September 2019 Member of the Month: Tracy Farmer
Tracy Farmer is the TOBA September Member of the Month
In past years, Tracy Farmer has owned champions and grade 1 winners, but 2019 has brought him even greater levels of success. On June 8, Farmer homebred Sir Winston captured the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1). The classic win was a personal highlight for Farmer.
Kentucky native Farmer marveled, “Well, it feels like an out-of-body experience, because Sir Winston—I bred him and tried to sell him, didn’t get a bid[…] It’s just been a great year for me in the horse business. I have two great horses and many more promising ones, homebreds and horses I’ve purchased, so it’s been a great year. Winning the Belmont is something I always wanted to do but winning any of the Triple Crown races is something I always wanted to do, [and] it’s very pleasing that I’ve done it.”
Having made a name for himself as a success in the real estate and banking industries, Farmer also nurtures excellence in his own backyard. He and his wife, Carol, reside on their 150-acre Shadowlane Farm near Midway, Ky. “The first thing I see every morning is horses,” he observed. He said, “I enjoy getting involved in the breeding and racing of the horses, seeing what kind they are when they’re young weanlings on the farm, keeping up with them while they’re training and seeing if they meet your expectations. You’re busy all the time with horses.” Longtime proponents of Thoroughbred aftercare, the Farmers received the 2019 Equine Advocates award, alongside Staci Hancock. They also have joined the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA).
Their 20-strong broodmare band includes second-generation homebred La Gran Bailadora, dam of Sir Winston. Farmer said, “Well, she’s a stakes winner for us and her mother was a stakes winner for us. We’ve had them–ever since I’ve been in the business, they’ve been with me. That means a great deal.” Farmer purchased La Gran Bailadora’s dam, Affirmed Dancer, for $150,000 at the 1999 Keeneland November sale.
He campaigned the daughter of Affirmed to $211,100 in earnings and a triumph in the 2003 My Charmer Stakes. Bred to Afleet Alex, Affirmed Dancer issued La Gran Bailadora, who tallied the 2011 Distorted Humor Kentucky Cup Distaff Stakes (G3) before being retired to Farmer’s broodmare band. Werk Thoroughbreds’ resident bloodstock expert, Sid Fernando, advised Farmer to send her to Awesome Again. That mating produced Sir Winston. “It’s amazing how someone points out a good breeding possibility that you had never thought about,” Farmer said.
Farmer named the resulting Awesome Again – La Gran Bailadora colt after a personal hero. An avid history reader, he enjoys Winston Churchill biographies. He noted that “most people don’t realize, he owned numerous horses and raced quite a bit. It was later in life, but he was really all in and involved. He’s an interesting person.” Sir Winston’s achievements came as a surprise for his owner-breeder. “Well, his style of running is something I’ve seen but not had much experience with,” Farmer recalled. In the March 9 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2), the three-year-old loped along most of the race, then “made a run that was just unbelievable,” Farmer noted, hitting the wire a fast-closing fifth.
After a seventh-place finish in the April 6 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2), Sir Winston headed to Belmont Park. He ran a good second in the May 11 Peter Pan Stakes (G3) before earning his Belmont win. But Farmer wasn’t able to celebrate in person. “Well, I wasn’t at the race, that’s the strange thing,” he said. “I was home. I was ill, I had a short illness, but it’s amazing–you win a race like the Belmont and you’re watching on TV. But all my friends, they had a great time and that was good. But that’s the only race I’ve missed that he’s had.”
Although Sir Winston sat out summer racing due to an ankle injury, Farmer still entered the Spa’s winner’s circle with Perfect Alibi, who first took the August 4 Adirondack Stakes (G2). He bought the daughter of Sky Mesa for $220,000 at last year’s Saratoga August Yearling sale. The Adirondack victory came just one year after the purchase. He said, “We love her and she’s already brought us a tremendous amount of joy[…]it’s not like you lost, when you bought one.” And Farmer got to celebrate in fine style on September 1, when Perfect Alibi delivered a perfect 1¼-length victory in the Spinaway Stakes (G1).