Kenny McPeek will return to training

Kenny McPeek will return to training

Associated Press

Kenny McPeek to Return to Training

Kenny McPeek, who last summer switched from training horses to bloodstock work, is establishing a training center near Lexington and will soon return to training.

When he announced last April he would quit training July 1, McPeek said he was taking a "hiatus" from training and did not rule out a return to the backstretch.

He has regained his enthusiasm, he said, following a soul-searching trip to Australia.

"It opened my eyes to what can be done," McPeek said. "I spent a few weeks down there in January, visited all the top Australian trainers, and the way they do things is incredible. I have brought back with me a blueprint from the way Lee Freedman and David Hayes run their extremely successful businesses and will implement it as soon as possible."

Freedman trained Australian champion Makybe Diva to two Melbourne Cup (Aust-I) wins and also trained Alinghi prior to her assault on North America. McPeek liked what he saw so much, he charged onto the Internet before leaving Australia looking for farms in Kentucky.

"Lee and David have sprawling, one-stop-shop type set ups. They rest their horses there when they need a break from racing, they train at their pace on their own private racetracks, and everything is done the way I want to do it. So I have purchased a farm just behind Fasig-Tipton in Lexington and we start building the u-shaped private training racetrack in March."

The property purchased by McPeek and his wife, Sue, is the former Pillar Stud.

McPeek had a golf course designer oversee the layout of the 115-acre training setup and 1 1/2-mile training track that will have up and down hill runs.

"It will be mostly turf, but I want a section on the outside of the track to be made of polytrack so I can work horses all year round if need be."

McPeek trained more than 80 stakes winners including grade I winners Harlans Holiday, Sarava, Take Charge Lady, and Hard Buck.

"I needed to find myself again," McPeek explained. "I was stretching the family way too much with more than 110 horses in work all over the country at any given time. It was affecting Sue, who had been very ill for a while there, and it was frustrating me because I felt like I was losing control. And a trainer needs to be aware of everything going on with his horses. This new farm allows me a lot more options to care for the horses. I want and need to be a hands-on trainer but so many problems were arising as a result of getting too big before that I found my time was spent more and more managing the people problems associated with a huge stable. So I just tossed it in. But both Sue and I are very, very excited and happy about this new adventure."

McPeek, 43, plans to have about 50 horses in his new stable.
"The one thing I learned from before was this--do not get too big. So I will restrict my numbers this time around."

He hopes to have his first runners at the Keeneland meet in April. Prince Arch and all of former client Ray Cottrell's horses will be among his first runners back.