Calumet Farm, Fares Farm and Manchester Farm

Calumet History

The Calumet farm name is legendary in the history of Thoroughbred breeding and racing. Calumet, located next to Keeneland Racecourse, was established by William Monroe Wright in 1924, but started as a Standardbred racing operation. His family owned the Calumet Baking Powder Company of Chicago, which Warren's father, William Monroe Wright, eventually sold to General Foods in 1928, just before the Depression hit. 

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Stallion paddocks at Calumet

RunTheBluegrass


In 1931, Mr. Wright died and the farm passed on to his son, Warren Wright Sr., who transitioned over to Thoroughbreds with the goal of winning the Kentucky Derby. The year he died, the farm's Calumet Butler won the Hambletonian, the top race in trotting. (Calumet is the only farm to have sent out winners of both the Hambletonian and the Kentucky Derby.) 

In 1936, Calument bought an interest in the stud career of English Derby winner Blenheim II and purchased eventual five-time leading Calumet foundation sire Bull Lea for $14,000 as a yearling. Three years later, Calumet hired horse trainer Ben A. Jones, who was soon also joined by his son Jimmy. In 1941, Whirlaway finally won the Kentucky Derby for Calumet - the first for the Lexington nursery – and went on to win the Triple Crown and kick started a phenomenal era in the history of the farm.

Over the ‘40’s and ‘50s Calumet dominated American racing and in 1947, became the first owner to exceed $1 million in purse earnings in a single year. And in 1948, Citation (sired by Calumet’s leading stallion Bull Lea) also won the Triple Crown. Between 1947-’49, 1952-’53 Bull Lea was America’s leading sire. And from 1941 through 1961, Calumet won two Triple Crowns and seven Kentucky Derbys and topped the Thoroughbred earnings list a phenomenal 12 times.

In 1950 Warren Wright Sr. died and his widow Lucille Wright inherited the farm. She ran Calumet for another 30 years. Although to that point, Lucille's main contribution to Calumet had been naming the horses, her husband left the farm in her hands rather than in those of their adopted son, Warren Jr. "He set her up as the lifetime tenant in charge of running it, or she had the right to sell it if she so desired," says Margaret Glass, who served as Calumet's office manager from 1940 through 1982. But upon Lucille's death, according to the will, if the farm had not been sold, Calumet would go to Warren Jr., his wife, Bertha, and their four children.


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Calumet Farm office

RunTheBluegrass

Maggie Glass - as she was usually known - worked for Calumet for over 40 years. She came to Calumet the year before homebred Whirlaway won the 1941 Triple Crown and in the ‘90s helped spearhead saving the 500 Calumet trophies at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington and keeping them on display.

Under Lucille’s guidance, Calumet Farm won the Kentucky Derby four times beginning with Hill Gail (1952), Iron Liege (1957), Tim Tam (1958), and Forward Pass (1968). Among her other horses, in 1977 her filly Our Mims (named after her second husband's daughter, Melinda) won the Eclipse Award as the American Champion Three-Year-Old filly, in 1979 another filly, Davona Dale won the Triple Tiara of Thoroughbred Racing (and finished fourth in the 1979 Travers Stakes against colts), and in 1981 another filly, Before Dawn was voted the Eclipse Award as Champion Three Year Old filly.

In 1952, Lucille Wright married Admiral Gene Markey – a screenwriter, a retired Navy commodore, and Hollywood scriptwriter. He enjoyed a good social life and parties and had been married previously to three of the world's most beautiful actresses—Joan Bennett, Hedy Lamarr and Myrna Loy.

Lucille had a Jack Russell terrier named Timmy Tammy that went with her everywhere she travelled, and it is rumored that Calumet stallion Tim Tam was named after the dog. Hobbies included travel, needlepoint and collecting statues of eagles. (In 18th century Kentucky, eagles were widely believed to be a symbol of good luck.) Today visitors are greeted by an eagle sitting on top of each pillar at the main farm gates.

Back at the track, in 1968 Forward Pass, who finished second, became the only horse to date to win the Kentucky Derby via disqualification after Dancer’s Image’s positive drug test. This brought Calumet its eighth Derby win.

All in all, under the guidance of Warren Wright and later his widow, Lucille Wright Markey, in the famed devil red and blue Calumet colors, Calumet had a remarkable win strike rate of 50 percent! This culminated in 1978, with homebred Alydar finished second to Affirmed in every leg of the Triple Crown. He was a half-brother to Our Mims and came back to Calumet to stand as a stallion.

