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Famed Sam-Son Farm to wind down operation and disperse breeding and racing stock

Farm has bred and raced 44 graded stakes winners, such as champion Dance Smartly

Deceptive Vision: one of many top-notchers to carry the famous red and gold silks with distinction
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Sam-Son Farm, one of the most celebrated and successful thoroughbred operations in North America, has announced it will be dispersing its breeding and racing stock during the next 12-18 months.

Ernie Samuel founded Sam-Son Farm in 1972 and built it into a world-renowned racing and breeding operation. After his death in 2000, his daughter Tammy Samuel-Balaz took over and led the farm to numerous victories and awards until her own passing in 2008. 

Today Sam-Son is run by farm manager Dave Whitford and racing manager Tom Zwiesler, under the leadership of owners Rick Balaz, (president), Mark Samuel (CEO) and Kim Samuel.

After serious consideration and discussion, the owners unanimously decided to initiate an orderly dispersal, in partnership with Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland, and to step back from active participation in the racing and breeding world.

Sam-Son Farm has bred and raced 44 graded stakes winners in the famed red and gold silks, including 37 Classic winners, and 14 Grade 1 winners. The legendary operation has garnered 84 Sovereign Awards and won four Eclipse Awards, including the 2019 Sovereign Awards for Owner and Breeder of the Year.

The Samuel/Balaz families said in a statement: “We are enormously proud of the quality and longevity of Sam-Son Farm and have enjoyed nurturing and celebrating every stage of the equine cycle from breeding, to raising, to racing, to retirement and often, returning to the breeding shed.

"Our horses have given generations of our family such fulfilment and excitement over the years and we felt that the time had come, after five decades, to now share that legacy with the world. It was a bittersweet decision but one that we are committed to pursuing with integrity, transparency and respect. Our horses and our amazing, dedicated employees deserve no less.”

Sam-Son has seen its silks carried by such champions as Dance Smartly, the first Canadian-owned and -bred horse to win a Breeders’ Cup race and who, in her undefeated three-year-old season of 1991, became just the second filly in history to win the Canadian Triple Crown.

Other champions include Breeders' Cup winner Chief Bearhart, Eclipse Award winner Sky Classic, Dancethruthedawn, Quiet Resolve, Rainbow’s For Life, Ruling Angel, Silken Cat, Soaring Free, Wilderness Song and many more.

Sam-Son also bred and raced Grade 1 winner and influential sire Smart Strike, a half-brother to Dance Smartly. The son of Champion Sire Mr Prospector had a magnificent career at stud, topping the American General Sire List in 2007 and 2008 and being inducted into the Canadian Racing Hall of Fame in 2008.

Sam-Son’s dispersal programme will debut at the upcoming Fasig-Tipton November Sale. The consignment will consist of 2019 Canadian champion three-year-old filly Desert Ride, recent Grade 2 winner Rideforthecause, stakes winner and track record holder Desert Isle, who is in foal to American Pharoah, and the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Shared Account, who is carrying to Speightstown.

Rideforthecause represents one of Sam-Son's oldest and by far the most successful family, dating back to none other than foundation broodmare No Class. 

Woodbine Oaks winner Desert Ride dates back to Oleana through five generations, giving her the distinction of being a descendant of the oldest family in the farm's programme. 

Shared Account will be the first Breeders’ Cup winner and dam of a Breeders’ Cup winner to ever be offered at public auction. The accomplished daughter of Pleasantly Perfect captured the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf and being in foal to Speightstown is carrying a full sibling to Sharing, winner of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Fasig-Tipton boss Boyd Browning: honoured to assist in the dispersal process

Boyd Browning, president and chief executive of Fasig-Tipton, said: “Sam-Son Farm has been an iconic name in thoroughbred racing and breeding for nearly half a century. This programme has produced numerous Grade 1 winners, champions and Hall of Fame racehorses.

"Sam-Son horses have had a profound influence in top pedigrees around the world and will continue to do so for many generations. Although saddened to see them dispersing their thoroughbred holdings, we are honoured to assist them in this process."

Sam-Son Farm will present its remaining in-foal mares at the 2021 Keeneland January Horses of all Ages Sale. This consignment currently stands at 21 and includes Grade 1 producers Danceforthecause and Song Of The Lark as well as young stakes-winning mares Checkered Past, Dance Again, Deceptive Vision, Mythical Mission, Smartyfly and Southern Ring.

Covering sires include American Pharoah, Candy Ride, Into Mischief, Kitten’s Joy, Speightstown and Street Sense.

Keeneland president-elect and interim head of sales Shannon Arvin said: “Keeneland and Sam-Son Farm have enjoyed a long, successful relationship. Over the years, a number of Sam-Son horses have raced here, and the farm received the prestigious Keeneland Tray during the 2005 Spring Meet to recognise its graded stakes success – a milestone that only 20 owners have reached in track history.

"We are privileged that Sam-Son has entrusted Keeneland to offer this distinguished group of mares at the January Sale.”

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It was a bittersweet decision but one that we are committed to pursuing with integrity, transparency and respect
E.W. Terms