Calumet Farm

Calumet Farm is a 762-acre (3.08 km2) Thoroughbred breeding and training farm established in 1924 in Lexington, Kentucky, United States by William Monroe Wright, founding owner of the Calumet Baking Powder Company. Calumet is located in the heart of the Bluegrass, a well-known horse breeding region. Calumet Farm has a record history of Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown winners and throughout its history of over 87 years, it has produced some of the greatest Thoroughbred horses of all time.

Initially based in Libertyville, Illinois, the more favorable climate of Kentucky made it a better place for a horse farm and led to W. M. Wright acquiring the land and relocating his standardbred breeding operation. At a time in American history when harness racing was the most popular type of horse racing, in 1931 the farm's trotter "Calumet Butler" won the most prestigious event of the day, the Hambletonian.

Following the death of W. M. Wright, in 1932 his son Warren Wright, Sr. took over the business and began converting it to Thoroughbred breeding and training. His acquisition of quality breeding stock saw Calumet Farm develop into one of North America's most successful in Thoroughbred racing history. The Pennsylvania Railroad named its baggage car #5868 the "Calumet Farm".

The farm's breeding success was notably anchored by a part ownership in Blenheim II, a stallion imported from England, and its Foundation Sire, Bull Lea. Calumet Farm produced eight Kentucky Derby winners, more than any other operation in U.S. racing history. As well, Calumet Farm is both the leading breeder and owner of Preakness Stakes winners with seven each. From the farm's many great foals, two colts became U.S. Triple Crown winners and three females won the Triple Crown for fillies.

Under Warren Wright, Sr. and his wife Lucille Parker Wright who inherited the property on his death in 1950, Calumet was the number one money-earning farm in racing for twelve years and among the farm's great horses are Nellie Flag, Whirlaway, Armed, Citation, Two Lea, Mar-Kell, A Gleam, Twilight Tear, Mark-Ye-Well, A Glitter, Bewitch, Ponder, Coaltown, Hill Gail, Real Delight, Bardstown, Tim Tam, Forward Pass, Our Mims, Davona Dale, Alydar, and Before Dawn. In all, the farm produced eleven horses that have been inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

Lucille Wright died in 1982 and according to the terms of her husband's will, the farm went to the heirs of their only child Warren Wright, Jr. (1920–1978). Son-in-law John Thomas Lundy (J.T.), married to Lucille "Cindy" Wright, took over as head of operations and president.

Calumet Farm won the 1990 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder. In November of that year, details surrounding the death of Alydar and the collection of a $36 million insurance policy brought a cloud of suspicion over the business. Under Calumet president J.T. Lundy, mismanagement and fraud had left the farm with a massive debt load that led Calumet Farms to file for bankruptcy protection in 1991. After years of legal proceedings, in 2000, J.T. Lundy along with Gary Matthews, the farm's former attorney and chief financial officer, were convicted of fraud and bribery and sent to prison.

In 1992, a trust established by Henryk de Kwiatkowski, a Polish-born Canadian citizen, purchased Calumet Farm, saving it from possible liquidation. Since 1992, the farm has been fully restored to its former beauty.

In 2012, the Calumet Investment Group bought Calumet Farm from the de Kwiatkowski Trust for over $36 million. Calumet Investment Group in turn leased it to Brad M. Kelley.

Famous quotes containing the word farm:

    We are often struck by the force and precision of style to which hard-working men, unpracticed in writing, easily attain when required to make the effort. As if plainness and vigor and sincerity, the ornaments of style, were better learned on the farm and in the workshop than in the schools. The sentences written by such rude hands are nervous and tough, like hardened thongs, the sinews of the deer, or the roots of the pine.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)