Amy Tarrant

Amy Tarrant

Courtesy of TOBA

TOBA March Member of the Month

Amy Tarrant bred Life Imitates Art at her Hardacre Farm in Ocala, Florida.

For Amy Tarrant, life imitates racetrack success—aptly demonstrated in this case by Life Imitates Art, whom she bred at her Hardacre Farm in Ocala, Florida. Owned by Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence, the three-year-old colt (More Than Ready – Habiboo, by Unbridled’s Song) has put his best hoof forward in 2016, winning the seven-and-a-half furlong Dania Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park on January 2. Most recently, he finished fifth in the January 30 Kitten’s Joy Stakes, also at Gulfstream.

Life Imitates Art’s success in the Sunshine State has been particularly thrilling for Tarrant, who splits her time between Florida and her native Vermont. “It’s great that I have a Florida-bred running in Florida, too,” she said, noting that the state’s breeders’ rewards program has proven beneficial. Tarrant sold Life Imitates Art as a yearling at the 2014 Keeneland September sale for $175,000. The Chad Brown trainee broke his maiden last fall at Belmont and finished second in the Pulpit Stakes by a neck next time out at Gulfstream Park West (formerly Calder Race Course). In six starts, the bay colt bas visited the winner’s circle twice and earned $153,720.

Tarrant first bought into this family by purchasing Habiboo at the 2002 Keeneland September sale for $210,000. “She had nice conformation,” Tarrant recalled of the mare she owned and trained to multiple graded stakes placings. That has paid dividends, especially as her female family has blossomed; Habiboo is a half-sister to multiple grade I winner and young sire Street Boss. In 2008, a yearling Forest Wildcat – Habiboo filly went under the hammer for $340,000 at Keeneland September, while, in 2011, John Ferguson spent $725,000 on her Bernardini yearling for Darley; in 2012, a Harlan’s Holiday filly out of Habiboo sold for $100,000 at OBS August. Still part of Tarrant’s sixteen-strong broodmare band, Habiboo is currently in foal to Bernardini and will head to the court of Tiznow for 2017.

Another Hardacre broodmare is Tarrant homebred Pomeroys Pistol, whom she also trained. Pomeroys Pistol, who won the 2011 Foxwoods Gallant Bloom Handicap (gr. II) and Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II), also finished fourth in that year’s Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (gr. I).

In 2016, Pomeroys Pistol is headed to the court of Pioneerof the Nile, sire of last year’s Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, because “she’s worth it,” Tarrant stated confidently. “I was the owner-breeder-trainer of her, so I’m hoping that everything goes well and she has a beautiful baby,” she said, noting that Pomeroys Pistol’s run in the Breeders’ Cup was a personal thrill. “It was awesome,” she recalled, adding, “I did everything but ride the horse.”

Like so many others involved in Thoroughbred racing and breeding, Tarrant has always been a lifelong horse lover. After entering the business as an owner fifteen years ago, she made the choice to “get back to horses, because I always loved them and I finally had the time.” That same drive led Tarrant to start training two years later. She soon expanded her operation, realizing, “I can’t do this until I’m ninety, so it’d be nice if I was doing some breeding, as well, so I can stay involved, but in a different way.” And thus Hardacre Farm was born.

In addition to Life Imitates Art and Pomeroys Pistol, other stakes winners to emerge from the Hardacre Fold have included 2014 San Clemente Handicap (gr. IIT) and Arlington Classic (gr. IIIT) winner Istanford; the latter victory came over colts. Tarrant also owned and trained Kiss the Kid, whose highlights from a versatile, forty-start career included triumphs in the 2008 Cliff Hanger Stakes and 2009 Appleton Stakes (both gr. IIIT).

Quality is the name of the game for Tarrant, who estimates her number of horses—including mares, weanlings and yearlings, and runners—nearly forty. ““We really try to breed to the best stallions that we can,” she said. That means sending mares to Kentucky and stallions like Kitten’s Joy, Speightstown, and Malibu Moon, as well as choosing select stock at sales. “I go for the conformation,” she confessed. “There’s things I can live with; there’s things I won’t live with.”

But although Tarrant visits the sales with an extra eye to help her look over her picks, she makes the final call on the horses she brings home. When planning her matings, she keeps things simple. “I just look for horses that I like, and if they nick well, that’s what I do. I just match them up like that.” Talented is as talented does, which this triple threat has proven again and again.