Hall of Fame


lucas brodhead, jr.

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Lucas Brodhead, Jr. was born in Frankfort, Kentucky on April 12, 1844. He received his formal education at the famous private academy of B. B. Sayre at Frankfort, where he was the schoolmate of many brilliant young men. Afterwards he attended college for a short time in Toronto, Canada.

Established in 1849 by Immortal R. A. Alexander in Woodford County, Kentucky, Woodburn Farm became the first large-scale farm in America devoted to systematic and planned racehorse production of both Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds. After R. A. Alexander's death in 1867, his brother A. J. Alexander inherited Woodburn, though he neither knew nor cared anything about horses. Often absent, A. J. Alexander initially left the responsibility of the horses to Brodhead's brother-in-law Daniel Swigert. In 1869 Swigert resigned to start his own farm, and Alexander appointed the twenty-five year old Brodhead, his cousin by marriage, superintendent and farm manager of Woodburn Farm, the most prestigious stock farm in the country.

Among Brodhead's duties at Woodburn were the decisions as to which horses were bought and sold and which were chosen as studs for the farm's broodmares. He would sell the farm's foals and yearlings at private annual sales held at Woodburn instead of at the county courthouse square with the rest of the area's breeders. Under Brodhead's management, Woodburn produced some of the best stock in the country.

In 1874 Brodhead sold the Woodburn mare Midnight to Immortal Col. Richard West. Bred to Dictator, son of Immortal Rysdyk's Hambletonian, Midnight produced Immortal Jay-Eye-See, the world's first 2:10 trotter. Also in 1874, Woodburn produced its greatest Standardbred racehorse, the Immortal Maud S., the first trotter to beat the 2:10 mark. In 1878 Immortal trainer and driver W. W. Bair drove Maud S. in a sensational public trial of 2:17 1/2 . Immediately afterwards she was purchased by railroad magnate William H. Vanderbilt for $21,000. Under Vanderbilt's ownership and driven by Bair, Maud S. raced her historic 2:09 3/4 mile at Cleveland in August of 1884.

Woodburn continued to flourish and Brodhead developed into one of the most distinguished figures in the horse breeding world. The farm's large inventory of stallions became a favorite choice of breeders and horsemen, including Immortal Leland Stanford and Gen. George Armstrong Custer. Many stallions and mares managed by Brodhead produced a major portion of the great trotters that we know today.

Between 1866 and 1896, mostly under Brodhead's supervision, Woodburn Farm had sold 744 trotters at public and private sale for the sum total of $747,254. Following the Panic of 1893, A. J. Alexander discontinued breeding horses at Woodburn and the farm was converted to raising cattle. By 1901 the last of the remaining stallions had been dispersed.

Lucas Brodhead worked for Woodburn Farm for thirty-four years. He died of pneumonia at "Okalee," his country residence in Woodford County on October 1, 1914, at the age of seventy.