2023 Kentucky Derby Hopeful Snapshots: Two Phil’s
WinStar Farm has been one of the preeminent multi-service Thoroughbred operations in the world over the past 15-plus years, and the Versailles, Ky.-based farm is currently in the midst of a four-year run of success that shows no signs of abating.
In 2015, American Pharoah, a son of WinStar stallion Pioneerof the Nile, won the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. In 2016, WinStar’s co-owned Creator won the Belmont Stakes and the farm received the Outstanding Breeder Eclipse Award. Last year, Always Dreaming, sired by WinStar stallion Bodemeister, won the Kentucky Derby. And this year, Justify became the 13th Triple Crown winner in history, bringing Kenny Troutt’s operation front and center in national coverage of the sport along with the colt’s co-owners China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, and Starlight Racing.
Troutt, a Texas entrepreneur who founded Excel Communications and first ventured into the horse industry in the 1980s, launched WinStar Farm with Bill Casner in 2000 after purchasing 400-acre Prestonwood Farm near Versailles. WinStar has since expanded to approximately 2,700 acres of some of the most beautiful land in central Kentucky’s unique Bluegrass region, located along Pigsah Pike and with easy access to the Lexington airport, Keeneland, and other important Thoroughbred industry destinations.
WinStar became a regular presence at Thoroughbred racing’s top level quickly, owning such horses as 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver and 2010 Belmont Stakes and 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Drosselmeyer, among many others. The business received its first Eclipse Award in 2010 as Outstanding Owner. Troutt became sole owner of WinStar in late 2010.
WinStar’s stallion business is equally prominent, ranking in the top five among all North American breeders every year since 2012, and its current roster is one of the largest and most diverse in terms of bloodlines among all major stud farms. In addition to Pioneerof the Nile and Bodemeister, other notable stallions include two-time Horse of the Year and veteran sire Tiznow, More Than Ready, the sire of recent Runhappy Travers Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets winner Catholic Boy, and champion sprinter and versatile stallion Speightstown.
Elliot Walden, WinStar’s racing manager and president/CEO, is a former trainer who won the 1998 Belmont Stakes with Victory Gallop, denying Real Quiet the Triple Crown. He manages a racing stable that, in addition to Justify’s historic success, is well-represented by recent stakes winners owned in partnerships including Audible, Quip, Yoshida, and Battle of Midway. WinStar also offers breaking, training, and rehabilitation services by a team that is respected industry-wide.
Walden is also the face of one of the farm’s most popular innovations – WinStar Stablemates. This immersive, fan-centric program gives people the opportunity to, as its website states, “get the closest experience one can get of being a Thoroughbred farm and racing operation without actually owning or being responsible for a major Thoroughbred farm.” Stablemates membership packages offer perks ranging from private tours, naming rights for 2-year-olds, and VIP track access (all at the highest membership level) to apparel, viewing privileges for stallion cams, and Horse Country tours.
WinStar Farm’s tours through Horse Country are an hour long and offer visitors a chance to experience daily operations at the stallion barn. Due to increased fan demand after Justify’s recent Kentucky return, dates are sold out through Oct. 27, but the farm will provide updates on tour availability on its website and through Horse Country this fall.