Valkyre Stud
Friday, January 24, 2014 Share on Facebook RSS Feeds

Valkyre Stud 


Entrance at Valkyre Stud
(Photo Credit: BruceRobertFrank.com)

Catherine Parke, a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a degree in Animal Science, always knew Kentucky was home.  Originally from Ohio, Parke explained, “I think in a past life I must have been raised here because I don’t want to be anywhere else.” This desire to make Kentucky her permanent home led to the founding of Valkyre Stud in 1978. After teaching hunter and jumper riding lessons after college, Parke wanted to change focus to the Thoroughbred industry and began working for Henry White, an internationally renowned and respected third-generation horseman.  Parke gained valuable farm experience with White by working in the office, breaking yearlings, helping with veterinarian work, etc.  

Parke began her own venture in the Thoroughbred business by renting a 30-acre farm. Her first broodmare, OLDEST GIRL, helped Parke grow her dream by selling the mare’s first weanling at the 1978 Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale.  She used the proceeds from that sale to make a down payment on Valkyre Stud.  Prior to the purchase the land had been used as a cattle operation which allowed Parke to build and design the farm as she desired.  Parke said that the farm evolved over time. “I’d sell something and build a barn or build more fence,” she explained.  She laughingly said that her own house began as “three rooms and stayed that way for a long time, because the horses came first.”  


View of Valkyre Stud
(Photo Credit: BruceRobertFrank.com)

Since the original purchase Parke has obtained more acreage, some attaching to the farm and some not; the farm now totals 225 acres.  Currently, Valkyre houses between 35-40 mares.   Parke owns a few, has a few in partnership, and the rest are client owned mares.  Parke prefers to keep Valkyre a smaller operation and focus on quality rather than quantity. She prides herself on being hands on so she never misses a foaling and has the ability to check the horses everyday if not twice a day. This approach has rewarded Valkyre with six Grade 1 winners to the farm’s credit: Milwaukee Brew, Riskaverse, Northern Emerald, Stormello, Haimish Hy, and 2013 Vanderbilt H.-G1 winner Justin Phillip.

In addition to being a successful breeding operation Valkyre is also a successful sales agency.  For Parke, long term client relationships are a must and they have certainly been beneficial.  Valkyre Stud has consigned five $1 million yearlings since 2000, three of which have been in the past three years.  Million dollar yearlings have been sold for clients: Robert Spiegel (2000), Michael & Reiko Baum (2003), Mr. & Mrs. William Currin (2012), and Mrs. Patricia Klussman (2013).  The fifth yearling was a horse Parke herself owned which sold in 2011.  All of those clients have been with Valkyre for at least 30 years.  “It is wonderful for the clients that have supported you for so long”, said Parke.


Bernardini - Silk n' Sapphire yearling
sold for $1.2 million in 2011

One of Parke’s fondest memories is the journey with AVA KNOWSTHECODE.  She bought AVA ROMANCE, dam of AVA KNOWSTHECODE, for Mr. & Mrs. William Klussman at the 1989 Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale.  At the time, the Klussmans raced everything they bred. Parke recalls following AVA KNOWSTHECODE while training and racing until she came back to Valkyre Stud as a broodmare in 1999.  AVA KNOWSTHECODE is dam to 12 foals including JUSTIN PHILLIP (Multiple Graded Stakes winner, including a G1), KEYED ENTRY (G2 & G3 Stakes winner), SUCCESSFUL MISSION (G3 Stakes & Listed Stakes winner), ALGORITHMS (G3 Stakes winner), and ALEX’S ALLURE (Stakes winner).  Her 2012 colt was the yearling that sold for $1.2 million at the 2013 Keeneland September sale. Mrs. Klussman was one of Parke’s first clients, and she admits that has made the success of AVA KNOWSTHECODE even more special. Parke added that she has a goal to raise a Grade 1 winner for every one of her clients.

Parke is a Thoroughbred industry supporter, not only as a business but also as an individual. She encourages industry newcomers and participates in the OwnerView.com’s advisor program.  Parke has hosted TOBA breeding and pedigree seminars at Valkyre Stud and contributed to seminars in other states for TOBA in an effort to interest people in the Thoroughbred industry.  Self-described as an “optimist,” she feels the industry is on the up swing. She cites positive sales results and fewer RNAs in Kentucky and in Europe as evidence. Parke believes the industry is trying to solve important issues and added that “it’s been a long time coming but I’m pleased to see that as an industry we are making some positive changes.” 


Scenic view of Valkyre Farm
(Photo Credit: BruceRobertFrank.com)

For more information about Valkyre Stud, please click here to visit their website.

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