Lucille’s second husband died in 1980, after which Lucille established the Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust. The Trust's aims were to benefit basic medical research and this Trust helped set up the Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky.

Lucille Markey died two years later, on July 24, 1982 at the age of 85 in Miami, Florida. She is buried next to her second husband, Admiral Gene Markey, in Lexington Cemetery in Lexington, Kentucky.

As Warren Wright Jr., her only son and heir, predeceased her in 1978, his widow Bertha Cochran Wright and their four children (two sons and two daughters) inherited Calumet Farm. The operational management of Calumet passed to the husband of her granddaughter Cindy, J.T. Lundy. Lucille’s daughter-in-law Bertha, she felt could not handle the day-to-day administration of the farm, and none of Bertha's four children—Warren III, Thomas, Lucille (Cindy) and Courtenay—had shown much interest in the horse business.

Lucille, it is said, hated the idea of Lundy being in charge. In the late '70s, she almost sold the farm to Will Farish, a Texan and friend of a politician named George Bush. However, Markey eventually backed out. Farish, a keen polo player and horseman, went on to buy land in neighboring Woodford County and established what is now known as Lane’s End Farm.

In 1990 Alydar reigned as America’s leading sire when his son Criminal Type took Horse of the Year honors, winning an Eclipse Award for  Calumet as leading breeder. But that November, Alydar was euthanized after breaking his leg in a suspicious stall accident. In 1991, Alydar’s son Strike the Gold, bred and sold by Calumet, won the Kentucky Derby but later that year, the farm declared bankruptcy due to debts and loans accrued during JT Lundy’s era.

Alydar is buried in the Calumet cemetery.

Alydar is buried in the Calumet cemetery.

A tremendous sale was held and the farm contents and the farm itself was auctioned off. In 1992, Henryk de Kwiatkowski bought Calumet for $17 million. After his death, in 2003, the farm was for sale again. In 2012, Calumet Farm sold for $35.9 million to the Calumet Investment Group, owned by Brad Kelley.

Present day Calumet with Eddie Kane, Calumet Farm Manager

Oxbow at Calumet Farm

Oxbow at Calumet Farm

In 2012, Kelley won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint with Hightail. Hightail now stands as a stallion in Arkansas. In 2013, Kelley-owned Oxbow became the first Kentucky Derby runner to start under Calumet’s name in more than two decades, finishing sixth. Two weeks later, the colt won the Preakness Stakes, and was second in the Belmont. Oxbow now stands as a stallion at Calumet.

Kelley also owns farms Hurricane Hall, Bluegrass Hall, Fares Farm and Manchester Farm – the latter two are on the RunTheBluegrass half marathon route. Kelley is one of the ten largest landowners in the U.S., owning more than 1.2 million acres. He is also an active wildlife conservationist. Calumet and the other Kentucky farms owned by Kelley cover some 4000 acres and in March, as the foals are being born and as runners are passing the famous white farm fences, the farm can be home to some 450 mares, 300 foals, 300 yearlings and approximately 12 stallions!

In 2017 Calumet was represented in the Derby by homebreds Patch (who only has one eye), Hence and Sonneteer. Todd Pletcher-trained Patch’s best finish was third in that same year’s Belmont Stakes. In 2017, Calumet Farm as an owner was ranked third by earnings and tenth by wins.

In 2018 Calumet homebred Bravazo ran in the Derby and was second in the Preakness behind Justify. He also ran in the 2018 Breeder’s Cup at Churchill Downs and finished third in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile.  Calumet also campaigned Oxy Lady to a win in the G3 Tempted Stakes and Vexatious in the G3 Dowager Stakes.

Other notable horses from Calumet owned farms – were that Lane’s End stallions A.P. Indy and Curlin had their early starts at Fares. Curlin was born at Fares Farm and A.P. Indy did his early training there. A new stallion to stand at Calumet Farm for 2019 is sprinter Ransom The Moon, by Malibu Moon.

Helen Alexander's Middlebrook Farm

Helen Alexander’s Middlebrook Farm – Mile 7.

Helen Alexander’s Middlebrook Farm can be found at the bottom of the valley before the ascent to the Headly Whitney Museum and opposite Cathy Wieschoff’s Carriage Station. As clearly defined by the white fencing as it is for raising racehorses, the farm has some Texas roots and a family dynasty in the Thoroughbred industry.

