Our History

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.

Renaming the farm Darby Dan, Galbreath’s results were profound. In 1961, Galbreath imported the undefeated (16-for-16) European superstar Ribot. 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 and Proud Clarion’s victories in the Kentucky Derby. In 1972, Darby Dan’s homebred Roberto won the English Derby at the famous Epsom Racecourse, making Galbreath the first person—and still one of only four—to win both the original Derby and the Kentucky Derby. 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.

Galbreath’s grandson, John Phillips, remains committed to this heritage. Since the end of the 80s, Darby Dan has been represented by the likes of Sunshine Forever, Brian’s Time, Grass Wonder, Tribulation, Wonder Again, Plenty Of Grace, Soaring Softly, Memories Of Silver, and Winter Memories. Further solidifying Darby Dan’s reputation of producing world-class performers, one of Soaring Softly’s final foals, Manitoulin, won the 2017 Hollywood Turf Cup in the historic Darby Dan silks.

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.

The 21st century has also brought the rebirth of a thriving stallion operation with stallions representing some of the most regal bloodlines, including A.P. Indy, Storm Cat, Sadler’s Wells, Unbridled, Northern Dancer, and Mr. Prospector. Darby Dan-bred Colonel Liam put together a strong campaign with three Grade 1 victories, including back-to-back scores in the Pegasus World Cup Turf at Gulfstream Park in 2021-22. The current stallion roster features proven stallions and promising young stallions, including: Dialed In, who has continued to be a proven value sire with his son Defunded winning a Grade 1 for the second year in a row, capturing the 2023 Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita. Flameaway ignited excitement to the Darby Dan operation when he became the leading freshman sire in black-type winners in 2023. His four black-type winners included Dreamfyre, who won a graded stakes race on dirt and turf. The roster also includes Grade 1-winner Higher Power and Grade 1 Kentucky Derby winner Country House, both of whom will have their first runners in 2024.

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.