Stone Farm: For half of a century.
If you take care of the land,
the land will take care of you.
We’re trying to raise you a good horse.
We sell only what we raise.
Anne M. Eberhardt
By Lenny Shulman
It was four summers ago when bloodstock agent John Adger, who built Stonerside into a world-class breeding operation for Robert and Janice McNair, received a phone call from his friend of 40 years, Peter Fluor. Their fathers had also been friends, and the purpose of Fluor’s phone call was very specific.
“He said he was in the paddock at Saratoga and having a good time, and that he wanted to buy a couple of horses,” remembered Adger.
Thus was born Speedway Stable, a partnership between Fluor and his friend and business partner K.C. Weiner, whose father and Fluor’s father also owned horses together.
Success didn’t skip a generation. As he has often in the past, Adger crafted a winning game plan for his friends, whose first purchases were fillies in training Leigh Court and Hard Not to Like. The latter won the Diana Stakes and Gamely Stakes (both G1T) for Speedway, which reaped a $1 million surplus over her purchase price between her purse earnings and her $2.2 million sale at the 2015 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.
With the help of bloodstock agent Marette Farrell, whom Adger recruited to buy stock for Fluor and Weiner, Speedway has kept right on motoring. Having purchased Collected , a son of City Zip, out of a 2-year-old in training sale for $170,000, Fluor and Weiner watched him win five graded stakes, including the 2017 $1 Million TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (G1), and bank nearly $3 million before selling him for stud duty.
And now they have descended on Churchill Downs with the aptly named Roadster, a son of Quality Road —Ghost Dancing, by Silver Ghost, who won the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and is on the shortlist of major contenders for the May 4 Run for the Roses. The Speedway principals signed a $525,000 ticket for Roadster, but breeder Arthur Hancock III has stayed in for a slice of the colt as well.
Peter Fluor grew up in the shadow of Santa Anita Park. His father, Bob, ran the engineering and construction giant Fluor Company and also owned horses, co-owning dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) winner Alleged with Robert Sangster. Weiner rode horses in his youth and his father, Charles, started the Texas Crude Energy company besides owning horses with Bob Fluor.
It would take a while before the two sons followed their fathers into Thoroughbreds. They worked together at Texas Crude, a private oil company, and found some productive fields. Horses were not on their radar until Fluor’s fateful trip to Saratoga.
“I came back to Texas and said to K.C., ‘This is really going to sound silly, but why don’t we call John and get into owning some?'” said Fluor.
After having started out almost exclusively with fillies, Speedway changed gears with the purchase of Collected. Winning the Pacific Classic was a seminal moment, and the partners decided colts might be an area to explore.
“We realize there is no residual value in colts unless they are stunning and do something extraordinary, but we decided to try a couple,” Fluor noted. “Like with everything Speedway does, we just backed into it. And one of the first ones we bought was Roadster. If there hadn’t been a Collected, there wouldn’t be a Roadster for us.
“We also had no intentions of getting into the breeding end of the business. We’d never even discussed it. And then we retired Leigh Court and said, ‘Let’s breed her.’ So now we have some little critters on the ground and a group of broodmares. Again, backed into it.”
They’re not backing into the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1). Following surgery to repair a breathing problem, the gunmetal gray Roadster once again is flashing the form he showed early as a 2-year-old and is part of trainer Bob Baffert’s three-headed assault on the Derby.
Although Fluor is busy with board meetings in Texas this week, his mind is very much on Roadster’s attempt at Derby glory.
“We had our families at the Santa Anita Derby, and now they’re all excited about going to Louisville,” said Fluor. “So even when I manage to start thinking about something else, someone in the family says something and it brings me right back to the race. Everyone is excited about it.
“Tell the truth, the last time I went to the Kentucky Derby was 1973. It was on a business deal, and that was Secretariat’s year. And that was so good, I felt I didn’t need to go back until I had a horse in the race. And since I wasn’t thinking about the horse business, I figured that would never happen. And here we go. Let there be horses, and we get to go to the Derby. We’re thrilled, especially as parents. We won’t be here forever, and these are the things our families will remember.”
And Adger has guided yet another set of friends through the minefield of Thoroughbred ownership to a happy precipice.
“K.C. and his family and Peter and his family are loving it, and I’m so happy for them,” Adger said. “They really enjoy the horses and the excitement of it.”
“What I particularly enjoy are the people who make this fun,” allowed Fluor. “There’s no reason to do this other than for enjoyment. The brotherhood we’ve experienced has made this a lot of fun for us. Bob (Baffert) said the gray torpedo is ready. And I told him, ‘Run silent, run deep.'”