Oaklawn Barn Notes: Farr Has More than Horses to Root For on Saturday

Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates

Contact: Jennifer Hoyt, jhoyt@oaklawn.com or (501) 363-4305

Friday, January 21, 2022

Photo credit: Coady Photography

Farr Has More than Horses to Root For on Saturday

The Pack is Back Saturday in Green Bay, Wis., and Hot Springs. Paul Farr has a strong rooting interest in both places.

Farr, 54, is a mega fan of the Green Bay Packers, who host the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Divisional playoffs Saturday night. Farr also owns more than 100 horses, mostly in partnerships, including two entered Saturday afternoon at Oaklawn – Warrior’s Battle in the fifth race and Perfect Happiness in the eighth race, the $150,000 American Beauty Stakes for older female sprinters.

Farr’s game plan? Watch the races on a huge outdoor television from the “tailgate patio” of his townhouse in Green Bay’s Titletown district, then walk a block to iconic Lambeau Field to watch the Packers.

“It’s the same spot that we watched Perfect Happiness’ victory the last game I was home for, last game or the game before, I forget,” Farr said. “Everybody was cheering her on. She had like three seconds in a row and she broke one. We’re indoctrinating as many people as we can into horse racing.”

Farr resides in Center Valley, Pa., about 50 miles north of Philadelphia, but he’s originally from Green Bay and began attending Packers games as a child. Farr’s home is now a shrine to the team, with approximately 2,000 square feet in his basement remodeled to mimic the Packers locker room at Lambeau Field.

Among Farr’s most prized pieces of Packers memorabilia are game-used jerseys of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers and Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Don Hutson and cleats worn by player/coach Curly Lambeau, who co-founded the team in 1919.

Farr also said he has two rings from Super Bowl XXXI – Green Bay beat New England 35-21 in 1997 – an NFC championship ring from that season, team-themed watches and pendants from the 1920s and 1930s and team-signed footballs from the 1930s.

“Everybody that collects, like, fights for it,” said Farr, whose primary occupation is funding start-up companies. “You have that: ‘Well, this is what I have. Like, I can one up you.’ It’s that kind of thing. There’s a known universe of people that kind of collect it like that.”

Farr’s collection of horses is growing, too. After dabbling in ownership roughly a decade ago, Farr began investing more heavily in 2019, initially as a partner (fractional ownership) through the nationally prominent Ten Strike Racing of co-founders Marshall Gramm and Arkansas native Clay Sanders.

Farr was already friends with Pennsylvania owner Michael Caruso, who, in partnership, campaigned 2018 and 2020 Eclipse Award winner Monomoy Girl. During a trip to Churchill Downs, Farr said he wanted to see Monomoy Girl at trainer Brad Cox’s barn. That meeting led to an introduction to Liz Crow, who is Ten Strike’s racing manager, and eventually Gramm and Sanders. Cox is also one of Ten Strike’s trainers.

Multiple stakes winners Whereshetoldmetogo and Grade 3 winner Lady Rocket were among the first horses Farr had with Ten Strike. Farr is now involved in numerous other partnerships, campaigning horses with the likes of Sol Kumin, West Point Thoroughbreds and Staton Flurry of Hot Springs.

Farr also races horses under his Titletown banner – Green Bay’s nickname is “Titletown” after winning an NFL record 13 world championships – and said he owns pieces of more than 120 overall.

“From 2 ½ percent to 100 percent,” said Farr, who also solely owns 16 broodmares, including Is It Gold, a half-sister to champion Swiss Skydiver. “It’s rare that I buy 100 percent. There’s only like five or six of those.”

Titletown Racing Stables already has been represented by four winners at the 2021-2022 Oaklawn meeting – Perfect Happiness (Dec. 12 allowance sprint), Warrior’s Battle (Dec. 5 maiden-claiming sprint and Jan. 7 starter/optional claiming sprint) and Magnolia Midnight (Jan. 15 allowance sprint).

Flurry co-owns Perfect Happiness, who is trained by Cox. Other partners in the Dallas Stewart-trained Magnolia Midnight include West Point Thoroughbreds. Warrior’s Battle is a 3-year-old half-sister to Warrior’s Charge, the millionaire multiple Grade 3 winner for Cox and Ten Strike. Farr doesn’t have a financial stake in Warrior’s Charge, but he was at Oaklawn for the horse’s victory in the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) in 2020.

Warrior’s Battle, co-owned by Ten Strike, was purchased for $50,000 at the 2019 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. The daughter of Khozan, also trained by Cox, carried Farr’s Green Bay-themed silks Jan. 7 and was scheduled to be sold about a week later at Keeneland’s January Horses of All Ages Sale before being withdrawn.

“We didn’t believe that that was the best way to optimize value,” Farr said. “Like, she had more to prove. She looked like she handled that last group well.”

Warrior’s Battle is the 3-1 program favorite for Saturday’s fifth race, a starter/optional claimer at 1 mile, which will mark her two-turn debut. Perfect Happiness (8-1) will be making her stakes debut in the 6-furlong American Beauty. The Packers, meanwhile, are 5 ½-point favorites.

