Mulholland Springs: The Family Plan
Friday, April 19, 2013 Share on Facebook RSS Feeds

Mulholland Springs: The Family Plan

John and Martha Jane Mulholland’s Mulholland Springs in Northern Fayette County has a unique vision that truly emphasizes “family” and serves as the basis of its entire Thoroughbred operation.  That perspective may not appear on first inspection but as its story unfolds it is apparent that the farm strives to maintain a connection to the past as a means to ensure sustainable quality for the future.

Mulholland Springs Farm off Iron Works Pike in Fayette County

For the Mulholland family, horses have been the family business for decades, first in Oklahoma then in Kentucky. John R. and Martha Jane Mulholland established the Mulholland Springs in Lexington in 1979 with a mission of applying his horse business experience in Western disciplines to the commercial Thoroughbred marketplace.  Over 30 years later, Mulholland Springs still operates with that same goal of producing superior Thoroughbred racehorses and bloodstock.

The Mulholland Springs team of John R. and Martha Jane manage their operation with help of their son John H., his family, and a select set of knowledgeable employees, such as Claiborne Farm born and bred Eugene “Boots” Young, who manage the foals, broodmares, and yearlings.  The farm both raises its own stock and hosts outside boarding mares, sales preps, and layups.  At the close of the breeding season, John H. says that Mulholland Springs will have foaled out about 100 mares and their babies.

A stout 2013 foal by Harlan’s Holiday

Frequently active as both buyers and sellers at the yearling and breeding stock sales, the Mulholland's occasionally buy young mares off the racetrack such as the recently acquired stakes winners Volcat and Indian Gracey.  Farm Manager John H. Mulholland explains, “…in this market, there is value in buying mares right off the track as the competition in the sales ring for those types is tough”.  He elaborates his father John is “fond of big, good boned mares” who often utilizes Frederico Tesio’s theory of breeding mares to stallions with similar conformation to emphasize their combined strengths rather than breeding opposing body types to offset their faults.  The Tesio husbandry theory is still just theory but it is hard to deny that many Mulholland-bred foals do have the strong, balanced appearance that’s proven to be commercially appealing and athletically productive.

Retired broodmares enjoying the spring sun

In time these foals eventually begin either sales preparations or get sent to trainers for pre-race training.  Though primarily a commercial breeding operation, Mulholland Springs does maintain a racing string with various trainers who regularly compete on the Kentucky circuit.  Perhaps its most successful runner (and pinhooking venture) is Malibu Mint, whom they privately purchased as a stakes-placed runner, then immediately shipped to Calder to win the Grade 1 Princess Rooney, before selling a year later at auction in-foal to Mr. Greely for $1.3 million. 

Trophies for some of the numerous stakes
bred or owned by the Mulholland’s  

As commercial breeders, they support many proven and popular sires known for throwing correct foals with good bone, but the Mulholland’s are also not shy about taking chances on newer stallions.  The farm’s 2013 foal crop includes those sired by Unbridled’s Song, Smart Strike, Malibu Moon, Uncle Mo, Harlan’s Holiday, and Cape Blanco.  John H. mentions that he’s been particularly impressed by the offspring of Pioneerof the Nile, Gio Ponti, Munnings, and Quality Road.  

Photogenic and leggy 2013 foal by Quality Road

Essentially Thoroughbred farmers, the Mulholland’s are very mindful of the best ways to create value for their clients and seek to improve functional efficiency on the farm as a means to lower expenses.   As such, the farm takes measures such as muck recycling and building preservation that not only help reduce operational costs but maintains much of the land’s integrity. 

Mulholland Springs operates with a culture of commitment to producing superior Thoroughbreds and utilizes a distinct insight to pursue that vision.  The organic result of striving to maintain quality control to achieve commercial success illustrates why, from farming to foaling, at Mulholland Springs class comes naturally.

For more information on Mulholland Springs, please visit their website and Facebook page.

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