Dixiana Farm

Letter To The Editor: Ercel Ellis and The Decision That Altered My Life

For me personally, what a weird coincidence that earlier this week, TDN published a wonderful essay by its columnist Chris McGrath, who spent time with three of the industry's "elder statesman," among them Ercel Ellis. For it was Ellis who, 40 years ago this coming week, made a decision that altered the course of my life. McGrath obviously had a wonderful time at Lil's Coffee House in Paris, Ky., listening to the yarns spun by Ellis, now 92, renowned veterinarian Bob Copelan (97), and the youngster of the trio, Stone...

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Lunching With Legends at Lil's

He's such a fixture here, he's even on the sandwich menu. Here you go: the Copelan, grilled cheddar and onion on pumpernickel. True, that only makes Dr. Robert Copelan an institution within an institution. Lunch at Lil's Coffee House on Main Street is a ritual cherished by many other horse folk in the neighborhood of Paris, Kentucky. But it's certainly a joy, for all of them, to see the great veterinarian seated alongside veteran radio host Ercel Ellis Jr., at their usual table in the corner, exchanging wit and wisdom...

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Mating Plans, presented by Spendthrift: Dixiana Farms

The TDN's popular annual series 'Mating Plans, presented by Spendthrift,' continues today in a conversation with Robert Tillyer, farm manager of William and Donna Shively's Dixiana Farm. AMERICA'S TALE (9, Gio Ponti - America's Friend, by Unusual Heat) to be bred to Taiba She's in foal to Jackie's Warrior and she's a Grade II winner. We thought Taiba was good value. He's a very attractive son of Gun Runner that won three Grade I races. DIAMOND WOW (5, Lookin At Lucky - Patriotic Diamond, by Hat Trick {Jpn}) to be...

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Machado, Cox Take Turfway Titles

Jockey Luan Machado, trainer Brad Cox and owner Dixiana Farms were leaders in their respective divisions at Turfway Park's 20-day Holiday Meet which concluded Saturday night. Machado had 21 wins from 98 mounts (21%) to earn his third leading rider title at Florence, Kentucky oval. His previous titles came at the 2019 Winter/Spring Meet and 2018 Holiday Meet. Machado was followed in the standings by apprentice rider Axel Concepcion who had 19 wins. The Holiday Meet was Cox's second leading trainer title at Turfway. His barn, which is represented locally...

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2023 Mating Plans, Presented by Spendthrift: Dixiana Farm

As we approach the opening of the 2023 breeding season, the TDN staff is once again sitting down with leading breeders to find out what stallions they have chosen for their mares, and why. Today we caught up with Robert Tillyer, farm manager of William and Donna Shively's Dixiana Farm. HAVANA DREAM (m, 10, Quality Road - Mayo On the Side, by French Deputy) to be bred to Constitution This stakes-placed mare is carrying her third foal by Yaupon. She is from the family of MGSW Midcourt (Midnight Lute) and...

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Classy Mares Not the Only Producers at Dixiana

While some pretty resonant horses have grazed this land, right back to Domino himself, few have played a more significant role in its story than a 25-year-old gelding retired here with a single Grade III success to his credit. But if the first horse to lure William Shively onto the Turf can be thanked for doing so with a somewhat flattering sample of the dividends available--he won eight of 30 starts and close to $500,000--then nor should anyone be misled about the kind of odds that typically stimulate his owner....

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Empire Strikes Back with Morello

If the early trials have produced a Derby horse to "rise without trace," then that might well turn out to be Morello (Classic Empire). As winner of two sprints round Aqueduct this winter, he obviously still has a long way to go--in every sense. But there's no mistaking his raw talent, nor the fact that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg even in that very stylish exhibition in the Jimmy Winkfield S. Certainly Morello looks eligible to restore some deserved attention to his sire. Though they're all...

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Mating Plans: Dixiana Farm

In this edition of our ongoing mating plans series, we spoke with Robert Tillyer, farm manager of Dixiana Farm. "Right now we have about 50 broodmares at Dixiana Farm," Tillyer said. "This year we are going to have around 38 foals. We usually put over 30 yearlings through the sale each year and then Mr. Shively is always happy to retain a few for his own racing stable."   BRIELLE'S APPEAL (m, 8, English Channel - Court of Appeal, by Deputy Minister) to be bred to Gun Runner This year...

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Dixiana-Breds Hit the Right Notes for Ingordo

The silks of Lee and Susan Searing's CRK Stable have been a formidable presence in California in recent years thanks in large part to MGSWs Express Train (Union Rags) and Midcourt (Midnight Lute). Both stable stars have excelled in their division for trainer John Shirreffs with Midcourt taking last year's GII San Pasqual S. and Express Train claiming winning honors in the same race this year before also adding the GII San Diego H. to his growing resume. While separated by two years in age, the stablemates also share the...

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Dixiana to Sponsor QE II Challenge Cup at Keeneland

William and Donna Shively's Dixiana Farm is the new sponsor for the $500,000 GI Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, one of this country's most prestigious races for 3-year-old turf fillies. The QE II Challenge Cup Presented by Dixiana will be held on the second Saturday of Keeneland's fall meet Oct. 10. "Keeneland is pleased that Dixiana has become the sponsor of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup," Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. "Dixiana has been a valued corporate partner through its sponsorship of other stakes at Keeneland, and...

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Body & Soul: Making America Grand Again

Historians are most likely to agree that the 1850s were probably the true beginning of the immigration era in the United States. Not only was this the decade in which the Irish made their first forays to this these shores due to the potato famine, but also the Germans began to flock here to be followed by the Italians, Polish, Greeks, Hungarians-representing the Catholic, Protestant and Jewish religions. This went on to the 1920s when assimilation took hold and the modern American character was developed. Why bring this up? Well,...

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Thoroughbred Safety Coalition Steering Committee Meets in Florida

The steering committee of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition met in Florida and reports progress in developing a framework for the implementation of reforms while approving four new members and adding a familiar face within the industry in a leadership role. With the objective of furthering and continuing to add to the reform initiatives announced late last year, the coalition Steering Committee has begun outlining a formal process to evaluate and institute future reforms in the areas of medication, transparency, track surfaces and racing operations. Members are currently meeting with stakeholders...

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