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  Grave Matters: Vinery (North Ridge), Lexington, Kentucky

Photos by Liz Martiniak ©Liz Martiniak 2003; all rights reserved.

Desert Vixen
The grave of champion racemare DESERT VIXEN (1970-1982)

VINERY (briefly BRECKINRIDGE FARM), north of Lexington, is part of what was formerly Franklin Groves' NORTH RIDGE FARM. (Hill 'n' Dale Farm, where Seattle Slew is buried, was the North Ridge Stallion Complex.) North Ridge Farm was, in turn, built on property that was formerly part of the historic Brookdale Farm owned by Tom Piatt, and here Piatt bred the champion Alsab. On the new Vinery Stallion property, another parcel that was formerly North Ridge, is the unmarked grave of the champion SARAZEN (1921-1940). Crestwood Farm, also formerly part of the Piatt farm, has the graves of EURASIAN and PIET.

Franklin Groves was a builder from Minnesota and originally bred American Saddlebreds. He switched to thoroughbreds in the early 1970s and invested heavily in the very best broodmares and stallion shares. DESERT VIXEN was one of his first purchases. The champion filly of her crop at 3 and 4, DESERT VIXEN produced only 4 foals before her death on September 25, 1982. Her second foal was REAL SHADAI (1979 c. by Roberto), who won Grand Prix de Deauville (G2) and was second in the Prix du Jockey Club (G1). Sent to stud in Japan, he became a leading sire there.

Our "Queen of the Dead," Liz Martiniak, notes that TOO BALD is also buried near DESERT VIXEN, although without a marker. TOO BALD was a stakes winner, and was voted KTOB Broodmare of the Year for 1986, the year her son CAPOTE (bred at North Ridge Farm) was voted Champion 2-Year-Old. TOO BALD was a true blue hen and had previously produced the outstanding international runner EXCELLER, as well as stakes winners BALDSKI, AMERICAN STANDARD, and VAGUELY HIDDEN. -- A.P.

VINERY (NORTH RIDGE) FARM BURIALS (not a complete list):
Desert Vixen (f.1970-1982)
Too Bald (f.1964-1989; unmarked)

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