Ben Walden Jr.

Ben Walden Jr.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Waldens Return to Farm Ownership

Ben P. Walden Jr. and his wife, Elaine, founders and former owners of Vinery, have a new venture. The couple purchased one of three tracts of land previously comprising Castleton Farm near Lexington, and plan to raise yearlings owned by them in partnership with Jim and Pat Bohanon on the 192-acre property. The sale has not yet closed, but asking price for the acreage was $2.1 million.

"I think one of the things I've missed most of all in not having a farm is preparing the yearlings for sale," Walden said. "This particular farm has been where Castleton, once they weaned in the fall, they often moved their weanlings over to this farm and grown them up. At this stage of the game we plan to emulate that process." The farm will be named Gracefield.

The Waldens live in Lexington and until 1999 owned Vinery, which stood 20-plus stallions, with George and Kay Hofmeister. The entire operation was sold to Tom Simon later that year. "Elaine and I took a year off to think about what we were going to do," Walden said. "Jim and I decided some months ago to expand our partnership."

The Bohanons live in Louisville and currently co-own 20 broodmares with the Waldens, which are boarded at Hermitage, Stockplace, Upson Downs, and Watercress farms, all in Central Kentucky. Some of the mares also have third-party co-owners.

"We hope to grow our broodmare band to be in the neighborhood of 25," Walden said. "If we do our job well we hope to have 18-20 yearlings per year.

"The thing I look forward to is a quieter operation, not as public. We don't have plans at this time to get in the stallion business, we just plan to be a good customer for others."