Timber Town Stable
Monday, August 18, 2014 Share on Facebook RSS Feeds

Timber Town Stable


Timber Town Stable Logo

A native of Maryland, Wayne Sweezey, who owns and manages Timber Town Stable with his wife Cathy, came to Kentucky in 1975. He worked for trainer Doug Davis for a year, and then went to college at the University of Kentucky to study agriculture. After college, Sweezey worked in management at a couple different farms, including as an assistant at Manchester Farm and general manager of Jaredcrest for 10 years. In 1998, John Phillips offered Sweezey the position of Sales Director at his family’s Darby Dan Farm. Sweezey readily accepted, and in his first year the farm sold a yearling for $1.7 million. Soon thereafter Sweezey was named Manager of the entire operation. After eight years, Sweezey became General Manager and Partner of Darby Dan Farm, a job which he stayed in for a decade.

As a young man, Sweezey had spent his summers working on the backstretch at Delaware Park, but after being exposed to Kentucky, he realized it was the place to be in the Thoroughbred industry.  

“It all boils down to infrastructure,” said Sweezey, “I do business all around the United States, and I don’t think there are finer equine veterinary practices.”

Sweezey added that not only are all the quality stallions in Kentucky, but elaborated on the quality of the land as well.  

“Most of the farms have great topsoil, so you grow good grass and in turn you grow good horses. If you manage your land well, there is no other place in the world better to raise horses than right here,” said Sweezey.


View overlooking the fields at Timber Town

Timber Town Stable is primarily a breeding and boarding operation. The main property is approximately 135 acres, and it is located on Leestown Road in Lexington, KY. The property was purchased in 2009 during the economic downturn. Sweezey said the farm was run down and tired and the farm’s structures, fencing, landscaping, etc. all had to be rebuilt. Timber Town Stable also has a 40 acre annex which is used for layups, sales prep, and quarantine. It is conveniently located a short drive from the main farm. That property was purchased in 2001 and is managed by Cathy Sweezey. The Sweezeys also lease two other farms; an 80-acre tract that lies between the two main properties, as well as a 100-acre farm located in Midway. In its first year of business, Timber Town had fewer than ten mares and Wayne and Cathy were the only employees. Today, Timber Town has around 90 mares and 10 employees.

Sweezey attributes the success of Timber Town to hard work, experience, and wonderful clients. Two of the farm’s most notable clients are Mandy Pope of Whisper Hill Farm and Shell Evans of Courtland Farm. Sweezey met Pope while at Darby Dan Farm, and the two became friends. When Timber Town was established, Pope showed her support by sending a couple of mares to the Sweezeys. Today, nearly all of the Whisper Hill mares are at Timber Town. Sweezey and Evans became acquainted thanks to a bloodstock deal two years ago that included 2014 Belmont Stakes winner, TONALIST, who was foaled and raised at Timber Town. Sweezey said that he is also very fortunate to enjoy a good relationship with a core group of clients that have been with Timber Town since its inception. 


2014 Belmont Stakes winner, TONALIST

Among the mares boarded at Timber Town are Horse-of-the-Year and Eclipse Champion HAVRE DE GRACE, purchased at Fasig-Tipton in November of 2012 for $10 million; Grade 1 winner PLUM PRETTY, purchased at Keeneland that same year for $4.2 million, and 2014 Eclipse Champion GROUPIE DOLL, who was purchased last November at Keeneland for $3.1 million. They are among an elite group of mares that Mandy Pope has acquired. Sweezey, who vividly recalls the day he realized that HAVRE DE GRACE would be under his care, said he will always be grateful for the faith people like Mandy Pope and Shell Evans have placed in him and his wife.  


HAVRE DE GRACE
 

Sweezey also operates a successful sales consignment under the name Sweezey and Partners. He prefers only to sell horses that have been raised at Timber Town. On occasion, he will sell for friends and associates who request Sweezey and Partners to consign their horses, but he does not solicit horses to sell. Sweezey likes to be able to answer first hand, any questions potential buyers might have about horses in his consignment, which is why he adheres to his sales policy. Recently, Sweezey’s son Kent, who works for trainer Eoin Harty in California, had his first sales consignment at the Barretts Paddock Sale at Del Mar. He sold the second highest priced horse at the sale for $275,000, and Sweezey beamed with fatherly pride when he learned the horse had been sold under the Sweezey and Partners name.


Kent Sweezey and SUSHI EMPIRE, who sold for the second
highest price at the Barretts Del Mar Paddock Sale

“There is a lot of luck involved,” said Sweezey, “but I also think hard work plays a very important role. If you put your time in, it will come to you, and you should never forget where you came from, either.” 

True to his credo, Sweezey chose the name Timber Town as a nod to his childhood and as a tribute an influential person in his life, Kathleen Frederick of Bryn Mawr, PA. Mrs. Frederick operated a steeplechase stable that she called Timber Town. In addition, she employed Sweezey’s father as a dog trainer and contributed to Sweezey’s schooling, sponsoring his education at a Virginia preparatory school. Prior to her death, Mrs. Frederick gave Sweezey permission to use Timber Town with hopes he would perpetuate the good name. Sweezey said, “Without a doubt, the name Timber Town has great karma.”

“I have to pinch myself, sometimes, because I never dreamed I would have an operation like this," said Sweezey. “So much of it boils down to associating with really great people, and I’m also lucky to have a great wife who's with me every step of the way."

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