The farm’s heritage can be traced back to Capt. Richard King’s King Ranch, in Texas. King started the farm in 1853, with 15,000 acres that he bought for $300! By the time King died in 1885, King Ranch had grown to 614,000 acres!

The King Ranch brand has become well known for cattle, horses and the Ford F-150s that bear the farm’s name. King Ranch raised the first recognized breed of cattle in America – known as the Santa Gertrudis.

Photo credits: Middlebrook Farm.

Then in 1915, Bob Kleberg, King’s grandson, bought a colt called Old Sorrel. He became a champion Quarter Horse sire and put King Ranch on the map as a Quarter Horse breeder. King Ranch also stood a stallion called Wimpy that was the first registered stallion in the American Quarter Horse Stud Book.

Later, King’s widow, Henrietta, and son-in-law, Robert Kleberg, began raising Thoroughbreds at the farm and bought the 1936 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, Bold Venture. At stud, he sired the 1946 King Ranch-raised and owned seventh Triple Crown winner Assault and 1950 Kentucky Derby and Belmont winner, Middleground.

Assault did not have an easy start to his racing career. He stepped on a surveyor’s spike as a foal which split his right front hoof and there was a chance he would need to be euthanized. The injury as a foal caused a foot infection. The vets had to cut away the foot to save him and he needed special shoes the rest of his life, to protect his foot. When he walked or jogged he moved with a noticeable limp, but galloping – he moved as if he had nothing wrong. Runners come in all shapes and sizes – even Usain Bolt’s form leaving the starting blocks has been judged! Assault proved those that judged him - wrong!

In a story that seems right out of a horse novel and maybe an inspiration to us runners, pushing through health issues and injuries, Assault seemed determined to succeed. He suffered from kidney problems, splints, ankle issues, bad knees, and he sometimes bled in his airway when he ran. Yet he went on to tally 18 wins from 42 starts and earned over $670,000, making him a leading money winner of his time.

Kleberg’s daughter Helen Groves continued the Thoroughbred tradition through four of her children, including Helen Alexander. Together and independently, the sisters have raised or been associated with a lineage of successful racehorses. Helen bred and raise 2014 Breeder’s Cup Classic winner – Bayern, managed King Ranch after her grandfather died in 1974 and now owns and runs Middlebrook Farm, that you run past on Old Frankfort Pike.

Helen’s sister, Emory Hamilton, bred Ashford stallion Verrazano.  And another sister, Dorothy Alexander Matz, has bred several horses and is married to US Olympic rider Michael Matz, who also trained legendary racehorse and Derby winner, Barbaro.

Other horses raised at Middlebrook include Arch (who now stands stallion duties at Claiborne Farm), and Unbridled Delight. More recently, Middlebrook Farm was connected with Free Drop Billy and Lone Sailor who both ran in the 2018 Kentucky Derby. Lone Sailor’s birthday is actually March 30, 2015, so he will be celebrating his 4th birthday on race day!

Photo credits: Vanessa Seitz



Carriage Station Farm and Arendahl Farm

Cathy Wieschhoff’s Carriage Station Farm – Mile 7.

Carriage Station Farm is located at mile 7 on Old Frankfort Pike. A COS from the world of Thoroughbred horse farms, Carriage Station is a mecca for event riders. Eventing might be better explained as being the triathlon of the horse world – where riders and horses have to compete in three events – dressage, cross country and eventing over three days.

Owned by Jessica Bollinger, with Cathy Wieschhoff, Carriage Station Farm is home to eventing and riding horses. A hundred or so acres with an indoor and outdoor arena and cross country eventing course, Wieshoff trains under the banner of CF Farms, with her riders competing in local and national event circuits. Wieschhoff is a graduate of the US Pony Club, attaining her A-rating, and is a life member who gives back unselfishly to the sport.

However, Wieschhoff herself has quite the list of achievements, nationally and internationally. Wieschhoff has competed at the four-star Rolex Kentucky Three Day event (now known as the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event held at the Kentucky Horse Park in the spring) and at the four-star Burghley Three-Day Event (England), among others.