“I’m hoping it will go well against San Francisco, so we’ll see,” Farr said.

Caldwell and Keith Teaming for Country Bros Stables

The ageless Rated R Superstar wasn’t the only noteworthy winner four-time Oaklawn leading owner Danny Caldwell had last Saturday.

Favored Call of Honor ($5.80) represented the first Oaklawn victory, and fourth overall, for Country Bros Stables, a 50-50 partnership between Caldwell and country music star Toby Keith. Caldwell and Keith, longtime friends, formed Country Bros Stables in 2021 and its first victory came Oct. 6 at Remington Park, home track of both Oklahoma owners. Call of Honor was the fourth Oaklawn starter for Country Bros Stables.

“We had talked about it for a couple of years,” Caldwell said moments after Call of Honor’s victory in the first race. “We ran our first horse at Canterbury this summer, so we’re just gradually building our stable.”

Caldwell said Country Bros Stables has seven horses in training, including five at Oaklawn with his longtime primary trainer, Federico Villafranco. The other two are at Sam Houston with Villafranco’s son, Martin, who recently went out on his own and saddled his first career winner, the Caldwell-owned She’sskysthelimit, Jan. 13. Country Bros Stables entered Thursday with four victories from 26 starts and purse earnings of $109,088, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.

“Right now, we’re playing the claiming game,” Caldwell said. “We’re going to eventually probably drift out and buy some yearlings and younger horses, but right now we’re just kind of getting started.”

Caldwell was Oaklawn’s leading owner in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, parlaying numerous shrewd claims into 86 victories in Hot Springs during that span. Keith, as a breeder/owner, has been a major player nationally for many years through his Dream Walkin Farms, campaigning the likes of Grade 3 winners Smack and Cactus Ridge. Call of Honor was part of an entry Saturday with Dream Walkin’s Stud Puppy, who is trained by Hall of Famer Nick Zito.

“We’ve probably known each other eight or 10 years,” Caldwell said of Keith. “We talk horses. He loves to talk pedigrees. He’s very sharp on the pedigrees. We enjoy visiting about horses. You know, he wrote the song, “That’s Country Bro,” and so he said: ‘Why don’t we start Country Bro Stables?’ ”

Caldwell’s wife, Allison, designed the silks of Country Bros Stables, which feature a prominent rendering of Keith’s American flag-themed guitar. Allison Caldwell recorded her first career Oaklawn victory as an owner April 6, 2019.

Millionaire Rated R Superstar, a 9-year-old gelding, gave Danny Caldwell his second career Oaklawn stakes victory in last Saturday’s $150,000 Fifth Season for older horses. Caldwell claimed Rated R Superstar for $50,000 last January at Oaklawn.

Finish Lines

Luis Quinonez’s victory aboard Doctor Love ($38.80) in last Sunday’s seventh race was the jockey’s 620th at Oaklawn. Quinonez is the ninth-winningest rider Oaklawn history. He was Oaklawn’s leading jockey in 2007. … Arrogates Spirit, a 3-year-old half-brother to 2020 champion male sprinter Whitmore, moved closer to his career debut by working 5 furlongs out of the gate in 1:01.40 Wednesday morning for trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs. The track was fast. Arrogates Spirit is from the first crop of the late champion Arrogate. Moquett trained Whitmore, a seven-time Oaklawn stakes winner. … Fair Grounds-based Tom Amoss said Tuesday afternoon that he plans to be represented in the $150,000 King Cotton Stakes for older sprinters Jan. 29. Amoss has three nominees to the 6-furlong race, Double Crown, Frosted Grace and Isolate, all for owner Dean Reeves (Reeves Thoroughbreds), who campaigned 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man. “We’ll have something in there,” Amoss said. “I don’t know who it will be. We’re just going to kind of get a lay of the land and see who is running in that spot.” Post positions for the King Cotton, $200,000 Martha Washington Stakes for 3-year-old fillies and the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds will be drawn Monday. The Martha Washington and Southwest are points race for the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby, respectively. …After training and racing were cancelled Friday because of freezing temperatures, Oaklawn officials said they hope to conduct training from 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. (Central) Saturday. To accommodate the move, first post Saturday has been moved from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. Normal schedules are expected to resume Sunday. … Trainer Brad Cox said Vivar and Home Brew are under consideration for the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds Jan. 29. The 1 1/16-mile Southwest is Oaklawn’s second of four Kentucky Derby points races. Vivar and Home Brew finished fifth and 10th, respectively, in Oaklawn’s first Kentucky Derby points race, the $250,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 1. Home Brew was the betting favorite. … Xtreme Gem is scheduled to make her 2022 debut in Sunday’s sixth race, a maiden special weights sprint for 3-year-old fillies, for trainer Mac Robertson and Xtreme Racing Stables (Vicki and Mike McGowan), which purchased the filly for $625,000 at Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in May. Xtreme Gem is by Tapit, among the most influent sires in racing history, out of Grade 1 winner Gomo. The filly worked an eighth of a mile in :10.20 during the sale’s under tack preview. Xtreme Gem ran fourth in her Oct. 24 career debut at Keeneland. She will run on Lasix for the first time Sunday.