Nora Figliolia has a problem. She can’t bring herself to watch races in which horses bred by her and her husband, Al, run. And so increasingly, she’s missing some of the better events on the sport’s calendar, such as last year’s Kentucky
Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Belmont Stakes (both gr. I).
As relatively new and small breeders under their Westbury Stables banner, the Figliolias probably didn’t figure they’d find themselves in this sort of quandary. But in quick succession, runners like Denis of Cork, Awesome Chic, Deep Dish Pie, and Just for Keeps have aced stakes contests in the past two years, causing Nora to find new and creative ways to keep occupied while hooves are flying.
“When Awesome Chic ran for the first time, she won by 17 1-2 lengths,” she said. “I was in the kitchen cooking, and we had a bunch of people over and everybody was screaming for me to come watch the race. For Denis of Cork in the Kentucky Derby,I had my head stuck in a friend’s shoulder. The Belmont? I wasn’t watching there, either.”
Nora missed Denis of Cork’s third-place effort in the Derby and runner-up finish in the Belmont, but that’s about all the Figliolias have missed out on since beginning to develop their Westbury Stables operation and farm near Reddick, Fla., just six years ago.
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