Jump to: navigation, search

Woodburn Stud

1885 Woodburn Farm sales catalogue

Woodburn Stud was an American horse breeding farm located in Woodford County, Kentucky about ten miles (16 km) from the city of Lexington. It was established in the 1700s as an original land grant property of General Hugh Mercer to whom it had been granted for his military services during the Revolutionary War. Robert Alexander (1767-1841), a Scottish immigrant, came to Virginia from Scotland in 1786. Around 1790 he purchased the Mercer estate in Kentucky. Under the guidance of his son, Robert A. Alexander, during the 19th century, Woodburn Stud became the birthplace of Kentucky's Thoroughbred industry.

Robert A. Alexander was the first to establish a systematic design method for horse breeding. Woodburn Stud was home to the stallion Lexington (1850-1875), America's leading sire for sixteen years. Lexington sired numerous champions and winners of major races including Foxhall, Duke of Magenta, Kentucky and Preakness, for whom the Preakness Stakes is named. Woodburn breeding yielded 18 winners of U.S. Triple Crown race winners.

Some of the notable Thoroughbreds buried at Woodburn farm include Asteroid (1861-1886), Planet (c. 1855-1875), and Australian (1858-1879), a son of the English Triple Crown winner, West Australian

Although Lexington's success as a sire made Woodburn Stud near synonymous with flat racing Thoroughbreds, in fact during the mid to late 1800s, Woodburn was where the Standardbred horse originated and the farm was best known for these trotting horses for harness racing.

After the death of Robert A. Alexander in 1867, the operation prospered under his brother A. J. Alexander (b. 1824) but after his death it went into decline. By the beginning of the 1900s the farm was no longer in the horse business and had been converted to cattle land.

In 1867, A. J. Alexander bred Preakness who would be purchased by Milton H. Sanford and for whom the Preakness Stakes is named. The American Classic Race winners bred by the Alexanders' Woodburn Stud are:

    • Shirley (1876)
    • Harry Bassett (1871)
    • Joe Daniels (1872)
    • Springbok (1873)
    • Grenada (1880)
    • Burlington (1890)
    • Patron (1892)

Airdrie Stud

Today the Woodburn name is long gone but the horse breeding business was revived in 1972 as Airdrie Stud which now operates on 2,500 acres (10 km2), much of which is part of the original Woodburn Stud lands. Airdrie Stud is owned by former Kentucky Governor Brereton Jones and his wife Libby. Mrs. Jones is a descendant of the Alexander family. In 2000, the Airdrie-bred filly Caressing won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.



Premier Equine Classifieds


Subscribe to our newsletter and keep abreast of the latest news, articles and information delivered directly to your inbox.

Did You Know?

Modern horse breeds developed in response to a need for "form to function", the necessity to develop certain physical characteristics in order to perform a certain type of work... More...

The Gypsy Cob was originally bred to be a wagon horse and pulled wagons or caravans known as Vardos; a type of covered wagon that people lived in... More...

Archaeological evidence indicates that the Arabian horse bloodline dates back 4,500 years. Throughout history, Arabian horses spread around the world by both war and trade.... More...

That the term "Sporthorse" is a term used to describe a type of horse rather than any particular breed... More...