Upon moving to Lexington years ago, my aim was to be more involved in the Thoroughbred industry, and a recent mention on Horse Racing Radio Network of stallion Olympio having a family connection to standout mare Monomoy Girl, as well as the fact that the horse stood at Payson Stud for a time, piqued my interest.
It has been well-documented how much Monomoy Girl has meant to her connections, who have lauded her as a career-maker in many cases. Subsequently, she has also captivated racing aficionados even prior to her recent comeback after well over a year away from racing. She captivated me, too, prior to Keeneland’s spring meet in her three-year-old year.
I had been fortunate enough to work briefly at the former Payson Stud, now operated by different owners but retaining the farm’s colors in the paint scheme of the barn. Hearing that a horse with ties to Monomoy Girl, she being a horse who could inspire anyone who lives and breathes racing to want to be part of it, as I did when I moved here, felt like serendipity and I was grateful for that chance I’d had to be on a farm with ties that left its mark on racing, with a breeder who was dedicated to the sport. While Olympio was not bred by her, Virginia Kraft Payson sent out a multitude of stakes winners from her operation, raised on the land where I once worked.
I appreciated hearing about Olympio having once called Payson home. Though he was but a small part of that farm’s story, he still had a family that proved one of the most fascinating things about racing is the continuity of its history, and that horses from decades ago will link their heriage with top runners of more recent times, and how much of this history can begin on the land where they once lived. One only has to hear farm managers or owners speak of champions that once romped and grazed in fields along their dams before going on to racing glory to realize the role good land will play in helping nurture good stock.
In challenging times, I further appreciated hearing this tale as a reminder of lucky twists of fate bringing me closer to goals. It is also a beacon to look forward, to more shining moments of racing yet to come and the time when attendance is possible once more. It’s on the horizon, just as a carefully planned cross between Thoroughbreds holds the promise of dreams waiting to unfurl.