WinStar wins the Eclipse Award for outstanding owners.

WinStar wins the Eclipse Award for outstanding owners.

Judy Reich

Classic Success Elevates WinStar to Top

Farm was rewarded with an Eclipse Award and two classic victories.

WinStar Farm, which triumphed in two of the three legs of the 2010 Triple Crown, was rewarded with the Eclipse Award for outstanding owner of the year when they were announced Jan. 17.

Then owned by longtime partners Kenny Troutt and Bill Casner, WinStar became the first owner to win two Triple Crown events in the same year with different horses since 1996, when Overbrook Farm took the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) with Grindstone and the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) with Editor’s Note.

WinStar homebred Super Saver  powered home to take the 2010 Derby and, five weeks later, the farm’s Drosselmeyer proved best in the Belmont. Other stakes winners raced by WinStar in 2010 were American Lion , Blue Laser, Doubles Partner, Endorsement, Glint, Rule, and Hold Me Back. In addition, the farm was co-owner of 2010 added-money winner Court Vision . For the season, WinStar started 248 races and won 46 times. It earned $5,183,379 in purses for the year.

“It’s one of the most unbelievable feelings I’ve ever had,” Troutt said in the aftermath of Super Saver’s victory under the Twin Spires.

Added Casner, “It’s a surreal moment. I remember the first Derby I saw—I was watching on a small television when Needles won in 1956. That vision is still etched in my mind.”

Troutt, from Mt. Vernon, Ill., worked summers at nearby Cahokia Downs and Fairmount Park, and bought his first horse for $1,500 while in college. Texas native Casner rode horses as a child and began breaking colts and galloping horses while in his teens. They met in Nebraska when both put in a claim for a son of Gallant Man named Great Bear Lake, and soon struck up a friendship.

After both men left the racetrack for other ventures, Troutt achieved enormous success after starting Excel Communications, in which Casner also invested. Armed with significant capital, the pair re-entered the horse business, buying Prestonwood Farm outside Lexington a decade ago. Doug Cauthen was hired as the farm’s president and Elliott Walden came onboard as racing manager. The farm stands top stallions Tiznow  and Distorted Humor. The farm has often bought yearlings by their stallions, and thus decided to part with $600,000 to buy Drosselmeyer, a son of Distorted Humor.

Last October Casner announced he was stepping down from his ownership role in WinStar in a move described as a “business strategy,” leaving Troutt as sole owner of the operation. Casner said he would remain a client of the farm, and would keep mares there as well as use its training division. Cauthen left his post at WinStar shortly after Casner’s departure.

Jerry and Ann Moss, who brought back their star mare Zenyatta for another racing season in 2010, finished a close second in the balloting.

Voting for outstanding owner:

WinStar Farm, 100; Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S. Moss, 81; Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider 16; Midwest Thoroughbreds 15; Juddmonte Farms, 5; Zayat Stables, 5; Repole Stable 3; Edward P. Evans, 2;  Augustin Stable 1;   Melnyk Racing Stables 1; Maggi Moss, 1; Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, 1; Wertheimer and Frere, 1; Voter Abstentions, 6.