John Williams

Spendthrift's Buster Gordon Passes Away; GoFundMe Established for Family

Walter "Buster" Gordon, the longtime head stallion groom at the `old' Spendthrift Farm formerly owned by the Combs family, passed away Oct. 25 after a long illness. A Gofundme page has been established for his family, and is accessible by clicking here. "Buster never met a stranger and all of us loved him during his many years as head stallion groom at Spendthrift Farm," reads his Gofundme page, set up by Gregory Clarke. "In addition to being a brilliant horseman, he could throw a mean snowball. :) He's a permanent...

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Different Hats Keep McDonald Ever Hopeful

Perhaps it is called the Hopeful Stakes because that's the most anyone can ever be with a Thoroughbred. But if nearly any purchaser at Keeneland over the next couple of weeks would like to be contesting that race, a year from now, then one consignor might give them not just hope but something closer to confidence. Okay, so a trifecta for Eaton Sales graduates in the Saratoga Grade I last year featured only the winner, Forte (Violence), from the 2021 Keeneland September Sale. Runner-up Gulfport (Uncle Mo) and third Blazing...

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$400,000 Lemieux Provides Icing on Steady Fasig-Tipton Winter Sale

LEXINGTON, KY-The Fasig-Tipton Winter Mixed Sale went through its supplemental catalogue and into its addendum to finally find its top-priced offering when Lemieux (Nyquist) sold to Nice Guys Stable for $400,000 just hips before the auction concluded its two-day run Tuesday in Lexington with steady results. "We saw a continuation of the marketplace that we experienced yesterday and that we saw in January and we saw in November, October, September and July," Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning, Jr. said at the sale's close Tuesday. "I think it's a very fair marketplace....

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Jackie's Warrior is the Gift That Keeps on Giving for His Breeders

John and Jennie Williams' J & J Stables sold Jackie's Warrior (Maclean's Music) for just $95,000 at Keeneland September. While that price proved to be the bargain of a lifetime for buyer Kirk Robison, the speedy colt has been the gift that keeps on giving for his breeders. The Williamses hope that continues as Jackie's Warrior enters the GI Breeders' Cup Sprint Saturday as the morning-line favorite and his 2-year-old half-sister Lenni Girl (Candy Ride {Arg}) sells during Book 1 of Keeneland November Wednesday. The Williamses acquired Jackie's Warrior's dam...

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Consignor Herbener Jr. Passes Away Suddenly

Well-respected consignor Jim Herbener, Jr. died Sunday morning of an apparent heart attack. Herbener, who was in the midst of selling horses at the Keeneland September sale, died at his home in Georgetown, Kentucky. He was 69. His death was confirmed by his long-time friend, John Williams. Herbener was the consignor of seven yearlings in the sale, including an Arrogate filly who sold Sunday for $80,000. Williams said that he and Herbener's daughter Heather, will team up to sell the remainder of the Herbener horses left in the sale. "He...

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Keeneland Life's Work Project No. 7: John Williams

Nobody, we keep telling ourselves, remembers a time quite like this. And that's true even of John Williams, who has seen just about everything in our business. But he did once experience something pretty similar--worse, if anything, strictly in terms of the springtime routines of a stallion farm. That was when Caro imported a wildly contagious venereal disease from France to Spendthrift, and the Department of Agriculture wanted to put a chain on the gate. Williams imagined that he'd already fulfilled his most stressful task, in boarding a plane to...

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