Swifty Farms Still Embraces Tradition and Quality 

February 9, 2022

Indiana’s Leading Breeder adds Three Stallions to their Strong Roster: Sombeyay, Sleepy Eyes Todd and American Pastime

Swifty Farms is a busy family-operated Thoroughbred farm in Seymour, Indiana an hour north of Louisville, Ky. Not only is the 488-acre farm in a perfect location but it is Indiana’s Leading Breeder. 

The operation was founded in 1972 by Don Myers and named in homage to his Swifty Oil Co. Don married Dana (Pickering) in 1980 and together they advanced the farm to become Indiana’s largest Thoroughbred racing and breeding farm. After Don’s passing in 2013, Dana Myers ran the operations.  

Don and Dana Myers (courtesy of Tiffany Johnson)

Continuing to be a family affair, after Dana’s passing in December of 2020 Dana’s grandchildren Tiffany Johnson, and Nicholas Goings, took the reins. “We are really honored and proud to continue our grandparents’ vision,” Tiffany remarked. 

In 2014, Tiffany moved to Seymour, from Columbus, Ohio where she had recently completed her Master’s in Education and began teaching high school English and subsequently worked in the health field. 

“All the while, my grandma was teaching me a great deal about the horse business. In 2017, my grandmother asked me to begin working with her full-time. She insisted that I learn all aspects, so I have done everything from mucking stalls, to foal watch, to breeding, sales prep. and much more,” Tiffany said. 

Nicholas was retired from the NFL in 2009 where he had spent eight seasons as a running back with the Carolina Panthers where he set many team records in rushing yards and touchdowns. 

“Nicholas joined the farm after my grandma’s passing in 2020. He’s always been a part of it, but he really became hands on late 2020/early 2021,” Tiffany explained.

Tiffany spoke of the farm’s history. She said the stallion that made its first mark at Swifty Farms was Crown Ambassador. The chestnut son of Storm Cat out of Key To The Mint mare Rare Mint is the all-time Indiana Leading Stallion. From 10 crops of racing age, Crown Ambassador’s progeny have earned more than $4.66 million and included 12 stakes winners.

Pass Rush Conformation Photo (courtesy of Swifty Farms) 

However, it is Pass Rush, a son of Crown Ambassador out of Knight mare Profitable Knight, that really became a strong force in the Indiana program. A two-time Indiana Horse of the Year, Grade II winner Pass Rush is the sire of seven stakes winners, with progeny earnings in excess of $5.6 million. Pass Rush has maintained top 10 sire status in Indiana, for the last 10 years. He is also the newest inductee into the Indiana Owner Breeder’s Association Hall Of Fame.

The 22-year-old 16.2 hands sleek chestnut stands for $1,500 S&N in 2022. 

“My grandparents were also very proud of obtaining Maggie Slew, the last daughter out of Seattle Slew. In fact, my grandma named many of her horses based on football references, because of my brother; to name a few: Pass Rush, Beat Michigan Again and Completed Pass,” she said. 

Maggie Slew, bred and raced by Swifty Farms, was named Indiana Horse of the Year and top 3-year-old filly in 2007. 

“In the past year, we obtained an incredible Barn Manager, Jerri Harmon, who has assisted in building such a phenomenal stallion roster,” Tiffany said. 

“Swifty Farms is a landmark for Thoroughbred breeding In Indiana. The goal being, to continue the legacy set forth, by Mr. and Mrs. Myers, conducted with their same passion!” Said Jerri Harmon.

With 32 stalls in their foaling barn, Swifty Farms currently has many mares in foal with several foals already born this year. Click for video.

Harmon explains: “We have 60+ pregnant mares on site, with numbers likely to reach upwards of 100. We have 12 foals on the ground with a steady flow to follow, for the remainder of the season.”

It’s foal watch time! Swifty Farms foaling barn (photo courtesy of Jerri Harmon/Facebook) 

The New Stallions

Already standing Indiana’s Stallion of the Year, Unbridled Express (Unbridled-Big Dreams), Swifty Farms is boosting their stallion rooster in 2022 with SombeyaySleepy Eyes Todd and American Pastime.

After three years among the top five, Unbridled Express reached the top of the Indiana sire standings with 14 winners from 29 starters in 2019 (including six repeat winners) and progeny earnings of $1,089,725.

S O M B E Y A Y 

Sombeyay winning the 2018 Sanford at Saratoga under Javier Castellano wearing the Swifty Farms silks. (NYRA/Susie Raisher)

Sombeyay is a son of three-time reigning general champion sire Into Mischief out of the Limehouse mare Teroda. He was bred in Kentucky by J. D. Stuart & Mueller. 

Sombeyay’s female line reads like a who’s who of Thoroughbred breeding. His dam, Teroda (USA), has also produced Florida Oaks winner, Domain Expertise (by Kitten’s Joy, a son of El Prado (IRE), also the sire of stallions Artie Schiller, Medaglia d’Oro and five-time Grade I winning filly, Mi Pradera).

Maternal grand dam, Leza, is a daughter of Australian champion Strawberry Road (AUS), himself descended from equine royalty, being a son of Whiskey Road, who boasts Nijinsky II (CAN) as his sire and Bowl of Flowers as his dam, who was a half-sister to Darby Dan legends Graustark and His Majesty.

