Stonerside Farm

Of Sheikh Mohammed’s six farms in Central Kentucky, the most recent acquisition is the beautiful Stonerside Farm in Bourbon County.
Stonerside Farm

Sheikh Mohammed purchased the beautiful Stonerside Farm in October 2008 from Robert and Janice McNair of Houston, Texas.  The 2,000 acre farm near Paris, Kentucky, has several miles of frontage along Stoner Creek, which provided the inspiration for the property name.

The heart of the Stonerside property is a fifty-acre plot on the banks of Stoner Creek which was acquired by James Kenney in 1785 as a trade for services to Michael Stoner, for whom the creek is named.  A soldier in the American Revolutionary War, Kenney built a two-story home on the property around 1800.  Members of the Kenney family resided in the house for the next century; it was standing empty at the time of the McNairs’ purchase of the property in 1994, at which time the Creek House, as it was called, underwent major restoration. James Kenney and many of his descendants are buried in the Kenney family cemetery on the Stonerside property.

Over the years, the property was expanded, and then later divided again into various smaller farms.  In the early 1980s, William duPont III purchased a number of small farms which he amalgamated into what is today the core of the Stonerside property, including the Creek House. DuPont, owner of Pillar Stud and a member of one of America’s most prominent families, planned to move his operations to Lexington, but financial difficulties forced him to sell the property before he was able to move any horses on to it. Having just sold Kentucky Derby winner Sunday Silence to Japanese breeders for a reported $11 million, Arthur B. Hancock III made an offer to duPont for all of the property.  Hancock operated the farm as a satellite division of his nearby Stone Farm for several years, until selling it to the McNairs in the fall of 1994.

After purchasing the farm, the McNairs added an additional 300 acres on the east side of the property, and another 500 acres across Stoner Creek in early 2008.  Among the many renovation and construction projects, the McNairs commissioned the construction of a covered bridge over Stoner Creek to connect two sections of the farm.  A triple span bridge made of 200 ft. long timber trusses, it is believed to be the first covered bridge built in Kentucky in 120 years.  It was dedicated on Kentucky Derby Day, 1999.  In addition to restoring the Creek House, the McNairs also renovated the Ben Bolt house on North Middletown Road and constructed a large manager’s home and a three-story office, which was floored with wood planed from a tree found fallen on the property.

Covered bridge over Stoner Creek

In February 1997, the McNairs purchased the entire broodmare band of historic Elmendorf Farm.  Included among the 35 broodmares were Halory (dam of $6.4-million yearling and graded stakes winner Van Nistelrooy), Mari’s Sheba (dam of G1 winner and $3.2-million earner Congaree), and Zigember (dam of G1 winner The Cliff’s Edge).  Among the horses bred and raised at Stonerside by the McNairs were American champion Midshipman, Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Raven’s Pass, and Grade 1 winners including Congaree and Country Star.  Their champion filly Chilukki is buried on the property, as is the top broodmare Halory, dam of five graded winners.  In the final Stonerside-bred crop, foaled in 2008, were future Grade or Group 1 winners White Moonstone, It’s Tricky, and Don’t Tell Sophia.


2008 Eclipse Champion 2YO MIDSHIPMAN as a weanling

In addition to the 2,000 acre farm in Bourbon Country, Sheikh Mohammed’s acquisition of Stonerside included all of the breeding and racing stock.  The purchase was finalized in early October 2008, and just a few weeks later, Stonerside-breds Midshipman and Raven’s Pass both won at the 2008 Breeders’ Cup for their new owner.  In the years since, Stonerside has produced a number of additional G1 winners for Godolphin, including White Moonstone, It’s Tricky, Better Lucky, Wedding Toast, and Frosted.

Godolphin’s G1 winner FROSTED as a yearling at Stonerside

Since the acquisition, Sheikh Mohammed has continued with improvements to the property, chiefly on the 500 acres across Stoner Creek.  Following in the traditional style of the Kentucky tobacco barns, several of which were already in use on the property, the new barns were built in the same fashion with all the modern amenities.  Further housing for staff was also added, and the woodlands restoration and decorative landscaping started by Stonerside has continued under Godolphin with a program of tree planting, with much of the stock coming from the farm’s own nursery.

Today Stonerside serves as a mare, foal, and yearling division for Godolphin, with Bobby Spalding continuing as the farm manager.  Among the G1-winning mares currently residing at Stonerside are Better Lucky, It’s Tricky, Hystericalady, Seventh Street, Wedding Toast, Tout Charmant, Malibu Mint, Country Star, Sutra, and Rings a Chime.  Stonerside is also home to several retired mares including Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Ajina and Raven’s Pass’s dam Ascutney.

One of the “tobacco style” barns at Stonerside