Pepper Oaks Farm to Close in July

Pepper Oaks Farm in California will close effective July 1, its owner announced.

With the announcement that Pepper Oaks Farm in Santa Ynez, Calif., will close its doors effective July 1, the stallion Swiss Yodelerwill be relocating to another California farm. Pepper Oaks owner Patricia Youngman announced June 26 that she would be shutting down Pepper Oaks.

Mike Harrington, who trained Swiss Yodelerand conditions many of his offspring for owner Heinz Steinmann, said that the 14-year-old stallion will likely move in the fall.

"We have several farms under consideration," Harrington said, "but we don’t know where we are going to move him to yet. We’ll probably have to move him by the fall so that we can arrange advertising and promotion."

While at Pepper Oaks, Swiss Yodelerhas risen to the top of California’s stallion ranks, especially as a sire of 2-year-olds. He is currently the state’s leader by number of winners in 2008, and for 2007 he led by number of winners and number of races won. His foals have included champion sprinter Thor’s Echo and such other stakes winners as Oberwald, Swiss Current, and Swiss Diva.

"Pat Youngman has done a wonderful job for us with Swiss Yodeler," Steinmann said. "You couldn’t ask for a nicer place, and we’re sorry she’s closing the farm."

Steinmann said that he plans to keep Swiss Yodelerin California and expected to make a decision about the specific farm in about a month.

Pepper Oaks reduced its breeding stock and limited the stallion barn to just Swiss Yodeler when Youngman first downsized in late 2006.

"I have enjoyed every moment of the development of the farm, bringing Swiss Yodeler here to start his career, and watching everything evolve into the Pepper Oaks of today," Youngman said in a statement. "My decision to shut down the farm does not diminish my love of horses and racing, and I will likely continue to race one or two horses.

"However, the current problems within the industry and its failure to do more to enhance its position in the marketplace along with the lack of vision and unity required by its current leaders in all areas to ensure a bright future for the sport, leave me saddened and concerned as a business owner.

"I hope racing can find its way and regain its position as a leading sport and entertainment alternative for fans and families."

Youngman said she will focus her attention on other business interests and administering philanthropic endeavors.