darleyDarley at Jonabell Farm is Thoroughbred royalty in every sense of the word. Jonabell’s history dates back to 1946 when it was started by noted horse breeder John A. Bell III. During his tenure, the farm was home to several important stallions, most notably 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed.

In 2001 Bell sold the farm to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai, who oversees a global breeding operation in six countries. Jonabell serves as the sheikh’s stallion operation; among the 15 stallions standing at stud on the farm are the 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense and his rival Hard Spun, Bernardini, and top American stallions Medaglia d'Oro (Rachel Alexandra's daddy) and Street Cry (Zenyatta's sire). Darley has the distinction of being the only farm with the sires of four Kentucky Derby winners standing at stud at the same time.

Darley at Jonabell also has a well-known neighbor on Bowman Mill Road in Mill Ridge Farm, the birthplace of Nicanor and Lentenor, full brothers to the late 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro.

Another Lexington Thoroughbred nursery with Middle Eastern influence is Juddmonte Farm. Owner Prince Khalid Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, has been winning important stakes races from Southern California to New York as well as most of the major European races. He has set about creating a racing and breeding empire, with farms in England and Ireland, as well as the 2,500-acre Lexington property; and from an initial crop of just four yearlings, he has developed one of the world’s most successful Thoroughbred empires. Juddmonte’s four Eclipse Awards for outstanding breeder are second only to Adena Springs’ six.

3082 Walnut Hill Rd., Lexington. (859) 272-7629. www.juddmonte.com 

studsdarley13333 Bowman Mill Rd., Lexington. (859) 255-8537. www.darleyamerica.comAnne M. Eberhardt photos.