Keeneland to Handle VinMar Dispersal
Photo: Keeneland/Coady Photography
Madame Cactus, owned by VinMar Farm, wins 2013 Lexus Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland

When Marc Ferrell built VinMar Farm, it was designed with the “idea that we would provide the best environment for broodmares, weanlings, yearlings or horses in need of some rest and relaxation from racing,” according to the farm’s website.

Now, six years after starting the state-of-the-art nursery near Versailles, Ky., Ferrell has decided to leave the Thoroughbred industry, perhaps temporarily, to pursue a new business interest and is dispersing the 189-acre farm and horses.

VinMar announced that it will offer a complete dispersal of its Thoroughbred holdings at Keeneland’s September yearling sale, to be held Sept. 12-25, and November breeding stock sale, which begins Nov. 8.

Archie St. George’s St. George Sales will act as agent for the dispersal. Included are yearlings by leading sires Quality Road  , Super Saver  , Violence  , and Shanghai Bobby   and weanlings by top sires Uncle Mo  , Tale of the Cat  , and Lookin At Lucky  . Young broodmares in foal to proven stallions Awesome Again  , Mizzen Mast  , and Quality Road also will be part of the dispersal.

The farm is listed for sale through Kirkpatrick and Company, with an asking price of $3,848,000.

Ferrell first became acquainted with Thoroughbred racing at a young age in Arcadia, Calif., home of Santa Anita Park. Shortly before he and a friend were going to graduate from high school, they enrolled in Santa Anita’s “hotwalking school,” a course that taught the basics of horsemanship needed to do basic chores around the barn.

Once qualified to be a hotwalker, Ferrell was assigned to Hall of Famer Jack Van Berg’s barn during the same year Alysheba won the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), and before long was promoted to groom; he traveled to nearly all of the California tracks.

Ferrell eventually left the track and in the early 2000s established a health care company that bought distressed hospitals and reopened them. He returned to the horse industry after selling that company in 2010, establishing a racing stable and building VinMar.

Among the horses campaigned by Ferrell have been grade II winners Madame Cactus and Second Summer (in partnership), grade III winners Goldsville and Called to Serve, as well as stakes winners Fiddlers Afleet and Well Deserved.

Ferrell said the decision to disperse came about because he has established another health care company based in Washington, D.C., and those responsibilities along with him and his wife, Vinka, caring for seven children (ages one through 22) left little time for the farm or horse racing.

“It is a bittersweet decision,” said Ferrell, who indicated he might return as an owner in the future. “It’s a business I really enjoyed but it got to point where I wasn’t able to participate in the enjoyment part of it. I wasn’t able to spend time at the farm or at the sales. It is very time-consuming if you want to do it right. We just felt it was time to take step back and focus on some other things. I would say at some point we will get back in the business.”

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