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Darby Dan History


Darby Dan represents the history of Thoroughbred breeding and racing in America like few other farms.

For a century its white-fenced rolling pastures have blended great horses and colorful characters into lasting legends of the Bluegrass.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the legendary Colonel E. R. Bradley developed a top-rate equine facility and assembled breeding stock from the finest Thoroughbreds in the world at his farm he named Idle Hour. Bradley’s efforts produced four Kentucky Derby winners: BEHAVE YOURSELF, BUBBLING OVER, BURGOO KING and BROKERS TIP. After Colonel Bradley’s death, John W. Galbreath purchased the core property of Idle Hour.

Re-naming the farm Darby Dan, Galbreath’s results were profound. In 1961, Galbreath imported the undefeated (16 for 16) European superstar RIBOT from Europe. That effort paid large returns when Ribot’s sons GRAUSTARK and HIS MAJESTY proved very successful in the decades that followed. He also engineered the lease of the great European horse SEA-BIRD, as well as the acquisition of Kentucky Derby hero SWAPS, and Horse of the Year SWORD DANCER.

In 1963 and 1967 Darby Dan added to the farm’s classic heritage, with CHATEAUGAY’s and PROUD CLARION’s victories in the Kentucky Derby. In 1972 Darby Dan’s homebred ROBERTO bested favored Rheingold in the English Derby at the famous Epsom course. Then in 1985 Darby Dan’s PROUD TRUTH won the Breeders’ Cup Classic, making Darby Dan the only farm in history to accomplish this most coveted trinity of races.

Leaving behind not only a beautiful farm and superior bloodstock, Galbreath’s grandson, John Phillips, remains committed to this heritage. The late 80's saw two top Grade I winners in Champion, SUNSHINE FOREVER, and Florida Derby winner and subsequent leading Japanese sire, BRIAN'S TIME. The 1990's added an impressive list of Grade I winners including, Japanese two year old Champion GRASS WONDER , TRIBULATION, PLENTY OF GRACE, MEMORIES OF SILVER and 1999 Champion Turf Mare SOARING SOFTLY. IN 2004, Darby Dan was represented by Grade I winning turf mare WONDER AGAIN and recently by the popular multiple Grade I winner WINTER MEMORIES furthering Darby Dan's reputation of producing world class performers.

Since the days of Colonel Bradley, horse racing and breeding has changed considerably. Similarly, Darby Dan has made the transition from private facility to a commercial one, offering a full array of services. At Darby Dan there are over 150 mares owned by thoroughbred enthusiasts from all over the world.

Darby Dan's transition from private to commercial facility has also seen the rebirth of a thriving stallion operation in the 21st century, with stallions representing some of the most regal bloodlines including A. P. Indy, Danzig, Storm Cat, Sadler's Wells, Tiznow and Mr. Prospector.

Rooted in a distinguished private history and now flourishing in the commercial present, Darby Dan is a special farm committed to its motto: Devoted to the horse. Dedicated to our clients.