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Issue 61 - Out from behind bars

Whisky Magazine Issue 61
January 2007


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Out from behind bars

Let 10 young bartenders loose in bourbon country and it'll get messy. But as Dominic Roskrow reports, when it came to the business end of the trip, our boys delivered

In Kentucky the racing folk have an expression: the money, they say, is in the lovin'. The expression refers to the thoroughbred race horses that have made the State one of the most famous horse-racing centres in the world.

It basically means that no matter how fast you go round the track, or how many times you win big races such as The Kentucky Derby or the Breeders' Cup, the real money is in breeding.

In essence you can be something of a wonky donkey at the races but if your offspring has what it takes you're big money.

Take Distorted Humor, for instance. He made a living on the track but he wasn't a great. Far from it.

But he did enough to justify going in to stud, where he was valued at about $35,000 an ownership share, or $1.75 million as a 50 share horse.

Then three years after he first sired a foal it won a race. So did his next foal. And his next. So much so that he became as near as a horse gets to a sure thing.

And his value now? A cool $100 million. That's $2 million a pop if you want in.

So the money's in the lovin' except on your average Kentucky stud farm there is very little lovin'. Far from it: this is a brutal, sterile and ruthlessly commercial way to make money.

The ‘loveshack' at the Winstar Breeding Farm is basically an over-lit concrete room with shredded car tyres on the ground. At one end a large docking station is in place to keep the mare still. First a teaser horse is brought in to excite the mare but he's of low stock and is removed, unhap...

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