If It Takes a Lifetime - by Evan Hammonds

Those who say they’re retiring from Thoroughbreds are kidding themselves. The latest example of that came over the last few days with the news of the re-sale of Wimborne Farm near Paris, Ky., and its former owner, Diane Perkins, winning the Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) July 9 in Chicago with her homebred Kasaqui.

Perkins was enjoying herself the day following the big win at Arlington, driving to Kentucky with trainer Ignacio Correas IV. And why not? The 1 1⁄4-length win gave the 6-year-old Argentine-bred son of Lasting Approval and his connections a berth in the Aug. 13 Arlington Million XXXIV (gr. IT).

Three years after the death of her husband, Peter Perkins, in 1996, Diane Perkins retired from training. She later set about to disperse her stock and farm and move to Argentina. The horses, which included blue hen La Gueriere, sold for $3,268,700 in July 2002 under a tent at the farm in a sale conducted by Bruce Hundley’s Saxony Farm.

Perkins’ farm, Wimborne Farm in Bourbon County, was also sold at auction in 2002, selling through Tom Biederman in three tracts for $1,167,566 to three separate bidders.

Retired; dispersal; auction of property. In any other walk of life, you’re off to the Shadybrook Rest Home. Not in the Thoroughbred business. The passion runs too deep.

The property had been consolidated by Dr. George Veloudis and was put back on the market. According to Zach Davis of Kirkpatrick and Co., who represented the seller, it was on the market for less than 30 days.

“I was jumping up and down with pride that it brought $7,924 an acre,” Davis said. “The farm has tremendous potential. I tell people from out of town when they come to look at properties…look at your neighbors. Wimborne’s neighbors are Claiborne Farm, Siena Farm, Darley Stonerside, and Stone Farm…what else do you need to know?”

“I went to look at it the other day,” Perkins said. “We put a lot of love and care and kindness into that place.”

Of course, back in 2002, Perkins was unable to part with all of her stock and bought back a couple of horses that she took to Argentina. One of them was Kemosheba, the dam of Kasaqui.

“I bought her off of Johnny Jones (at the 1999 Keeneland January sale). She has a beautiful pedigree; she goes back to an old Widener family, so I was delighted to have her,” Perkins said.

Kasaqui won an allowance race at Keeneland and ran second in the Wise Dan Stakes (gr. IIT) prior to the Arlington Handicap. The Million is a race Perkins said she’s dreamed about running in.

“We hoped to do it with Lord At War, but he had a little setback,” she said. “I love Arlington; it’s beautiful; the people are so nice; it’s really great.”

Lord At War, bred in Argentina by the Perkins’ Hara San Francisco de Pilar, came to the U.S. in 1984, winning the 1985 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) and four other graded stakes with trainer Charlie Whittingham. He didn’t make the Million but went on to a solid stud career at Wimborne Farm, siring 47 stakes winners, including La Gueriere, the dam of Lasting Approval.

Perkins has enjoyed the run with Correas, the son of one of her best friends. The younger Correas is off and running as a private trainer after working for several years with Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Racing.

“We’ll keep our fingers crossed that he can take us to the next step,” Correas said. “I suppose the competition will be tougher, but we’ll take a shot. It’s a million.”

Perkins was a pretty good trainer in her own right. She won 56 of 364 races and saddled Lasting Approval to a pair of graded stakes wins. One of those wins came in the 1998 Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland with Robby Albarado aboard. Albarado was up in the Arlington Handicap.

“We rode Robby Albarado 18 years ago,” she said. “Everything came around for us.”

Retirement? Perkins will catch that the next time around.

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