10/11/2011 3:09PM

WinStar names Baker as new GM


LEXINGTON, Ky. - WinStar Farm, which announced last week that its general manager Tony Cissell was leaving the post, said Tuesday that it has hired longtime Spring Hill Farm manager Chris Baker to fill that position.

Baker spent 11 years at Spring Hill in Casanova, Va., as general manager for the late Edward P. Evans’s homebreeding operation. During Baker’s tenure there, Evans and Spring Hill were among North America’s leading owners and breeders, and the operation produced or developed such horses as Quality Road and Saint Liam.

Evans died on Dec. 31, 2010, and his estate recently began dispersing his bloodstock holdings at the Keeneland September yearling sale, a process that Baker also oversaw. The 50 Spring Hill yearlings at Keeneland September grossed $6,527,000.

“I share a lot of enthusiasm with Kenny Troutt and Elliott Walden on their vision for WinStar, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of such a first-class operation,” Baker said in WinStar’s press release announcing his hiring.

Baker began his career in Thoroughbred racing on the training side, working in racing jurisdictions as diverse as England, Australia, New Zealand, and California. In California, his racetrack stints included time as assistant trainer with Hall of Fame trainers Richard Mandella and Neil Drysdale, with whom he had hands-on experience with champions A.P. Indy, Phone Chatter, and Kotashaan. Baker also held a trainer’s license himself in the late 1990’s before taking the job as Vinery’s farm manager. Evans hired him in late 2000.