Kinghaven Farms owner David Willmot.

Kinghaven Farms owner David Willmot.

Michael Burns Photo Ltd.

Kinghaven Shutting Down Horse Operation, But Willmot Will Continue to Own Mares

Kinghaven Farms, one of Canada's most successful nurseries, is shutting down its Thoroughbred operation. But owner David Willmot is not getting out of the breeding business. While he and his family will continue to live at the 185-acre farm, his mares will reside elsewhere, probably at Robert Anderson's Anderson Farms.

According to Willmot it didn't make sense from a business standpoint to keep on operating the Ontario-based Kinghaven as a Thoroughbred farm. Unlike many other nurseries, Kinghaven doesn't have a stallion operation or a sale consignment business to bring in extra money. The income from boarders didn't cover all the farm's expenses.

"We had more boarders here than our own horses," he said. "We were losing money to benefit other people who were boarding their horses here."

In addition, Willmot's duties as the president of the Woodbine Entertainment group take up a great deal of his time, making it more difficult for him to concentrate on his horses.

Willmot plans to breed 13 of his mares this year to such stallions as Seeking the Gold, Fusaichi Pegasus, and Silver Deputy. He said he will "gradually wind down" Kinghaven's Throughbred operation, finishing the process by the end of this year.

Willmot's late father, Donald G. (Bud) Willmot, purchased Kinghaven in 1967 and switched its focus from cattle to horses. The farm has won numerous Sovereign Awards as Canada's outstanding breeder and owner. In 1986, Bud Willmot was honored as the Canadian Thoroughbred industry's Man of the Year.

Kinghaven led all North American owners in money won and stakes earnings in 1990. Deputy Minister, campaigned by Kinghaven in partnership, was the Eclipse Award winner as North America's champion 2-year-old male in 1981,