THE BIG PICTURE: THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES

SpringHillNothing uplifting here as a recent edition of the Saratoga Special featured an ad from well known real estate broker Phil Thomas’ Thomas and Talbot.  With long-time Virginia horsemen John Coles as listing agent, the firm is advertising the sale of Spring Hill Farm and the Middleburg Training Center.

The Casanova nursery that produced so many top Virginia-breds for Edward P. Evans is listed for $25 million.  Evans left his entire estate to Yale and the proceeds will benefit his foundation.  Seems hard to imagine there is a likely purchaser for such an immense property when breeding horses in Virginia offers such economic limitations when compared to surrounding states where purses and breeders funds are fueled by alternative gambling dollars.

Perhaps more discouraging is the $3.9 million price tag on the Middleburg Training Center.  The facility was built in the 1956 by horseman and philanthropist Paul Mellon (who was honored yesterday as a Pillar of the Turf at the National Musuem of Racing’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony) and has been turning out racehorses ever since. Conveniently located in Northern Virginia with good access to racetracks in Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaward, the bucolic setting has long been seen as a great alternative to conditioning both young and older horses.

MiddleburgTrainingCenterA group of prominent Virginia owners and trainers purchased the facility in the 1960’s and talented young trainers used to wait in line to gain access to one of the 11 training barns which were kept full for decades.  In recent years as the industry contracts it has grown harder and harder to fill the 20-stall barns.

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