Double Trouble: Twin Creeks Farm - by Lenny Shulman

 Twin Creeks Farm has become a double threat. Its racing stable made it to last year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with Louisiana Derby winner (gr. II) Mission Impazible, and over the past few years the Twin Creeks breeding operation has made headlines as breeder of 2009 Darley Alcibiades (gr. I) winner Negligee and co-breeder of 2011 Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) victor To Honor and Serve, who also scored last year in the Nashua and Remsen stakes (both gr. II).

Pretty impressive stuff for Twin Creeks, a 180-acre spread just outside the tiny hamlet of Nonesuch, Ky., in southern Woodford County, 15-20 miles away from powerhouses such as Lane’s End and WinStar farms. In the mostly tobacco-growing and cattle-raising area, Twin Creeks stands out like a jewel, which is what owner Steve Davison and longtime friend and farm manager Randy Gullatt had in mind when they started Twin Creeks in 1992.

Through private and public purchases as well as retiring racemares campaigned by Twin Creeks, the farm currently has a healthy roster of 18 producers, including 12 stakes winners, despite the fact they’ve taken money off the table through the years by selling some of their higher-profile mares. Among the latter group is La Paz, a multiple stakes winner trained by Gullatt who was sold to Summer Wind Farm for $1.6 million. La Paz is the dam of Mission Impazible; Forest Camp, a grade II winner raced by Aaron and Marie Jones; grade III stakes winner Spanish Empire, raced in partnership by Twin Creeks; and stakes winner Kiddari. Twin Creeks also sold Pilfer, the dam of To Honor and Serve, for $650,000 in 2008 at Keeneland’s November mixed sale.

Gullatt said Pilfer, by Deputy Minister, figured to cross well with Bernardini, an A.P. Indy son.

“To Honor and Serve was a long, leggy colt, the kind you would think could run the classic distance,” he said. “We hoped he would develop into what he has turned out to be, which is awesome.”

Despite selling La Paz and Pilfer, Twin Creeks has plenty of firepower left on the farm. Stakes-winning Tamweel has produced Ghost Is Clear, who won this year’s Hansel Stakes as a Twin Creeks homebred. Perfect Six, a multiple stakes winner, is the dam of Buffalo Man, a multiple graded stakes winner by El Prado. Other young broodmares at Twin Creeks are stakes winners May Night, Queen of Hearts, Miss Catalyst, Funny Feeling, Arabis, Unspoken Word, Wild Promises, Littlebitabling, Midst, and Silence Dogood.

“When we set up the farm, our goal was to get a good group of mares we felt comfortable with to start a racing and breeding program,” said Gullatt. “Basically we breed everything to sell (Taylor Made Sales Agency handles most of the consignments), and the ones we like that don’t bring the money we think they should, we race. If we don’t feel good about a mare, they’re not in our breeding program. They’re either stakes horses or ones we felt good about that got injured.”

The farm is not shy about breeding its mares to top stallions. They have gone to Tapit, Bernardini, Malibu Moon, Indian Charlie, Giant’s Causeway, and Unbridled’s Song.

“We pick what we feel is best for the mare,” said Gullatt. “Just because you breed to those kinds of stallions doesn’t mean you’re always going to get a good horse. We feel like we have to take a shot and hope it turns out.”

One that has definitely turned out is Mission Impazible, a 4-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song. Like most other Twin Creek racers, he is owned by a partnership whose members buy into a group of horses. After running ninth of 20 in the Kentucky Derby, Mission Impazible was shelved until this year, and the rest did him good as he won the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) in March, then missed annexing the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) by a neck, finishing second. After a pair of even but unplaced runs in the Whitney and Woodward (both gr. I) at Saratoga this summer, he is being pointed to the Fayette Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland Oct. 29 and the Clark Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.

“He’s danced the big dances, and we really want to give him a shot at winning a grade I,” Gullatt noted. “We hope to syndicate him and stand him at stud. He won at 2 in April, won a Derby prep, and has come back to be a good handicap horse. That’s a pretty good résumé. And, knock on wood, he’s very sound. So we’d love to win a race at Keeneland in front of the breeders and then the Clark. That would be a good career.”


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