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Cathy Wieschhoff

Carriage Station Farm

Wieschhoff competed back before the eventing format changed (before the Atlanta Olympics in 1996). The traditional three-day event classic format was dressage on Thursday or Friday, cross-country on Saturday and show jumping on Sunday. But the Saturday was a longer format than riders are familiar with today. Saturday’s format used to include a 30-minute roads and tracks, a steeplechase phase, followed by a second 45-minute roads and tracks phase, then a 10-minute veterinary box where the horse’s vital signs were checked for fitness and the horse and rider given the go-ahead to continue on to the now sole cross-country phase, which is another 11-12 minutes. Fitness of horse and rider was vital; conditioning, training, preparing, in much the same way a runner needs to prepare mentally and physically for a long-distance race.

Wieschhoff teaches eventing, show jumping and dressage and has re-trained several former Thoroughbred racehorses. 

Horses competed by Wieschhoff include: Spelga Dam (better known by her stablename Kate), a mare that Wieschhoff competed for many years. They competed stateside in 1997 and at Burghley, in England, in 1998. They competed for over seven years at the highest level.

Other notable horses include Opie (Ocotillo) and Speed Rail, with whom Wieschhoff won the overall eventing title at the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover in 2016. And Title Contender who she also competed at the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover and finished 3rd in the Eventing division.

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Cathy Wieschhoff and Kit

The mule she evented in the ‘80s!

(Photo: USCTA News)


And Wieschhoff fondly remembers a mule named Kit that she rode in the 80’s, that all started as somewhat of a joke, but the joke ended up being on those that didn’t believe as they watched Kit compete – and win – in eventing!

When she is not riding or teaching Wieschhoff has a secret love for Whoopie Pies, UK basketball, her cats and dogs, spending time with family and friends and escaping the Kentucky weather for the Florida horse circuit in the winter months!

Arendahl Farm

Seasoned runners may notice a new farm on Old Frankfort Pike this year. Arendahl Farm is a new dressage boarding and training facility next-door to Carriage Station Farm. 

Owned by doctors Andrew and Amy Dahlgren, Arendahl is located at the old Ballantrae Farm, at mile 7 of the RunTheBluegrass half marathon course, on Old Frankfort Pike.

The farm stretches over 100 acres and includes an indoor arena, for dressage. Amy Dahlgren is a United States Dressage Federation Bronze and Silver medalist. She teaches dressage lessons from beginners to upper level and competes in dressage.

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The railway and (now famous) Chicken House.

Just after Dede McGehee’s pink house, and as you run by Heaven Trees Farm on the right, you pass an elevated section of the RJ Corman railway. Then just before the chicken house you will cross the same railway by this traditional Kentucky tobacco barn, decorated with a quilt.

Barn, featuring a Kentucky quilt, opposite the chicken house and next to the railway.

Barn, featuring a Kentucky quilt, opposite the chicken house and next to the railway.

As you approach the split of the seven miler and half marathon at the Chicken House around mile 3.3, you might be joined by a few feathered-friends as you run. Flanked by a true Kentucky tobacco barn with Kentucky quilt hanging on the front to the right, the chicken house will be to your left.

Currently home to turkeys, bantams, ducks and chickens, the chicken house marks for some about halfway, and for the brave and fearless half-marathoner’s, begins the first of several uphill climbs towards Old Frankfort Pike. A second tobacco barn on the corner of Redd Road and Elkchester Road can also be seen, decorated with a quilt with a chicken design!

Photos from the famous chicken house!

Share your photos in the comments!


Mimarie Farm

Mimarie Farm, owned by The Lyon family.

Location: Miles 4-6 

Mimarie Farm, owned by Teresa and her husband, was named for their children, Michael and Ann Marie. When the Lyons bought the farm in 1999, the previous owner was trying to develop it. Mimarie Farm starts where Paynes Mill begins at the top of what I like to call Big Redd Hill (as it seems to go on for miles uphill!!), and they are currently renovating the white barn you pass on Redd Road so horses can use it. The farm road frontage runs from the Paynes Mill intersection along three miles on the right, around the corner all the way to where Carriage Station starts on Old Frankfort Pike (opposite the Headley Whitney Museum).

The Governor - aka “Shaggy” at Mimarie Farm

The Governor - aka “Shaggy” at Mimarie Farm

Encompassing about 300 acres, the farm used to be a cattle farm and agriculture. Teresa is slowly turning it into a horse farm, and the most famous resident for our runners is arguably the draft horse runners have affectionately named “Shaggy”.

 

Sitting at her beautiful home this Fall and enjoying a good cup of fresh brewed coffee with Teresa, I told her about how famous Shaggy was to RunTheBluegrass runners. Teresa burst out laughing!

