01/23/2017 12:46PM

WinStar's Eclipse Award result of a team effort

Barbara D. Livingston
Breeders' Cup Mile winner Tourist helped WinStar become the top breeders of 2016.

Only a handful of representatives for Kenny and Lisa Troutt’s WinStar Farm could get up on the stage to accept the operation’s Eclipse Award as outstanding breeder last Saturday night at Gulfstream Park. However, farm president and chief executive Elliott Walden noted that there were dozens who belonged there.

“Of all the awards presented tonight, I think the breeder is one of the most collaborative efforts,” Walden said. “You have the stallion team, the broodmares, the yearlings, the owners that buy our horses at the sales, the trainers that they give them to.

“Our broodmare manager and his team, Jeff Danford; our yearling manager, Donnie Preston, and his team; and our training division, Richard Budge and his team, Gerry Davis and his team. Larry McGinnis does an awesome job with our stallions and his team. Our vet, Natanya Nieman, has been there from the beginning. And [chief financial officer] Jack Mullikin and our good friend and general manager, David Hanley. And Kenny and Lisa Troutt have given us the resources to get up every morning and work hard and make the dream possible.”

WinStar Farm was established in 2000 by Kenny Troutt and Bill Casner, who purchased the former Prestonwood Farm to house their operation. Casner left the partnership in 2010. Over its fairly brief history compared to other prominent Kentucky operations, WinStar has grown by leaps and bounds and currently sprawls across 2,400 acres in Versailles. As it built up one of the largest stud rosters in the heart of horse country, WinStar constructed a state-of-the-art new stallion facility in 2013 that houses 22 stallions.

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This is the second Eclipse Award for WinStar. The operation earned the outstanding owner title in 2010, when a pair of classic winners carried its silks. In 2016, it earned the outstanding breeder title by leading the nation’s breeders in earnings ($10,516,427), winners (239), and graded stakes wins (15). That was enough to capture the title by a clear margin, with Winstar garnering 164 first-place votes and beating out fellow finalists Clearsky Farms (62) and Juddmonte Farms (4). Juddmonte did take home the 2016 outstanding owner title.

WinStar’s season was highlighted by breeding a pair of Breeders’ Cup winners. The homebred Tourist, by flagship sire Tiznow, won the Breeders’ Cup Mile by a half-length over defending winner and two-time Eclipse champion Tepin. It was his second Grade 1 victory of the season, following the Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga. One day earlier, New Money Honey, whom WinStar bred and sold for $450,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale, captured the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in the colors of e Five Racing.

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Tourist and New Money Honey were finalists in their respective Eclipse divisions, but those awards went elsewhere. WinStar was, however, represented in the ranks of equine champions by its stallions. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and unanimous champion juvenile male Classic Empire is by Triple Crown sire Pioneerof the Nile, giving the stallion Eclipse titlists in three consecutive seasons after American Pharoah captured trophies in 2014 and 2015. Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and champion 3-year-old male Arrogate is out of a daughter of Distorted Humor, an emerging broodmare sire.

The future looks bright for the WinStar stallion operation. Along with its stalwarts like Tiznow, Distorted Humor, and Speightstown, the barn houses a number of up-and-comers. Bodemeister and Gemologist both ranked among the top five freshman sires of 2016. Meanwhile, the operation adds four newcomers for 2017 – including two homebreds occupying the same barn as their sires in Tourist and Grade 3 winner Speightster.

“He has always possessed all the best attributes of Tiznow, who we’re convinced is going to be an important sire of sires,” Walden said of Tourist. “We have long believed Tourist and Gemologist had what it took to carry on the sire line, and we’re seeing that now with Gemologist and his first 2-year-olds.”