Virgil F. Hisel, who owned Twin Eagles Farm near Lexington, died March 8 at his Nicholasville, Ky., home. He was 91.
A Kentucky native, Hisel started Twin Eagles with a couple of partners, including Dr. Walter Zent. The farm grew to include three divisions in Central Kentucky before it was consolidated and based at a single location.
Hisel figured in a bit of Kentucky Derby history. Acting as agent for Kentucky breeder W. Paul Little, Hisel purchased a little known mare, Dust Storm, and her Bold Commander colt, early in 1967. Under the name Dust Commander, the colt won the 1970 Kentucky Derby and Blue Grass Stakes for Robert E. Lehmann. Hisel at the time was manager of Don Hardesty's Stonehenge Farm near Versailles, Ky.
Twin Eagles bred nine stakes winners, including one in partnership. They included the half-siblings Braze and Bold, who earned more than $600,000, and Shine High. Grade I winner Mr. Redoy, bred by Felty Yoder, was foaled and raised at Twin Eagles.
Hisel was a member of the Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club, and owned and operated Chevy Chase Dairy. He retired from racing in 1994 after having served as a consultant in his final years in the business. His survivors include a son, Gary, and a daughter, Kathleen, whose son, Kentucky surgeon Barry Spoonamore, is involved in racing.
Contributions may be made to the Hospice of the Bluegrass, 2312 Alexandria Drive, Lexington, Ky., 40504, or to the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, 422 Haywood Ave., Louisville, Ky., 40208.