New York breeder Walt Borisenok believes that once potential new fans see a Thoroughbred foal being born, they'll be hooked.
That's the reason Borisenok's Old Tavern Farm in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. is one of eight participating in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame's Foal Patrol program, which on its website will offer live views that will allow fans to follow pregnant mares through their deliveries early next year. Foal Patrol officially was launched Dec. 19 with a ceremony at the museum.
"It's just an amazing process," Boresenok said. "Every time you see it, you just shake your head."
Museum director Cathy Marino thanked museum president John Hendrickson and his wife, Marylou Whitney, for the idea and funding of the project. Whitney's 2003 champion 3-year-old filly Bird Town, located at Gainesway Farm near Lexington, is one of eight accomplished mares participating in Foal Patrol.
Live web cams will follow eight different mares at farms in Kentucky, New York, and Florida. Three Kentucky live cams are already active, following: winning Phipps Family mare Sabbatical at Claiborne Farm near Paris, multiple grade 1 winner Stopchargingmaria at Three Chimneys Farm near Versailles, and grade 1 winner Centre Court at Shawnee Farm near Harrodsburg.
Because of later expected foaling dates, Bird Town, stakes winner Via Veneto at Double Diamond Farm in Ocala, Fla., and two-time grade 1 winner and Canadian Horse of the Year Arravale at Chanteclair Farm near Versailles, Ky. are scheduled to go live early next year. Arravale is in-foal to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah .
The foal patrol website is optimized for viewing across all media platforms, including tablets and smart phones. Hendrickson said the project serves as active outreach to people who increasingly rely on smart devices to receive their information. Plans call for the live cams to be active from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. daily and once the mare gets closer to foaling, it will go to 24-hour monitoring.
Once those people are reached, Hendrickson has no doubt they'll be hooked.
"I truly believe that once you see a foal being born, you will never be the same."
Each mare will have information on her racing and broodmare careers. Blogs will provide updates on how the mare is doing and fans can sign up for alerts on when a mare is close to foaling. The site also will offer naming contests. Whitney and Hendrickson have donated their box seats for the 2018 Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) and Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) as the grand prize. The six box seats are located at the finish line at Churchill Downs.
Hendrickson said the site will offer many fans access to a side of the industry they've never been able to witness.
"You'll see high-quality mares giving birth to possible champions live," Hendrickson said. "These resulting foals will be tracked throughout their racing careers. We even have many farm owners saying they will put GoPro cameras on the mares once they give birth to the foals to give you an in-depth look into what the mare is seeing."
Biographies of the participating mares and links to the live cams, if they're active, as provided by the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame:
A bay daughter of Medaglia d'Oro out of the A.P. Indy mare Daydreaming, Sabbatical was bred and campaigned by Phipps Stable and trained by Hall of Famer Claude R. "Shug" McGaughey III. She broke her maiden in her fourth career start, winning a maiden special weight at Keeneland on April 11, 2014. She added another victory that year in an allowance race at Saratoga Race Course. Sabbatical won her third race the following year, earning a victory in an allowance optional claimer at Saratoga. She finished with three wins from 11 career starts. Sabbatical is in foal to War Front at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky.
A dark bay daughter of Tale of the Cat out of the Montbrook mare Exotic Bloom, Stopchargingmaria was campaigned for most of her racing career by Repole Stable and trained by Todd Pletcher. A winner of seven graded stakes, including three grade 1s, Stopchargingmaria broke her maiden as a 2-year-old in her career debut at Saratoga in 2013. Later in the year, she won the grade 3 Tempted Stakes and closed out her juvenile season with a victory in the grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack. As a 3-year-old in 2014, Stopchargingmaria won the grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico Race Course and followed with grade 1 wins in the Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama Stakes during the Saratoga meet. As a 4-year-old in 2015, Stopchargingmaria added wins in the grade 3 Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes and the grade 3 Shuvee Handicap before winning the grade 1 Breeders' Cup Distaff at Keeneland.
In the Breeders' Cup racing for Town and Country Farms, ridden by Javier Castellano, Stopchargingmaria defeated Stellar Wind by a neck. Stopchargingmaria ran twice in 2016 as a 5-year-old before being retired with a record of 9-4-1 from 18 starts and earnings of $3,014,000. She was sold at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall 2016 mixed sale to Three Chimneys Farm for $2.8 million.
Stopchargingmaria is in foal to Pioneerof the Nile at Three Chimneys.
• Centre Court
A dark bay daughter of Smart Strike, Centre Court was bred and campaigned by G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and trained by Rusty Arnold. After making one start as a 2-year-old in 2009, Centre Court finished second in a pair of maiden special weight races to begin her 3-year-old campaign before scoring her first victory at Churchill May 19, 2012.
Moving into graded stakes company, Centre Court proceeded to win the grade 3 Regret Stakes at Churchill and then the grade 2 Lake George Stakes at Saratoga. She then finished second in both the grade 2 Lake Placid at Saratoga and the grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland. Returning to Churchill that November, Centre Court closed out her season with her third graded win of the year in the Mrs. Revere Stakes (G2T). In 2013, Centre Court won the grade 2 Honey Fox Stakes at Gulfstream Park and the grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland. She repeated in the Honey Fox in 2014 as a 5-year-old, giving her graded stakes wins in three consecutive years. Centre Court was retired with a career record of 7-4-0 from 19 starts and earnings of $961,048. Centre Court is in foal to Medaglia d'Oro at Humphrey's Shawnee Farm in Kentucky.
