A sunny day, low 80s, a stern breeze and landscape that rivals serenity. This is the day we were provided with to shoot a video piece to accompany our magazine feature on Dixiana farms.

The talent, an incredibly wise and witty Ercel Ellis led the way. We were later joined by farm manager Terry Arnold. The two led Evan Hammonds, and we Blood-Horse crew, around the farm.

Ercel walked us through the history of his father's rise to the farm manager position and the history of Dixiana. He started naming off horses left and right, gave back-stories of these horses, how they came to the farm and most interestingly, the horses personalities. Ercel still knew the habits, routines and tendencies of his horses.

Ercel explained life growing up around horses and the farm. He also provided stories of horses which taught him lessons on what not to do, horses he learned to ride on, and the meanest horse he encountered at the farm. His stories were rich and full of life, as his smile and humor entered his memories.

As for me, I ran around filming him and Evan, then shooting b-roll of the AMAZING training track, reconstructed barns and immaculate scenery.

Issue 38 of The Blood-Horse for September 19, 2009 will hold the magazine feature.

Old Stallion Barn

Evan Hammonds and Ercel Ellis

Me shooting the memories

Farm Manager Terry Arnold

[brightcove videoid="40697126001"]


Leave a Comment:


Thank you for the wonderful video. The history shared is priceless.  

17 Sep 2009 5:46 PM

I was just looking at Xtra Heat's pedigree, which has Spy Song, Dark Star, so cool.

Please, please tell Mr Ellis Thank-you for his wonderful stories!

17 Sep 2009 6:28 PM

Great video-love the history lesson and the wonderful views of the farm. I would appreciate seeing more of these in the future.

17 Sep 2009 10:30 PM

Such wonderful yet bittersweet memories & stories.

Thank you for focusing on this historic farm & allowing Mr. Ellis to share his unforgettable memories & stories.

On another (but in my mind related) story: Hope they do not "chop up" & deliver Overbrook Farm to developers.

18 Sep 2009 9:31 AM

What a wonderful story!  It's so good to see this magnificent farm restored.  Mr. Ellis is a treasure, and we need to realize how few of these true horsemen are left. His wit, wisdom, and love of his horses shines through in this interview.  Great job guys!

18 Sep 2009 11:30 AM
Discriminating Reader

Adam, Adam, Adam. This small piece contains at least 4 grammatical errors. Doesn't anyone proof your work?!? And worse, the biggest error any journalist can possibly make, Ercel Ellis' first named is misspelled throughout the article.

These errors completely undermine the integrity of the once great magazine called The Blood-Horse. Is this the best TBH can do nowadays? How sad...for readers everywhere.

19 Sep 2009 6:20 PM


Excellent post about an excellent day with excellent folk.

Throw out any horse name to Ercel, he'll recite back the name and pedigree - he is one of racing's greatest treasures.

Dixiana/Domino farm is a throwback kind of place...the history hangs thick like an August morning.

20 Sep 2009 8:11 PM

Thank you all for to positive comments and we do plan on trying to do many more of these magazine features that bleed into video and some sort of social media/blog element. It is nice to have a few different angles to experience this industry from.

Discriminating Reader: Thank you for taking time to post and pointing out the two places I misspelled Ercel. I must state I am not a writer here at BH and usually I do have someone edit, however I did not on this post. Blogs are typically opinion pieces and should not necessarily be taken as written features.  Thanks again for your help though!

21 Sep 2009 9:04 AM
Shot Gun

This is a wonerful story. In 1999 I bred my first mare to a Dixiana stud and produced my first Foal as a breeder . The Stud was Little Missouri and today I still own her and have 3 other mares that I breed .I am hoping that someday Dixiana will have another Stallion that I can breed to .

22 Sep 2009 6:02 AM
longtime racing fan

What a wonderful video, and what a treasure Ercel Ellis is!!!! I'm sure there are dozens of other similar "hidden lights" at other farms... the visuals and the historic info are priceless.

Only problem is, it's too short...

Thank you all for a delightful visit to Dixiana and Ercel Ellis.

MORE!!! MORE!! and PLEASE keep them archived so folks a few years on can see them. Economics and people being what they are, some of these wonderful farms will be inevitably swallowed up by tacky (and not so tacky) houses... and the history will be lost. Saw this happen in the San Fernando Valley to the few farms that were there, and I know it's happening in Kentucky too. Maybe presentations like these will help to stave off some of the sharks...  

22 Sep 2009 5:36 PM

longtime racing fan: As long as my blog is here, you can find this video in this post. Hopefully we will continue to have a long list of archived videos.

It is true about history. Have you watched our Nerud piece? I think that has the same value. Grabbing history while we can =)

23 Sep 2009 9:26 AM
longtime racing fan

Well then, Adam, may you long blog!!! And hopefully archive the blog videos with the others?

Yes, I've tried to watch all your historic videos in particular. I do see the HRTV shows as well. This sort of "up close and personal" is something one does not get in the NFL, etc.--- nor is the the long string of continuity in the land, the horses, AND many of the people.

On that note, changing the subject slightly, I could not get the Silky Sullivan video to come up. As a kid I used to watch him run. He was a hoot!

Thanks again.

23 Sep 2009 4:08 PM

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