“Shaggy? That’s adorable. His name is actually The Governor. But I like that, I might have to change it to “Governor Shaggy!”, laughed Teresa!

The main house was the main farm house but just a little house when they bought the farm. They were going to build in the middle of the farm where the silo is. The silo can be seen from downtown Lexington! It is the tallest point on Old Frankfort Pike.

Behind Teresa’s home is a beautiful garden with raised beds, a swimming pool with waterfalls and a fireplace that frames the garden at the end, facing the house. The fireplace is about 200 years old. Teresa found the fireplace in Lexington and moved it. “They were bulldozing an area to put apartments there. I stopped the bulldozer and said “Wait, wait wait! What are you going to do with this fireplace,” because I was in the middle of renovating another old home and flipping it. I like to do that. I went and talked to the developer and asked if I could have it. He said I could have a week to move it. So I had a bunch of guys who worked really hard to move it and then I contacted an old architect friend and brought him out to the farm and asked him where I could put it, because none of the gardens or the pool were there at that time. So we put it at the end of where we thought the garden would be and built the gardens and the pool around it!”, said Lyon.

Teresa recalls the history on the fireplace in her backyard…”It was on Limestone Street in Lexington. Back in the 70’s it was in an old hotel. You used to be able to pay 5c to feed some monkeys back there, they had the outdoor fireplace there.”

Up on the hill past Teresa’s home, she has records that there were once Indians with a teepee village there. “Buffalo and animals would come to get water from the creek that runs through the farm. And that attracted the animals, so was a good hunting ground. We have found a lot of arrowheads on that hill,” said Teresa.

“Several years ago, I was getting ready to tear down the barn behind my house and I looked up and we were clearing out the barn and I saw a plaque that the builder put there which was dated and signed October 1, 1870”, said Teresa. “So we said, we can’t tear that down.” They instead renovated the barn and have restored it for future generations.

Teresa has always loved horses. She brought Shaggy over from Ireland and another grey horse, which she sadly had to put down last year. “He was a great jumper. Nick, the other horse in the field with Shaggy used to be a jumper too. They are now both retired and they are good friends,” said Teresa. “We still trail ride some.”

Teresa has just finished renovating a guest house on Old Frankfort Pike, which she is renting on AirBNB (at around $350/night depending on the number of guests) for any runners looking for a unique place to stay. The house is located just after you turn onto Old Frankfort Pike from Redd Road, so you can stay on-course! The house sleeps 6 and is beautifully decorated and has an outdoor fire-pit. “It’s also my She-Shack,” laughs Teresa. “Sometimes I have friends over and we go down there and have wine and a girls night and talk.”

Teresa is currently fencing the farm but as she explains, “A 16ft panel with three posts and four boards costs $100 unpainted. And so it’s a working project to add fencing to the farm. The crops are paying for some of the repairs. The fencing costs more to paint. But I want horses on the farm. I’m trying to make the farm make money, so now we have two of the fields leased out and the barn almost done, that helps pay for the improvements too. It’s just expensive to do.” Teresa works in the dental field and her husband is in medicine, so are not “horse people” by trade but Teresa wants to make the farm into more of a business but also beautify her little area of the Bluegrass. (The paddocks are leased out to Bluewater Farm – another farm runners will pass on Old Frankfort Pike near the turn onto Elkchester Road.)

“Tourism is huge and that’s why I want to promote tourism. I want people to love our country back here and want them to come here and run or bike it. It energizes me and makes me happy,” said Teresa.

Upload your fave selfies with The Governor (Shaggy) and share! We’d love to see how many of you have taken selfies with him!!

Heaven Trees Farm

Course location: Mile 3

Owned by Dede McGehee, DVM

Horses watch runners from RunTheBluegrass pass by Heaven Trees Farm. Photo credit: Dede McGehee.

Horses watch runners from RunTheBluegrass pass by Heaven Trees Farm. Photo credit: Dede McGehee.

by Vanessa Seitz

Urban legend has it that the beautiful, almost doll’s house-style home that teases you with its beauty as you trace the railway along the lowest section of Bosworth Lane was built by a woman works for Mary Kay. In that exact same shade of pastel pink, the owner of Heaven Trees Farm was so successful with her Mary Kay beauty product sales that she had already been gifted the car and travel perks. So the only way the company could thank her was to build her a home. The house that Mary Kay built. Alas, it is but a legend but does make for a damn fine story!