• Memento d'Oro
Bred in Kentucky by Adena Springs, Memento d'Oro is a dark bay daughter of multiple graded stakes winner Medaglia d'Oro out of Intangaroo, a multiple graded stakes winner sired by Eclipse Award winner Orientate. Campaigned by Stronach Stables, Memento d'Oro was trained by Jose Corrales. Racing in 2015 and 2016, Memento d'Oro finished second in a maiden special weight at Laurel Park in January 2016 before earning her lone career victory that March at Laurel by 2 1/2 lengths. With her impressive pedigree, Memento d'Oro was regarded as a strong broodmare prospect and was purchased by Walt Borisenok for $160,000 and sent to his Old Tavern Farm, which is located near Saratoga Race Course in New York. Memento d'Oro is in foal to Bodemeister at Old Tavern Farm near Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
• La Verdad
A bay daughter of Yes It's True out of the Hook and Ladder mare Noble Fire, La Verdad was bred in New York. Campaigned by Lady Sheila Stable and trained by Linda Rice, La Verdad broke her maiden in her second career start on April 7, 2013 at Aqueduct. She won her next four races—all allowance optional claiming events—before advancing into stakes company. She finished second in her first stakes try in the grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel in February of 2014. La Verdad then won four consecutive stakes races: the Broadway Stakes, Distaff Handicap (G2), Critical Eye Stakes and the Dancin Renee Stakes. She added a victory in the Iroquois Stakes later in the year.
In 2015, La Verdad won the Eclipse Award for Champion Female Sprinter. Her victories included the Distaff Handicap (G2), Vagrancy Handicap (G3), Dancin Renee Stakes, Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) and Iroquois Stakes. She also finished second in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1). La Verdad won her 11th and final career stakes race in January of 2016 in the Interborough Stakes. She was retired with a career record of 16-3-0 from 25 starts and earnings of $1,563,200.
La Verdad is in foal to Tapit at Edition Farm near Hyde Park, N.Y.
• Via Veneto
A dark bay daughter of Eclipse Award winner Orientate out of the Smart Strike mare Run Sarah Run, Via Veneto was bred in Florida by her owner, Don Dizney, who named her after the street Via Veneto in Rome. Via Veneto's dam was stakes-placed during her racing career and is also the dam of grade 1 winner First Dude , a half-brother to Via Veneto. First Dude, retired to Dizney's Double Diamond Farm in Florida in 2011, has been a leading sire.Like her half brother, Via Veneto was trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. She won her career debut at Del Mar in 2008. Via Veneto raced through age 4. She won the Bangles and Beads Stakes in her final career start in 2010 and was retired with a record of 3-3-1 from 12 starts and earnings of $123,950. Via Veneto has had five foals and is currently in foal to Bodemeister , sire of 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming. The foal Via Veneto is carrying at Double Diamond Farm will be a full sibling to Via Veneto Square, a 2-year-old filly currently in training with Baffert in California.
• Bird Town
A bay daughter by Cape Town out of the Storm Bird mare Dear Birdie, Bird Town was bred and campaigned by Marylou Whitney and trained by Nick Zito.
After finishing second in her career debut at Keeneland as a 2-year-old in October of 2002, Bird Town broke her maiden in her subsequent start at Churchill the following month. Bird Town raced twice more as a juvenile, finishing second in an allowance at Churchill and third in the listed Three Rings Stakes at Calder Race Course. Bird Town began her sophomore campaign by finishing second in an allowance at Gulfstream before winning her first stakes race, the Charon Stakes, at Gulfstream in February of 2003. She then finished second in the grade 2 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland. On May 2, 2003, before a crowd of 100,523, Bird Town, with Edgar Prado aboard, won the 129th running of the Kentucky Oaks by 31/4 lengths, setting a stakes record of 1:48.64.
Bird Town followed with another grade 1 victory, winning the Acorn Stakes by a head. She also finished second in both the Test Stakes and Beldame Stakes that year and was named the Eclipse Award winner for champion 3-year-old filly. Overall, Bird Town posted a record of 4-6-1 from 12 starts and earned $871,251.
Bird Town is in foal to Empire Maker at Gainesway Farm in Kentucky.
A dark bay or brown daughter of Arch out of the Kaldoun mare Kalosca, Arravale was a three-time graded stakes winner and won the Canadian Sovereign Awards in 2006 for Horse of the Year and Champion Turf Mare.
Trained by MacDonald Benson, Arravale won her career debut as a 2-year-old at Woodbine in August of 2005 and a month later won the Grade 3 Natalma Stakes at the same venue. As a 3-year-old in 2006, Arravale won the grade 1 Del Mar Oaks and the grade 1 E. P. Taylor Stakes. She also won the listed Alywow Stakes that year and finished second in the grade 2 Canadian Stakes and third in the grade 1 American Oaks. Arravale finished her career with a record of 5-1-2 from 15 starts and earned $1,129,697.
Arravale was purchased by Merriebelle Stable at the 2016 Keeneland November breeding stock sale for $490,000. Residing at Chanteclair Farm in Kentucky, Arravale is in foal to American Pharoah .