It is already home to the world's leading stallion. Now, the preeminent stud farm in North America can boast of having the nation's most dominant racehorse on its illustrious roster.
Speculation surrounding the post-race career of reigning Horse of the Year Curlin ended Friday when it was announced the son of Smart Strike would enter stud at Lane's End Farm next season for an advertised fee of $75,000.
The addition of Curlin further strengthens what already is regarded as one of the best stallion rosters in the world. Along with A.P. Indy, the world's most expensive stallion with a fee of $300,000, Lane's End stands Curlin's sire Smart Strike for $150,000 and Kingmambo for $250,000.
The $75,000 fee is the highest so far for a first-time stallion, besting dual classic winner Big Brown and four-time Group I winner Henrythenavigator, who will each stand for $65,000 at Three Chimneys Farm and Ashford Stud, respectively.
"It certainly is exciting," said William S. Farish, owner of Lane's End. "Curlin is Smart Strike's leading son, but aside from that he is just an exceptional racehorse. He's remarkably sound, he could have run another season without any problems, and he's very intelligent with a great attitude.
"I think his fee would have been considerably higher (a year ago) based on all of his attributes, but the economy is what it is now, and I think this is a conservative place to start."
Wine mogul Jess Jackson, majority owner of Curlin, announced last Saturday night that he was retiring his champion colt for the 2009 season. But he left the door open that North America's all-time leading money earner could race one more time this year.
Although Farish did not have a timetable of when Curlin would arrive, it appears unlikely a final race is on tap for the seven-time Grade I winner.
Curlin has been going to the track in the mornings at Churchill Downs. But he hasn't had a publicized workout since his fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic Oct. 25.
"Curlin made his mark in the history books in so many ways: as a classic winner, as a colt who traveled to Dubai and captured the World Cup, and who returned to take three more Grade I races and tally record earnings," trainer Steve Asmussen said in a statement. "His physical and mental attitude is unparalleled and he retires perfectly sound."
Farish said Curlin isn't being syndicated and would stand on behalf of his owners.
While Jackson owns 80 percent of Curlin, the remaining 20 percent is held by William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham, the disbarred Kentucky lawyers accused of bilking clients out of $200 million.
Jackson has made an offer on the remaining 20 percent, but whether that bid is successful won't be known until a hearing on Dec. 1.
Farish said he doesn't expect that as-yet-unresolved issue to hinder Curlin's first year at stud.
"I don't think there is any concern relative to his stud career," Farish said. "It is a totally different thing, but there is nothing hampering his ability to go to stud and be bred."
Although many breeders already have started lining up matings for the 2009 season, Farish believes there are plenty of top broodmares still available to give Curlin a solid first book.
"Obviously a lot of mares have been booked, but there are plenty that haven't because some people have been holding back due to the economy," said Farish, who added Lane's End would support Curlin with some of its own mares. "We've already begun to hear from some of our clients with regards to him."
Out of the Deputy Minister mare Sherriff's Deputy, Curlin made the amazing ascent from maiden winner to Horse of the Year in nine months last season, winning the Preakness Stakes, the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic to cement his championship campaign.
This season, the 4-year-old colt earned four more Grade I triumphs, including the $6 million Dubai World Cup, en route to setting the all-time earnings mark with a career bankroll of $10,501,800.
Curlin amassed 11 wins from 16 career starts. His lone off-the-board finish came when he ran fourth in this year's Breeders' Cup Classic.
"After a stellar racing career, Curlin is now in a position to carry on his iron horse bloodlines at Lane's End," Jackson said in a statement. "He is one of the best examples of the breed — fast, strong and durable.
"I predict he will make a substantial contribution to our sport through his gene pool, and I am looking forward to seeing his foals compete and possibly exceed his unequaled race record."