24 March 2016, Dubai, UAE ~ Frank Taylor, vice president of boarding operations at Taylor Made Farm, can barely contain his enthusiasm when it comes to talking about this Saturday’s $10m Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates. Not just because his family’s Thoroughbred breeding operation, owned in partnership with his brothers Duncan, Mark and Ben, have 30 per cent of one of the top contenders, California Chrome (USA). Frank Taylor’s reason is much more personal.
Not long after Taylor Made Farm purchased the share of the colt from Steve and Carolyn Coburn last July, California Chrome spent 90 days recuperating at the Lexington, Kentucky operation.
The 2014 Horse of the Year had earned a vacation, racing 18 times in just under two years and earning over $6.3 million. Frank Taylor took a special interest in the 2014 Kentucky Derby winner.
“What’s been fun about it is that when we originally bought in we weren’t even sure that he was going to run,” said Taylor. “Then we got him to the farm and had Dr Bramlage go over him.”
Dr Larry Bramlage of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington found that California Chrome had early signs of bruising to the bottom of his cannon bones. Sometimes the result of a prolonged and intense racing campaign where the bone’s response to stress is slower, Dr Bramlage prescribed some good old-fashioned time off for the colt, turned out in the paddock.
“It’s from horses standing in the stall too long and you don’t get the best circulation,” explained Taylor. “So we had him turned out in the paddock 20 hours a day. By walking around grazing you get more circulation.”
Managing between 400 to 500 horses at a time in the boarding division at Taylor Made Farm, Frank Taylor has little time to spare overseeing the operation and managing his team. For California Chrome, he made an exception.
“Occasionally, like with this horse, I say I’m gonna take a couple of hours a day and just be with him. And that’s what I like to do. “I got to be really hands-on involved in rehabbing him. He gained 190lbs in 90 days. We fed him four times a day. We had a chiropractor for him and a massage therapist. He just thrived.”
Taylor went to great lengths to see that removing the shoes for Chrome’s vacation wouldn’t set the champion back.
“We went and bought a dump truck load of bark dust and we put it all around the paddock so his foot never touched anything but straw, deep grass or that bark so he didn’t get an abscess or bruise his feet up,” said Taylor.
Taylor Made Farm co-owns California Chrome with co-breeder Perry Martin but the ownership experience on Saturday night at Meydan will be shared by a contingent of over 20 people from Taylor Made Farm, including Frank Taylor.
“I’ve never had a horse in a $10m race and now we’ve got Chrome and I’m real close to him, almost like personal friends,” he said. “It’s great to actually get close to a horse and get that experience.”