After lunch on our third day, our bus had Price Bell, the sixth generation at Mill Ridge Farm, on board. Her grandmother, Alice Chandler, started the farm in 1962 with 286 acres and four mares, inherited from her father. They told us they bred some of the best thoroughbreds in the world from birth through high school, then sent them to Florida to learn racing.
He mentioned that he has planted 70 trees to replace those lost, and the largest Blue Ash tree in Kentucky is on this farm.
Since 2000 they have sold 36 grade 1 winners. Mill Ridge Farm prepares the horses for sales. There were 115 to 200 mares housed on the farm, at $45 a day for feed and care. However, they own 10 mares. The farm has a staff of 30 to 35 people. We were able to offer carrots to the yearling fillies as they liked them a lot and came to the fence to ask for more.
That night we were greeted by Hallway Feeds, Mr. Bob, Lee Hall and Julia Hall at the Round Barn Stable of Memories.
This four-story barn was built next to the Red Mile Racetrack, serving as a showroom before being used to house race horses. After being restored as a museum, The Round Barn became a unique historic venue for special events. Now it has exhibits above the time. The Red Mile is a horse racing track located in Lexington. The track hosts harness racing, a type of horse racing in which horses must pull two-wheeled carts called sulkies as they race. It is one of the most famous tracks in harness racing and is located in the heart of the Bluegrass Country, an area of Kentucky famous for horse racing and breeding.
Julia Hall wrote: “Our food was very typical of this part of Kentucky. Burgoo-a meat stew with roots in Europe. Originally made as a celebratory stew. People would bring whatever meat and vegetables they had and combine them in large kettles and cook them over an open fire. They would be cooked all day and enjoyed in the late afternoon/evening. Most of the time it would contain game meats that would be abundant in this part of the country. Venison, rabbit were commonly used. Where does the name Burgoo come from? Some say it was invented by a Frenchman named Gus Jaubert during the Civil War, made from whatever wild meat, like squirrel and fowl, he could find as food for soldiers. Others say that it was the invention of freed slaves, who made large lots of burgoo for the sale of cattle. And another theory states that the origin of the dish dates back to the Native Americans, who prepared it as a game stew. The name itself was probably born from a mispronunciation of bird or barbecue stew. However, the common thread running through all these stories is that burgoo is a dish that was created out of necessity or celebration, depending on the origin of the story.”
We also had pulled pork, fried catfish with tartar sauce, cornbread, country green beans, corn pudding, another local favorite. The following statement is from Southern Living magazine in reference to corn pudding. “In southern kitchens, we love casserole, and it’s an indulgent way to eat vegetables, another thing southerners are known for. Made with eggs, heavy cream, a touch of sugar, onions, and lots of corn, a good corn pudding has a smooth, tender texture, like a cross between cornbread and a soufflé. It can lean sweet or savory, depending on how you like it. And because so many ingredients go well with corn, you can flavor this dish in so many different ways.”
The music to dance and listen to was bluegrass, and you should have seen some of our group on the dance floor. They were dancing like teenagers after the delicious dinner and the Kentucky Bourbon. “Shades of Grass” with guitars, violin, keyboard, but no drums. What differentiates bluegrass from country music? Bluegrass is a subgenre of country music with characteristics that set it apart from the country mainstream: the instrumentation is based purely on string bands: guitar, banjo, mandolin, violin, and double bass. There is more emphasis on an acoustic sound. The music is freer and the structures are more complex. Bill Monroe, known as the father of bluegrass music, was born 100 years ago in rural Kentucky. He influenced early country music and rock ‘n’ roll, as well as the tough, lonely genre he created: bluegrass.
The centerpieces were three small pots of red geraniums with samples of Mr. Bob’s Mouthwatering Meat Rub and Hallway Feeds’ “Feelin’ Your Oats” granola. Gold horseshoe balloons with smaller black and white balloons added to the festive evening.
Hallway Feeds General Manager Jeff Pendleton; Director of Sales and Marketing- Anthony Koch; Director of Technology and Innovation- Jared Pendleton; Customer Service Directory: Carly Guinn and Lee’s wife, Stephanie, were introduced. President Mr. Bob at age 92 received a standing ovation when his son Lee, Vice President, introduced him to the group. Julia Hall is Vice President and she organized the nice evening.
The next morning the fire alarm was going off while we were getting dressed, with fire trucks outside. I learned that someone had buttered a slice of bread and then placed it in a toaster with the smoke setting off the alarm.
We visit Golden Age Farm where Wagyu and Angus cattle are raised. We were in the finishing barn with the crossbred cattle (half Wagyu and half Angus). They would be collected between 18 and 20 months of age, weighing between 1200 and 1400 pounds, while at birth they weighed between 65 and 85 pounds. They had been in the barn all winter because of the rain. Fed a grower ration with 14% protein. A mongrel crossed with a purebred Wagyu made a good cross.
The full blood, pure Wagyu, weighed from 55 to 75 pounds at birth, weaning at 400 pounds, since they have a lower growth rate. Artificial insemination is used, with semen purchased from many sources. In ABS, a straw of semen costs $250. Harvested at 30 months for maximum marbling, with a carcass that sold for $8,000, but the feed had cost $2,000-$2,500. Steers begin barn feeding from when they are young to 16 months of age. Harvested at 1,600 to 1,800 pounds, with a 1,000-pound carcass. A Half-Blood will qualify as Prime 75 percent of the time, while a Full Blood will qualify as 100 percent Prime.
They buy hay for fodder, as well as corn and silage. The straw for the beds comes from Thoroughbred farms, and they compost the beds to put on the pasture. It takes about 6 months to compost.
Jean Barton has been writing her Daily News column since the early 1990s. She can be reached via email at [email protected].