The recent success of Jane Lyon’s Summer Wind Farm, located in Georgetown, Kentucky, has been a breath of fresh air. In 2017, Lyon bred a pair of grade 1-winning two-year-olds: Moonshine Memories (a finalist for the juvenile filly Eclipse Award) and McKinzie. She also owns the Yankee Victor mare Littleprincessemma, dam of 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah .
In 1995, Lyon’s late husband, Frank, purchased the Kentucky property because his wife always dreamt of owning Thoroughbreds in the Bluegrass. Currently, Lyon estimates her broodmare band numbers 25; she has 22 new yearlings and plans to have a crop of 19 foals this year. The dams of Moonshine Memories and McKinzie juveniles’ dams are mainstays of her barn.
“It has been such a rewarding experience for me because both of those are foals of older mares of mine, one of which I bred and her mother, and it’s very, very exciting,” Lyon said. “I mean, I’ve been fortunate enough to buy some grade one producers and some stakes producers, but to have bred two out of mares I’ve had for a long time and have almost given up on is exciting. And I hope they will both be successful. It’s just a thrill. I’ve been in this business for now about 23 years and honestly those are the two first grade one winners I had produced from my own stock like that, so it was real exciting for me.”
Moonshine Memories captured the 2017 Del Mar Debutante (G1) and Chandelier Stakes (G1). Those wins earned the Malibu Moon filly favoritism in last November’s 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), where she finished seventh to eventual divisional champion Caledonia Road. Her Summer Wind-bred dam, the winning Unbridled’s Song mare Unenchantedevening, is due to deliver a full sister to Moonshine Memories this month. Breeding plans for 2019 are undecided. Unenchantedevening is a half-sister to 1997 Horse of the Year and champion two-year-old colt Favorite Trick. The Lyons purchased the siblings’ dam, Evil Elaine, the day before Favorite Trick’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) win.
Summer Wind also bred undefeated McKinzie (Street Sense – Runway Model, by Petionville), winner of the December 9 Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) by disqualification. He stamped himself as a serious 2018 Kentucky Derby (G1) candidate with a decisive victory in the January 6 Sham Stakes (G3). The Sham vindicated Lyon’s faith in McKinzie’s talent. “It also proves that he is what they think he is,” she said. “Winning the grade one by a disqualification—I mean, anyone will take a grade one—but that was only his second start and there was some bumping going on, so I was very proud of him, but I think he left no doubt in the Sham.” Summer Wind purchased multiple grade 2 victress Runway Model, in foal to Storm Cat, for $2.7 million at the 2006 Keeneland November sale. Runway Model has a Liam’s Map yearling filly, was not bred for 2018, and will visit Street Sense for 2019.
But Lyon’s most thrilling equine experience came from her purchase of Littleprincessemma. Summer Wind spent $2.1 million for “Emma”—then carrying a full brother to American Pharoah, later named St Patrick's Day—at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton November sale. Lyon has high hopes for the mare’s juvenile Tapit filly, named Chasing Yesterday for her husband. “Emma” is due to deliver a Tapit colt this month; her 2019 breeding plans are undecided.
Recalled Lyon, “That experience was probably the greatest gift that I had in 2015 and possibly in my life, because we bought ‘Emma’ in November of 2014 and American Pharoah was an injured two-year-old, and at the point nobody knew if he would run again, much less be the horse he was.” She added, “2015 was also the last year of my husband’s life and he had been ill off and on for many years,” remembering, “He was quite frail near the last and we were going to go to the Breeders’ Cup after Pharoah won the Triple Crown and he wasn’t well enough to go. I went—he was here with friends and a caregiver and I just went over to Keeneland to watch the race.”
Of her beloved spouse, Lyon said, “To see him get to experience that height that people can’t even really dream of, it meant more to me than I can say. He passed away a week after the Breeders’ Cup. That mare and Pharoah...I don’t think anything will ever top that.” She recalled, “It meant the world to me and I have pictures of him at the end of the races with us and he’s got the biggest smile on his face and it was wonderful,” adding gratefully, “It was a miracle. I really think it was.”