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Farm History

Buck Pond main houseFew indeed are the original houses of Kentucky's Bluegrass that have such celebrated lore as has Buck Pond, founded in 1783 by Col. Thomas Marshall. Buck Pond farm has been the home of many legendary racehorses, including two Kentucky Derby winners and countless other champions. For well over a century Buck Pond Farm has proven to be the ideal setting for providing just the right combination of rolling paddocks and nutrient rich pastures that it takes to produce strong and sound racehorses.

A hero of the Battle of Brandywine, Marshall was appointed Surveyor General of the lands of Fayette County by good friend and President George Washington. The house at Buck Pond was completed in 1785 and around 1800 the elder Marshall turned Buck Pond over to his youngest son Dr. Louis Marshall and wife Agatha Smith. Six generations of the Marshall family called Buck Pond home under the Revolutionary Grant to Col. Thomas Marshall.

Buck Pond gatesThe first deed to the place was written after Dr. Louis Marshall’s death when the estate was purchased by Major Thomas C. McDowell. It was Major McDowell who first brought thoroughbred horses to Buck Pond. The pride of the McDowell stable was Alan-A-Dale, a son of 1895 Kentucky Derby winner Halma. Bred, owned and trained by McDowell, Alan-A-Dale went on to win the 1902 Kentucky Derby. Buck Pond was held by the McDowells until 1936 when the McDowell heirs sold the property to Joseph Kaye Nelson, a native of Woodford County. In 1952, it was then sold to Mr. and Mrs. Douglas M. Davis Jr. who renamed the place High Hope Farm. Davis, a very successful horseman bred and raised 1973 Travers Stakes winner Annihilate’Em at Buck Pond.

In 1973, Davis sold the farm to the Proskauer family who again called the farm Buck Pond. Susan Proskauer had escaped Nazi Germany by skiing over the Swiss Alps and after obtaining a Visa into the United States settled in New York. She began working as a dress designer designing under the name Susan Garber in which she enjoyed widespread success with her own line of ladies suits and dresses.

Buck Pond horses Mrs. Proskauer took an avid interest in thoroughbreds and began acquiring breeding stock when relocating to Buck Pond. The Proskauers continued the rich history of breeding champion racehorses at Buck Pond Farm, including Horse of the Year and three time divisional champion Spectacular Bid as well as two-year-old champion Lord Avie. The great grass filly, Drumtop, who set 4 course records, Manitoulin, a stakes winner in Ireland and the U.S., and Group Plan, winner of nine races including the Jockey Club and Hawthorne Gold Cup were all bred and raised at Buck Pond. Other thoroughbred greats such as Margaret’s Number, Gamacene, Reboboy, Laomedante and Ancient Wisdom were bred and raised on the lush pastures of Buck Pond.

Doug and Karen Arnold purchased the magical 300 acres of Buck Pond in 1994 and the priority of breeding excellent racehorses continues with great success. G2 winner March Magic, one of Evansville Slew’s best sons along with Ruler’s Court, one of the leading juveniles of 2003, were both bred and raised at Buck Pond. Today the residence of Buck Pond still looks down the long avenue of maples, oaks and other assortments of trees. The house has seen changes over the years, but the simplistic beauty of the original structure pervades along with the high standards of producing champion racehorses.