach said.

Trainer Eric Guillot, who is partners with Moreno, said Southern Equine will "knock down the barns, fences, and main barn," then build six new barns, staff living quarters, and hay and storage barns before launching the new private operation.

"We're not going to board other people's horses or stand any studs," Guillot said, adding that Southern Equine will sell some of its young stock and keep others to race.

Moreno, who was vacationing Friday on a fishing trip in Vancouver, British Columbia, also owns a farm in Lafayette, La. Southern Equine owns or co-owns such well-known broodmares as Better Than Honour - the dam of Jazil, Rags to Riches, and Casino Drive - and Irish Cherry, dam of Grade 1 winners Spun Sugar and Daaher. Southern Equine purchased Irish Cherry, in foal to Ghostzapper, for $2.7 million earlier this year at the Keeneland January sale. Other recent acquisitions, alone or in partnership, include 2007 champion sprinter Maryfield for $1.25 million, Grade 1 winner Point Ashley for $1.8 million and Spoken Fur for $1.65 million.

The sale was bittersweet for Tom Roach, who noted that the Parrish Hill land has been in his family for more than 100 years. But as land values and the taxes on them escalate, it has been difficult for many family-owned farms to remain in family hands.

Tom and Robyn Roach's daughters, Amanda and Hallie, are in the horse business themselves, a factor that Tom Roach said has encouraged him to look for a new farm and stay in the breeding business.

"Both the girls love the farm and love the farm life, so that's a good reason to keep going," he said. "I guess you get to this point and think maybe you should retire to Florida, but it's better to keep busy. We've been pretty lucky at Parrish Hill for the last 30 or 40 years, and we hope we'll continue to be lucky. We wish Mike and Southern Equine the best and hope the farm is as good to him as it has been to us."

Charity to distribute more than $1.5M

The Thoroughbred Charities of America's board members have approved grants of $1,592,225 to 147 nonprofit groups working in equine rescue, veterinary research, backstretch services, education, and therapeutic riding.

Thoroughbred Charities of America raises funds primarily through an annual auction of art and stallion seasons and has made grants totaling more than $15 million in its 19 years in operation. Among the groups the TCA has supported are the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation's Equine Disaster Relief Fund; Blue Horse Charities; Canter racehorse adoption programs in Michigan, Ohio, and the Mid-Atlantic states; the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation; Woodford Humane Society; New York's Backstretch Education Fund; Kentucky's Horse Farm Workers Education Assistance Fund; and numerous other groups in 35 states.

"Nearly every stallion farm donates seasons to the TCA auction, purchased by other supporters, creating the funds so desperately needed by the very charities handling the industry's ex-racehorse, backstretch, research, and other vital non-profits," said the charity's executive director, Liz Harris.

The association's next fundraising art and stallion season auction is set for Dec. 5 at Keeneland with Fasig-Tipton Company's auctioneers manning the gavel.

Coolmore plays both ends at Inglis sale

The William Inglis auction house in Sydney, Australia, ended its two-day select weanling sale Friday with a Coolmore-consigned son of Encosta de Lago the highest priced horse at about $480,000.

The colt sold to Blue Sky Thoroughbreds.

Coolmore was on the buying end of the transaction for the auction's sale-topper, a More Than Ready-Milanova filly who brought about $600,000 at the Thursday session. The filly was sold by Tyreel Stud.

The two select sessions together sold 228 weanlings for about $7,383,312, resulting in an average price of about $32,383 and a median of approximately $14,500. Following the final select session on Friday, the company hosted an open weanling session that grossed about $234,960 for 47 horses. The average price was about $4,999, and the median was approximately $2,400.