According to the Kentucky Agricultural Statistics Service, sales of horses, including stud fees, of over $800 million was the cash receipt leader for Kentucky. Following behind that is poultry (which includes chicken and eggs), cattle and then tobacco.
Kentucky, and especially the Bluegrass, has long been known for the production of superior horses. Now that tobacco production has waned, horses are the top cash leader for the state. Few people realize however that Franklin County has a long established thoroughbred breeding and training establishment right here at home.
Indian Ridge Farm, located in the Bridgeport area off South Benson, has been growing horses for the Bradley family for decades. Fred Bradley bought the original 320 acres and raised his family up working on the farm, boarding, breeding, training and racing horses.
Currently, his youngest son Buff, a licensed trainer and owner of Bradley Racing Stables, manages 40-50 thoroughbreds on the farm with his family while also overseeing an additional 18 horses at his stables. Buff lives on the farm with his family of co-workers including his wife Kim, daughter Kory, son Drew and youngest daughter Jett.
The farm regularly employees four or five workers depending on the season. The stables however, need 11 to handle all the chores and duties of horse husbandry. The stable works the Kentucky circuit, rotating through Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Turfway and Ellis Park.
Bradley Racing Stable specializes in developing young horses purchased at the sales, as well as home-breds such as Churchill Stakes Winner Town Queen (earnings over $240,000), Stakes Placed King of Speed (earnings over $200,000) and Regale (earnings over $150,000).
Recently, their years of toil and dedication have really started to pay off literally. Fred and Buff Bradley bred, foaled, raised and trained G1 winner and millionaire Brass Hat. Buff commented about Brass Hat after his win in the 2004 Ohio Derby, "Breeding and foaling him on the farm, raising, breaking and doing everything with him from day one, it's been so gratifying."
Since then, he suffered a fractured leg in a late 2004 race and was nursed back to racing form after 13 months recuperating at the farm. Currently, the five-year-old gelding has won $1.2 million.
Now Brass Hat, a product of Franklin County, has achieved another milestone for the farm, stables and even our home county. After winning the Donn Handicap in Florida, Brass Hat was invited to the Richest Race in the World, the Dubai World Cup at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse, with a $6 million purse.
Buff and Fred will be leaving this week for Dubai in preparation for Saturdays Race. Buff feels confident in his horse but no matter what the outcome of Saturdays richest race in the world, he knows that it is an honor and chance of a lifetime to just be invited, let alone travel and race in a country half way across the world!
To find out more and track the outcome of the big race, check out Buffs websites http://www.buffracing.com/, http://www.brasshat.us/ and http://www.dubaiworldcup.com/.