By Katie Petrunyak
Owner and breeder Gary Broad purchased Walmac Farm in 2018. With 250 acres sprawling along Paris Pike, the historic property has gone through a major restoration project since it was obtained by its new owner. Fences were mended, barns were remodeled and given a fresh coat of paint, and this year, a new stallion arrived at the farm.
Multiple graded stakes winner Core Beliefs (Quality Road – Tejati, by Tactical Advantage) has taken up residence at the farm that was once home to, among others, notable sires Nureyev, Miswaki, Alleged, Successful Appeal and Songandaprayer.
Out of a winning mare from the family of champion Hasten to Add (Cozzene) and GISW See How She Runs (Maria's Mon), Core Beliefs is one of just a handful of stallions by Quality Road in Kentucky. After Quality Road's son City of Light enjoyed an extraordinary year with his first crop of yearlings in 2021, the team at Walmac was encouraged to launch Core Beliefs' stud career.
“The main reason that we decided to stand Core Beliefs this year was because of the success of Quality Road and City of Light,” explained farm manager Dawn Carr. “All of their progeny seem to be doing so well and are well-accepted at the sales, so we felt like Core Beliefs would have a shot as another son of Quality Road and with the physical he has. If someone sees his physical, that is what's selling him. He's gorgeous.”
Broad purchased Core Beliefs at the 2017 Barretts March 2-Year-Old Sale at Del Mar, where advisor Scott Hansen was on hand for the juvenile colt's :10 work.
“The track was very demanding that day,” Hansen recalled. “There weren't a lot of horses that went :10 flat, and the thing about Core Beliefs was not only did he go :10 flat but his gallop out was really good. It was one of the best of the morning.”
Broad opted to give his $350,000 purchase a rest after the sale instead of sending him straight to the racetrack. The colt went through his early training with Hansen at San Luis Rey Training Center before transferring to Peter Eurton.
“Gary likes to give them a little bit of a break after the sale, so were really patient with him and gave him a month off at the farm before we started legging him up,” Hansen explained. “Our riders were really high on him from the beginning. He showed a lot of class and speed with the few works that we did with him.”
Core Beliefs placed in his first two starts as a 3-year-old, but broke his maiden by over three lengths when asked to stretch out to a mile and a sixteenth. The win was so impressive that from there, he made the jump to the GI Santa Anita Derby and finished a respectable third.
“We knew he could run long, and that's always a big plus with an early 3-year-old, so we threw him into the Santa Anita Derby against Bolt d'Oro and Justify,” said Hansen.”He tried very hard. He was coming off a maiden win going to the top of the bunch. We battled Instilled Regard (Arch), who turned out to be a pretty good horse, for third.”
After the Grade I placing, the bay ran second in the GIII Peter Pan S. and then claimed the GIII Ohio Derby.
“What was really impressive about him that day is he got a really wide trip,” Hansen remembered. “All the way around the track he was four or five wide, but he still had enough to finish and just get up to beat Lone Sailor (Majestic Warrior).”
Core Beliefs won the GII New Orleans H. in his 4-year-old debut and went on to race through his 6-year-old season. He retired as his owner's leading earner with just short of $1 million in earnings.
“He showed a lot of speed and stamina and he never took a bad step,” Hansen noted. “He was a champ with everything we did with him.”
Core Beliefs has been busy throughout his first weeks of stud duty, with mares coming in from both outside breeders and from Broad's own broodmare band.
“Gary purchased several mares at the sale and we've also purchased mares privately for him,” Carr said. “A couple of the mares at the sale were blacktype and then Gary already had one Galileo mare that we're going to breed to him this year. We want to give him every opportunity as a stallion.”
As for the outside breeders, Carr said that people have only needed to see Core Beliefs in person before they inquire about breeding details for the stallion, who stands for $7,500 in his first year at stud.
“A lot of breeders have said they can't afford Quality Road and City of Light, but they heard about Core Beliefs and wanted to see him. They'll look at him and say he's gorgeous and that they didn't expect him to be that big. He is a nice size; he's a little over 16'2. He's very correct, too. We've had several people who have said he looks a lot like Quality Road and we've even had a couple say he looks more like Elusive Quality.”
Breeders who have come to visit Core Beliefs have also remarked on the many changes that have taken place at Walmac since Broad began resurrecting the farm.
“Gary has done a lot of work on the farm,” Carr said. “He has remodeled every barn and all of the tenant houses. He has taken really good care of it and he's trying to bring it back to what it was before or better.”
Core Beliefs resides in the barn that was once the home and breeding facility of leading sire Nureyev. Upon purchasing Walmac, Broad remodeled the building into his own stallion complex with the goal of adding more sires to Walmac's roster in the coming years.
“We took the arena apart and put in six stallion stalls, which we are hoping to fill,” Carr explained. “We still have Nureyev's stall that we could split so that we could have up to eight, but we'll see what happens. It's very exciting for [Broad]. He had previously mainly been on the racing side of it, but now he's enjoying this–seeing the new foals and seeing Core Beliefs' success.”
Fellow farm manager Manuel Hernandez began working at Walmac Farm in 1995. He has been present throughout the past decades as the farm has changed ownership and he is now looking forward to the future for both Walmac Farm and its new stallion.
“I have been around horses for many years and Core Beliefs has everything,” Hernandez said. “He has good bone, a good body and good balance. I am very happy to have this job working with the right people over here. We work like a family. The farm has changed a lot because we are trying to have everything look if not the best, then close to the best, and now the farm is ready to make that dream come true.”