My father, Alvaro Pineda, was one of the world’s leading riders in the 60’s and 70’s, setting records and revolutionizing the thoroughbred racing industry with his unique riding style and passion for the thoroughbred racehorse. My father believed the best racehorses were the prodigy of the best mares, and in 1974 he set out on a global quest to acquire superior mares to be bred and placed on farms in Kentucky in the hopes of building a world class stable of racing prospects and breeding pedigrees that would have as much of an impart on the Sport Of Kings as my father did, and so he created Lucky 7 Stables.
On January 18, 1975, my father was killed in the starting gate at the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, California, and because we prefer to reflect on the way my father lived rather than the way he died, we never lost sight of what he dreamed of one day creating when he retired from racing.
In August 2017, my sons and I came to Kentucky for our very first visit to the bluegrass state in pursuit of finding a farm and possibly relocating from Park City, Utah. Although racing has always been a part of our lives, both personally and professionally, we had never been to Kentucky, but we immediately understood the allure, limestone aquifers and soil nutrients aside, the Commonwealth took over our hearts and the realization of my father’s dream came to life.
In June 2018, we were fortunate enough to have an exclusive showing of what would become our new home, and although it was not a working thoroughbred farm, it had every aspect of what we wanted; 150 isolated acres, rolling hills covered in blue grass, trees as far as the eye can see, and the majestic Elkhorn Creek wrapped all the way around that whispered, “this is home”, in every current flowing over the limestone rocks.
The farm was owned by the late author and actor, Sam Shepard, and he had as much passion for this property as he did for the details in his writings. My sons and I were overwhelmed from our first visit; it was consuming and very powerful and we knew it had to be ours. Unfortunately, during the time it took for us to sell our ranch in Utah, close out our other businesses, and gear up for the move, the property sold to another, and the fear of my father’s dream slipping away, set in. I reached out to the new owners and explained my vision for the property and offered a significant amount of money over their purchase price in the hopes they would sell the farm to us. They, however, were just as taken by the property as we were so they respectfully declined, and heartbreak set in.
Never losing sight of what we set out to do, we spent the next two years looking for our future, focusing on properties along the Elkhorn, and although we found some special places, there was nothing like “Sam Shepard’s place”. In October 2020, I received a phone call from the owners that had purchased the farm in 2018 saying they had heard I was still looking for a farm along the Elkhorn, and asked if I was still interested in the farm. My sons and I flew to Kentucky and on Thanksgiving Day 2020, we purchased “the Sam Shepard farm”.
We feel so grateful for the many things that had to happen for this farm to come back to us. Sam Shepard was always a horseman and a consummate fan of thoroughbred racing. Throughout Sam’s career, he spent a significant amount of time in Los Angeles, California, and in particular, at Clocker’s Corner at the Santa Anita Racetrack in the early 70’s watching the morning workouts. During that time, my father was one of the world’s leading riders, and in particular one of the leading riders of the southern California jockey colony. We do not have any evidence of my father and Sam knowing each other personally, but we do know they both knew of each other and we believe the two of them, my father Alvaro, and Sam, came together in a celestial effort to bring this farm to my family so that their dreams could come to fruition. We believe this was predestined and we are passionate about bringing to life what has always been meant to be, which is why we named our farm Kismet Thoroughbred Farms.
There is a pond right outside the back porch of the house, and in a New Yorker Magazine article written by long time friend of Sam’s, musician and poet Patti Smith, she details the “chorus that takes place between the bullfrogs and the crickets” in the evenings on this farm. We like to think of that chorus as a magical melody and we are excited to share it with the world.