The 147th running of the Kentucky Derby is back at Churchill Downs in its time-honored slot, the first Saturday in May. The Run for the Roses, so-named for the garland of 554 red roses awarded to the winner, will have 45,000 suited, booted, and masked spectators on hand, with a TV audience of millions more. Expect the traditional hat parade, mint juleps, a bandstand performance of My Old Kentucky Home, and the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.” In honor of Derby Day, Luxury Defined spotlights estates for horses and riders of all stripes. In the field is a trophy estate with a racing pedigree: Stonewall Farm, a 740-acre estate in Westchester, New York, has produced more than 40 Grade 1 stakes-winning racehorses. Next in the line-up, a polo estate in Argentina; a contemporary ranch in Texas; and a luxury horse barn within hacking distance of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Back at Churchill Downs, a red-coated groom steps to the rostrum, his bugle rises, and the strains of First Call echo across the track. And they’re off!
Stonewall Farm in Westchester County, New York
Situated on 18 deeded parcels of 740 contiguous acres within an hour of both Manhattan and Belmont Park racetrack, Stonewall Farm is the largest privately owned property in Westchester County. Dedicated to raising championship Thoroughbred racehorses, this magnificent equestrian estate has been scrupulously preserved and enhanced over the last 40 years by its current owners, Barry K. Schwartz, co-founder of the Calvin Klein global fashion empire, and his wife Sheryl. Their passion for racing shows in the estate’s superbly maintained grounds and world-class equestrian facilities, which include a turf racetrack, riding trails, a 40-stall yearling barn and two 24-stall broodmare barns, round pens, and 4-board-fenced paddocks and pastures with run-in sheds. A network of private roads and paved trails links the professional racing facilities, agricultural land, working cattle farm, staff quarters, and the owner’s compound. At the heart of this private demesne is the 24,000-square-foot colonial-style manor house, designed by New York-based architect Rebecca Rasmussen with interiors by British designer Kelly Hoppen. Beyond the main house are meticulously tended formal gardens, a pavilion-style pool house, apple orchards, woodlands, ponds, and pastures with sweeping vistas of the Westchester countryside.
Bellerive Estate in Newberg, Oregon
This 25-acre French Country-inspired estate has a picturesque setting along the Willamette River in Oregon’s wine country. The property is entered via a long drive sweeping past verdant paddocks and meadows with white post-and-rail fencing. The equestrian facilities also include a large dual-entry barn with 14 stalls and an indoor arena. The centerpiece of the estate is a grand château-style main residence, elegantly appointed with light-filled reception rooms, a vast gourmet kitchen, and seven expansive bedrooms. Amenities include a fitness center, pool with cabana and bar, tennis court, and seven-car garage. Adjacent is a three-bedroom guest house with its own pool. The verdant grounds are bordered by private woods with ponds and springs and a children’s playground with a treehouse. Walking trails lead down to two boat docks at the river’s edge.
Val Du Lac Estate in Franschhoek, South Africa
Nestled on nearly 60 private acres within 40 minutes’ drive of Cape Town, Val Du Lac is one of the finest equestrian properties in South Africa’s vineyard-lined Franschhoek Valley. The equestrian amenities are the jewel of the estate, featuring a stable complex, mare and foaling barn, yearling barn, two-bedroom groom’s quarters, and manager’s house. There are several fully irrigated, fenced paddocks. The heart of the property is the stately owner’s residence: Extending to more than 10,500 square feet, the floor plan includes five en suite bedrooms, formal dining and living rooms, a wood-paneled library, wine cellar, a modern kitchen, and three-car garage. The interiors flow out to outdoor living spaces and landscaped gardens ideal for alfresco entertaining. A second residence offers 5,035 square feet with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, living and dining areas, a study, eat-in kitchen, covered veranda, and two-car garage. The property includes two dams fed by mountain streams.
8.4-Acre Equestrian Property in Grand Prix Village, Wellington, Florida
This 8.4-acre equestrian barn has a prime location in the Grand Prix Village South, conveniently located within hacking distance of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The newly constructed 20-stall center-aisle barn includes four wash/grooming stalls, a private office, two tack rooms, a feed room, laundry and storage areas, and one-and-a-half bathrooms. The all-weather arena has a spectator-viewing area with air-conditioned lounge, full kitchen, family room, and private bathroom. There’s also an outdoor kitchen with a fireplace for alfresco relaxing and entertaining, and there is a separate groom’s quarters with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a garage. Outside the barn are eight paddocks next to a Grand Prix-level show-jumping field.
Country Estate in Lorgues, Var, France
In the heart of Provence, this beautiful manor house is situated amid 100 private acres graced with stables, paddocks and rolling pastures, forests of pine and truffle oaks, and beautiful French formal gardens. The main house and guest house offer 14,531 square feet of living space, exquisitely finished and detailed, with 15 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms. The grounds include a private chapel, olive groves and olive oil-production facility, a pool and spa, a tennis court, and a helipad. The property is close to the medieval town of Lorgues, within 50 miles of both Cannes and Saint-Tropez.
Rafter 28 in Alvarado, Texas
Rafter 28 is a 120-acre equestrian estate offering an incomparable country lifestyle near Fort Worth. The custom-designed main house was executed in rusticated stone, with finishes of reclaimed wood and rustic tin accents, antique doors and fixtures. Three big, comfortable bedrooms with contemporary bathrooms, a two-story living room, dining and entertaining spaces are finished in a soothing blend of neutral grays, tans and cream, illuminated by big windows and lots of natural light. A sleek, contemporary kitchen Beyond the main home are two apartments ideal for guests or staff. Speaking of creature comforts, the equestrian complex will pamper its occupants. It includes a main barn with a 148-by-168-foot covered arena with LED lights and two huge ventilation fans, a 12-stall barn with drop-down grills and waterers. It opens to an outdoor arena, Priefert horse walker, and three horse trailer/RV bays with plug-ins. Adding to the allure are miles of riding trails. After a long day in the saddle, residents can retreat to the outdoor entertaining area with resort-inspired pool, lounge, and barbecue grilling area.
La Felicita in Pilar, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentina is famous for its elite polo players, so it’s no surprise to find a world-class polo club in Pilar, a leafy, historic enclave just outside Buenos Aires. La Felicita, a spacious and stylish estate with spectacular views, is situated right next to the main polo field. The 185-acre property includes stables for 44 horses, an on-site veterinary clinic, covered riding area, well-appointed clubhouse, and tennis courts. The main residence is designed as a traditional Argentine estancia. There are five en suite bedrooms and elegant living and entertaining areas, including a grand hall and banquet room. The serene outdoor spaces include a resort-inspired pool and lovely lakeside gardens overlooking the polo fields.