Biggest Oaklawn Win: 2015 Apple Blossom Handicap with Untapable
In recent years, Winchell Thoroughbreds has found success at Oaklawn partnering with Arkansan Willis Horton starting in 2018 when Combatant finished second in the Southwest Stakes (G3) and third in the Rebel Stakes (G2). The following year, the partners won the first division on the split Rebel Stakes with Long Range Toddy and in 2021, they have teamed to win the Fifth Season Stakes and Essex Handicap with Silver State.
Also in 2018, Winchell Thoroughbreds, as sole owner, won two races with 3-year-old homebred Tenfold, who would later finish fifth in the Arkansas Derby (G1), third in the Preakness – the second leg of the Triple Crown – and capture the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2).
Winchell Thoroughbreds was among Oaklawn’s leading owners in 2016, with seven wins and a second in the Fantasy Stakes (G3) with Taxable. They won just two races in 2017, but an important one in partnership – the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) – with eventual Horse of the Year Gun Runner.
Winchell Thoroughbreds is a partnership of Joan Winchell and her son, Ron, who are continuing the racing and breeding operation started by the late Verne H. Winchell, Joan’s husband and Ron’s father. The elder Winchell, who died at age 87 in 2002, founded the donut company Winchell’s in 1948 and later was CEO and chairman of Denny’s restaurants. He bred and raced champions Mira Femme and Tight Spot (the latter raced in partnership).
The Winchells has had a long association with Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who has led the Oaklawn standing 10 times since 2007.
Winchell Thoroughbreds ($623,626) led all owners in purse earnings at the 2014 Oaklawn meeting and the season was highlighted by Tapiture’s victory in the Southwest Stakes (G3). Won the Gr. 1 Apple Blossom Handicap in 2015 with champion Untapable. The family also won the 1991 Arkansas Derby with Olympio.
Campaigned 2004 Wood Memorial (G1) winner Tapit, now one of the world’s leading stallions who stands at Gainesway Farm in Kentucky. Other top horses include 2012 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tapizar and 2005 Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly. Ron Winchell retained a half-interest in Tapit and still supports the super sire. Untapable, Tapizar and Tapiture are all by Tapit.
The Winchells own 320-acre Corinthia Farm near Lexington, Ky., where they board approximately 25 mares. Racing manager and farm manager David Fiske has worked for the Winchell family since July 1980.
Ron Winchell is involved in gaming bars/restaurants, construction, and real estate development. In partnership, Winchell purchased Kentucky Downs – the European-style grass course – in November 2018.