Visit Horse Country: Coolmore America’s Global Reach

The Life
Ashford Stud, located in Woodford Co., Ky., is a leading Thoroughbred breeding farm for the international Coolmore Stud operation. (Courtesy of Coolmore America)

Coolmore Stud is arguably one of the two most important international Thoroughbred owner/breeder entities in the sport over the past half-century, along with Darley Stud. The multifaceted business originated in Ireland during the mid-1970s and through the years has exerted influence in every major racing jurisdiction to one degree or another while also revolutionizing the breeding and sales sectors of the industry. Legendary sires such as Sadler’s Wells, Danehill, Giant’s Causeway, and the contemporary Galileo all have helped Coolmore make a lasting impact on the breed, and Coolmore’s home base in County Tipperary, Ireland, and outpost in Australia continue to thrive as the third decade of the 21st century begins. (Read more about Coolmore’s history in this profile from America’s Best Racing.)

Bob Baffert and Justify at Ashford Stud. (Courtesy of Coolmore America)

Coolmore America is located at Ashford Stud, which sits on a picturesque 2,000-plus acres and provides some of the most pleasant sight lines during a drive through northern Woodford County in central Kentucky along U.S. 60. Coolmore owner John Magnier acquired the farm during the mid-1980s and quickly grew it into one of the premier breeding operations in North America, with a truly global reach. The late Giant’s Causeway, aka “The Iron Horse,” moved to Ashford Stud in the early 1990s after one breeding season in Ireland and became Coolmore’s cornerstone stallion in the U.S., leading the North American general sire list three times (2009, 2010, 2012).

Other notable sires through the years at Ashford include the late Thunder Gulch (owned by Coolmore-affiliated Michael Tabor during his racing days when he won the 1995 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes) and the late Scat Daddy, sire of 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify. Currently, Ashford is represented by some of the most promising young stallions in the industry, touting impeccable racetrack résumés and pedigrees. The group is led by 2015 Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year American Pharoah, who ended 2019 as the leading freshman sire in North America, and also features champion Uncle Mo, who has already sired a Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner in Nyquist, champion Lookin At Lucky, the sire of 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate, and Justify, who was represented by his first foal on Jan. 3.

Tours of Ashford Stud are offered through Horse Country for 1 to 14 guests per booking and last one hour. According to the Ashford page on Horse Country’s website, both American Pharoah and Justify may be available to visit with during the upcoming tours this breeding season, but an appearance is not guaranteed. Click here for more information.

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