Visit Horse Country: Keene Ridge Farm, Small and Successful

Members of Keene Ridge’s Equestrian retraining division in December. (Courtesy of Keene Ridge Farm/Facebook)

Keene Ridge Farm lies in the heart of central Kentucky’s picturesque Thoroughbred breeding region, close to Keeneland Race Course. The 170-acre farm opened for business in 1994, and owner Ann Bakhaus has seen Keene Ridge grow through the subsequent quarter century into a respected operation that epitomizes small business savvy, astute breeding strategies, and a commitment toward caring for retirees.

Courtesy of Keene Ridge Farm/Facebook

Bakhaus, the president of the family-owned, Lexington-headquartered beverage distributing company Kentucky Eagle, developed a love for horses and farm life at an early age and realized her dream by founding Keene Ridge. From the start, it has focused on breeding Thoroughbreds for the commercial auction market, and had a breakthrough success less than a decade after opening when the farm bred a colt by the stallion Smart Strike and a mare named Belva out of champion Theatrical who was purchased for $50,000 at the 2003 Keeneland September yearling sale.

That colt, eventually named English Channel, became a 2007 Eclipse Award winner as champion turf male and earned over $5 million as a racehorse before embarking on his own stud career, with successful progeny including Channel Maker, Heart to Heart, The Pizza Man, and V.E. Day.

Keene Ridge is also notable for having a quality broodmare band, and in 2018 the farm opened its Keene Ridge Equestrian Division, offering boarding and retraining for retired horses to place them on a new career path.

Tours are offered through Horse Country and allow guests to learn about the daily business operations of a small commercial breeding farm. Depending on the time of year, visitors meet some of the yearlings that are foaled at Keene Ridge for Bakhaus and for the farm’s clients, and the tour on Keene Ridge’s “Welcome Wagon” also features a hayride. The next tours begin in April 2020; for more information, click here.

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