Visit Horse Country: Airdrie Stud’s Encompassing Industry Influence

The Life
Thoroughbred mares and foals enjoy the pasture at Airdrie Stud in central Kentucky. (Courtesy of Airdrie Stud)

Airdrie Stud between Versailles and Midway, Ky., is built on the land that formerly housed the most influential stallion of the 19th Century. Since it was founded in 1972 by Brereton and Libby Jones, Airdrie has been a constant leader in the Central Kentucky Thoroughbred industry, breeding, campaigning, and selling major stakes winners and building a reputation as a stud farm known for astute stallion signings and bloodstock matings.

Airdrie Stud sits on more than 2,500 acres just off of Old Frankfort Pike in Woodford County, a road dating back to the Revolutionary War era that is famous for its breathtakingly beautiful scenery and is home to several of the industry’s leading stud farms. Much of Airdrie’s property was once Woodburn Stud, known as the birthplace of Kentucky’s breeding industry. The farm, founded in the late 18th Century and grown into prominence by Robert A. Alexander, was the home of Lexington, the leading stallion in the United States for 16 years during the 1800s and the birthplace of five early Kentucky Derby winners.

Stallions Creative Cause (left) and Mark Valeski. (Courtesy of Airdrie Stud)

Woodburn Stud was used as farmland for the first 70 years or so of the 20th Century after the death of Robert A. Alexander’s brother. But in 1972, Brereton Jones purchased the land along with his wife, Libby, who is a descendant of the Alexander family. The Joneses reverted the mineral-rich, picturesque bluegrass pastures back to the purpose of horse breeding to great success that has lasted for nearly half a century.

Jones, who had begun his political career in West Virginia before moving to Kentucky, served as lieutenant governor of the commonwealth from 1987-'91 and was then elected as governor and served from 1991 to 1995. After politics, Jones continued his extensive involvement in the Thoroughbred industry, founding the advocacy organization Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) in 2004. Jones received the 2008 Warner L. Jones Horseman of the Year Award, and he has been named this year’s Honor Guest at the Thoroughbred Club of America’s annual dinner Sept. 27.

Many of Jones’ most successful racehorses in recent years have been fillies, including Kentucky Oaks winners Proud Spell (2008), Believe You Can (2012), and  Lovely Maria (2015). Airdrie is also known for adding young stallions to their roster that may not possess the initial “wow” factor in terms of their racetrack résumé or pedigree but subsequently achieve success – promising stallions Creative Cause (sire of Significant Form and Pavel) and Cairo Prince (sire of Royal Charlotte) being current examples. The farm also is active as a consignor at the major Thoroughbred auctions, selling a War Front colt out of Believe You Can to Godolphin for $2.7 million at the recently completed Keeneland September yearling sale.

Tours of Airdrie are offered through Horse Country, last approximately 45 minutes, and are offered year-round to guests interested in learning about the farm’s rich history and experiencing the region’s unparalleled natural splendor. For more information and to book a visit, click here.

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