01/03/2011 4:16PM

Spring Hill's Evans remembered as great sportsman


LEXINGTON, Ky. − The Dec. 31 death of Spring Hill Farm owner Edward P. Evans robbed the sport of one of its leading owners. It has also left farm manager Chris Baker with a lot of fond memories of Evans, whom Baker called “a great sportsman.”

Evans, 68, died of acute myeloid leukemia as his homebreeding program was closing out a very good season, led by Quality Road’s return to his best form with three Grade 1 races as one of the year’s better older males. Malibu Prayer also won the Grade 1 Ruffian Invitational, and A Little Warm won the Grade 2 Jim Dandy.

“When you think about that part of the man that was represented by what we do here, there is so much left on the table,” Baker, 47, said. “The huge investment he made over the last 40 years, he won’t get to reap the rewards for that. We might get some sense of accomplishment after these horses go on into other hands, but it will be bittersweet. It certainly won’t be the same without Mr. Evans here. I felt like this program was like a volcano about to erupt, to explode into an even more productive entity with his guidance and intuition as a breeder.”

Baker, the Virginia farm’s manager for 10 years, described his former boss as a deeply involved farm owner whose breeding plans often were made on instinct but who also had a highly detailed mental Rolodex of his mares, their characteristics, and what kind of stallions and stud fees suited those mares. He had favorites, Baker said. Quality Road was one.

“And he was very fond of Minstrella and anything related to Minstrella,” Baker said, referring to a Group 1 winner and graded producer that is the second dam of A Little Warm. “He also was very fond of Raging Fever, and he appreciated her courage and ability.”

Evans, too, had a strong will, Baker said, that helped him move past setbacks such as Quality Road’s infamous gate-scratch at the 2009 Breeders’ Cup.

“He knew things wouldn’t always go well, knew horses get sick and die, knew sometimes things were disappointing,” Baker said. “But he still always got up and went at it every day, knowing you don’t always win. That’s what I’ll always remember. He was fortunate to have the means, but it was his will that drove it more than the means. His passion and his willingness to invest and come back for more, that’s what made it happen.”

Daily life at the farm continues much as usual for now, Baker said, as lawyers and the executors of Evans’s will determine what will happen to the Spring Hill property and bloodstock.

“We’ve got 60 mares to foal and one of them’s waxed up and looks like she’s ready to go any time now, and we still have all the other livestock, the cattle and the farm to maintain,” he said. “We’ve got a very good interior team, and we have the people in place to get everything done once we’ve got our marching orders.”

Temple City stud fee set at $5,000

B. Wayne Hughes’s Temple City, a record-setting Grade 3 winner, will enter stud at his owner’s Spendthrift Farm with a $5,000 stands-and-nurses stud fee, the Lexington farm has announced.

A 5-year-old Dynaformer horse, Temple City was retired in late 2010 after a career that included a track mark of 2:30.46 in Del Mar’s 1 1/2-mile Cougar II Handicap last year. Temple City also finished second in the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup and Grade 2 American Handicap in 2010, beaten by a head both times. He also was third in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap in 2009.

Temple City is from the family of Spendthrift’s flagship sire, Malibu Moon, as he is out of Malibu Moon’s half-sister, the unraced Danzig mare Curriculum.

Spendthrift will offer its Share the Upside Program for Temple City and its other first-year sires in 2011, Warrior’s Reward and Line of David. Under the program, a breeder can earn a lifetime breeding right in the stallion by breeding a mare to the horse at the full stud fee price. Once the foal is born in 2012 and the breeder has paid the stud fee, that breeder will have a right in the stallion for the horse’s lifetime at no additional cost.

Lane’s End to have open house for week

Lane’s End in Versailles, Ky., will host an open house from Jan. 8-14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. The open house will take place at the farm’s stallion complex on Midway Road.

All of the Lane’s End stallions will be available for inspection and visitors will not require an appointment during the open house, the farm announced. Food and drink will be available.

For a map to the stallion complex, see www.lanesend.com/visitors/location.html.