The farm is actually owned by Dede McGehee DVM, who grew up in Jacksonville, FL, and went on to Auburn University in Alabama before graduating veterinary school at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida in 1984. It was after an internship in Kentucky she decided to move to the Bluegrass State. Originally living just around the corner from Heaven Trees, on Rosalie Lane, McGehee used to walk by the farm regularly. “One day I promised myself that I would buy that piece of land and build my farm,” said McGehee one fall afternoon, as we chatted in the kitchen at her home, pausing in the midst of canning vegetables for the winter. McGehee is quite the gardener.

After buying the land, which at one time was part of Keene Ridge Farm, the home was finally finished in 2000. It took McGehee five years to finish building the farm – and all her barns are also finished in that same pink to match her home. The house is a copy of a home McGehee fell in love within New Hampshire

Dede McGehee’s home at Heaven Trees Farm.

Dede McGehee’s home at Heaven Trees Farm.

“Heaven Trees was actually the name of a plantation in Mississippi in the “So Red The Rose” Civil War book series by Stark Young,” said McGehee. Young wrote four books in the series – this one, Heaven Trees, The Torches Flare and River House – a series about the Bedford’s and McGehee's, two wealthy Mississippi families at the time of the Civil War. (Incidentally McGehee enjoys reading and her favorite book is Run with the Horsemen by Ferrol Sams.)

Famous horses raised at Heaven Trees include Hall of Fame winner and Horse of the Year Rachel Alexander, who’s dam Lotta Kim is still at the farm. (Rachel Alexander now lives at Stonestreet Farm on Elkchester Pike, just before the S-curve.) A colt out of Lotta Kim, Dolphus, raced well for McGehee. Dolphus was named for Rachel Alexander’s late breeder and previous owner of Lotta Kim, Dolphus Morrison. Dolphus won or placed 6 out of 12 starts, including a second behind Shaman Ghost in the G3 Pimlico Special. His last start was in July 2017 and he was just retired to Cabin Creek Farm in Pennsylvania to stand as a stallion for the 2019 season.

Two other tough race fillies born and raised at Heaven Trees are Panty Raid and Saint Johns River. Panty Raid won the Grade II $200,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes in May, 2007. She was nominated for an Eclipse Award for the American Champion Three-Year-Old Filly in 2007 but lost to Octave and Rags To Riches. However, she was one tough mare….as a 3-year-old filly, she beat older fillies and mares in both the Grade I American Oaks on the turf at Hollywood Park and the Grade I Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland on the polytrack. She won on all surfaces, from dirt to turf, and at distances from six to 10 furlongs, and won over $1 million in earnings. 

Another filly, St John’s River, by Airdrie Stud stallion Include, is a full sister to G1  winner Panty Raid and was raced by McGehee. St. John’s River won 2 out of 10 starts and earned $613,170. Wins include the Delaware Oaks in 2011 and she was second behind Plum Pretty in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.

St. Johns River went off at odds of 30-1 in the Oaks and was ridden by the female jockey Rosie Napravnik, who is now retired from racing but is a keen event rider. St. John’s River is now back at Heaven Trees as a broodmare.

Other horses of note include Grade I winner Imperial Gesture, co-bred by McGehee, who earned over $1.4 million.

When McGehee is not enjoying her horses, she can most often be found in the garden. The ferns on her front porch are 20 years old and she planted her garden before her house was finished. John Carloftis, a gardener now based in Lexington, Kentucky, had heard about McGehee’s impressive garden at her home. He was scouting gardens to use in the March 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine and approached McGehee.  

“He first came out in July 2007, in flip flops!”, laughed McGehee. “He took so many photos and then came back and they picked my garden for the magazine!”

“John wanted to shoot in June or July. He sent the garden editor, the food editor, a photographer and an assistant. They shipped BOXES of stuff to the house for the shoot!”, recalls McGehee. “They were here for three days! They made jam here in my kitchen – I cooked with the food editor! They even brought all their own plates, everything!”

“But the issue didn’t come out until a few years after the shoot in 2011,” said McGehee. “Martha Stewart was at the Oaks the day the filly ran [Saint Johns River]. She knew everything about my garden and my filly. She is in charge.” Stewart even confessed to putting a wager on McGehee’s filly.

McGehee’s garden is quite something to behold. An English-style bed garden behind the main house is home to herbs, vegetables, flowers and beautifully manicured shrubs. As practical as it is beautiful, McGehee takes great pride in her gardening and enjoys the bounty from her garden in the kitchen during growing season.