The Keeneland September yearling sale got off to a great start for Frank and Jane Lyon and their daughter, Karen, who operate Summer Wind Farm near Georgetown, Ky.
During the first two select sessions, six yearlings bred by Summer Wind were sold for $5,060,0000.
Using Lane’s End and Taylor Made as agents, among the yearlings sold by Summer Wind were a Giant's Causeway -Onaga colt who brought $1.5 million, a Storm Cat-Fashion Star colt sold for $1.2 million, and an Unbridled's Song-Bally Five colt, the first horse in the ring Tuesday, who sold for $1,050,000.
That kind of success at a public auction would be gratifying to any breeding operation, but is especially satisfying for Summer Wind because it is a relatively small family operation.
Consisting of 850 acres, Summer Wind owns 29 broodmares. The family consigned its entire 2006 crop of 20 yearlings to the Keeneland fall sale.
“This looks like a very good year for us,” Frank Lyon said in an understatement. “We pretty much try to aim at the top 2-3% of the market.”
The family bought its first broodmares in the fall of 1995 and they got their first yearling crop in 1997.
Not only have the Lyons put together a successful breeding program in a short period of time, but they have primarily done it on their own. Jane Lyon and her daughter, who is the farm’s broodmare manager, are students of pedigree who studiously plan the annual matings for the mares. The family relies upon the professionals at Lane’s End and Taylor Made to advise on which sales to target for their yearlings and how much to expect from each horse sold.
The Lyons also credit farm manager Mark Moloney for their success. Frank and Jane Lyon reside part of the year in their native Arkansas, where he is involved in farming and a John Deere dealership.
Despite the amount of time they spend on their farm operation, the family still does not consider it work.
“It’s a passion,” said Jane Lyon.