Leza has a heavy flavor of Argentine ancestry, being from champion Argentine Filly Goldenley (ARG). There is no shortage of source material in Sombeyay’s pedigree. Through his dam it includes seven Reines de course in the fifth generation: top: Tamerett, Sex Appeal, Natamala, Gold Digger; bottom: Flaming Page (CAN) and Flower Bowl.

Sombeyay originally sold at the Keeneland 2016 November Breeding Stock Sale for $125,000. He was consigned by Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services and purchased by Taylor Made Sales. In 2017, the colt was at the Keeneland September Yearling sale consigned by Taylor Made for $230,000 and purchased by Starlight. The handsome bay was then offered at the Fasig-Tipton July 2020 Horse of Racing age for $240,00 but RNA’d. 

On the track Sombeyay was campaigned by Swifty Farms Inc. and trained by Peter Miller. His regular rider was the notable Flavien Prat. 

He had four wins from 19 starts with seven second places (four graded stakes) and career earnings of $482,316. 

Winning a four-and-a-half-furlong race on the main track at Gulfstream Park by 6 1/4 lengths on first asking as a 2-year-old, Sombeyay followed up with a second place at Belmont in the five and a half furlongs Tremont Stakes missing the finish line by 3/4 of a length. He had high Equibase Speed Figures in both races.

Sombeyay entered graded stakes company in June 2018 starting in the Grade III Sanford at Saratoga. He was the victor under Javier Castellano by a neck over Strike Silver, also beating Grade I winners Knicks Go and Lexitonian in the field. 

The tenacious colt won the Grade III 2020 Canadian Turf Stakes at Gulfstream by ½ a length with a ESF of 120. 

Sombeyay also placed second in the Looking At Lucky at Monmouth, Grade II National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga, Grade III Appleton at Gulfstream, Grade III San Simeon at Santa Anita and Grade II Twin Spires Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs. 

He was retired to stud at Swifty Farms in 2021.

“When you lay eyes on Sombeyay, you know you’re looking at a tremendous athlete! [He has a] beautiful shoulder and strong loin coupled with a tremendous hip. Graded Stakes wins on turf and dirt from six furlongs up to a mile. Sombeyay’s potential to sire speed and versatility has piqued the interest of breeders to take part in his first season at stud,” Harmon enthusiastically said.

Sombeyay will stand for $3,000 S&N in 2022.

S L E E P Y   E Y E S   T O D D

Sleepy Eyes Todd crushing the 2020 Grade II Charles Town Classic by 7-1/2 lengths under Carlos Delgado. (Coady Photography)

You could call him a bargain. Consigned by Legacy Bloodstock, Sleepy Eyes Todd was purchased by Jonathan Wong at the 2016 Keeneland Breeding Stock Sale for $9,000. I did not miss a zero. The stalwart steed would produce career earnings of $2,051,725.

Sleepy Eyes Todd decends from the legendary Sadler’s Wells line through his grandsire El Prado (IRE) and sire Paddy O’Prado. He is out of a seasoned the Wild Rush mare Pledge Mom, the dam of 11 named foals including stakes winner Wildeydsouthernboy (Double Honor) and the dubiously named Smelly Cat (Fusaichi Pegasus).

Although both sire and grandsire were grays/roans, the colt gets his color from El Prado’s dam, Lady Capulet’s line. Her dam, Caps and Bells gave her color to the line in 1958 when she was foaled in Kentucky. Her sire was the great Mahmoud (FR), and she was out of the good producing mare, Ghazni. Both were grays. Ghazni produced three stakes winners, Ace Destroyer, Dunce and Ghan Fleet.

Interestingly the Pledge Mom’s dam line is also peppered with grey, also beginning with Mahmoud on both sides of her family.

Becoming a fan favorite on the track and trotting around the globe, Sleepy Eyes Todd would run under the colors of Thumbs Up Racing, LLC for trainer Miguel Angel Silva piloted by Ry Eiklberry. The 5-year-old grey has impressive stats winning eight races (five stakes) out of 20 starts with three seconds and a third place.

A winner out of the gate as a 2-year-old at Remington Park at six and a half furlongs on the main track, Sleepy Eyes Todd would follow up two races later with a nine-length victory at Canterbury Park in an Allowance at one mile. He won his next race at a mile and seventy yards with an ESF of 103. 

Joining graded company in the 2019 Grade III Oklahoma Derby at Remington, Sleepy Eyes Todd placed second following up with a win in the Jeffrey A. Hawk Memorial Stakes earning Black Type. 

Sleepy Eyes Todd wired the 2020 Grade II Charles Town Classic with a smoking ESF of 121. In the Grade III Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream the colt simply sizzled running against the best Grade I winners Firenze Fire and Mind Control for the victory. The following year he placed second to Art Collector in the Classic after setting the pace. 

At Keeneland in 2020, Sleepy Eyes Todd was first to the wire in the Lafayette Stakes beating Mind Control in the field for the second time. He would also win the Bosselman Pump and Pantry/Gus Fonner Stakes at Fonner Park, taking third in the same race the following year. 

Sleepy Eyes Todd ran with heart and the fans cheered him on when he kicked off 2021 with the Pegasus World Cup Invitational. The “other gray horse,” he ran gamely against a deeply talented field of 12 that included eventual winner Knicks Go. Sleepy Eyes Todd finished a respectable fourth.

The Paddo O’ Prado colt would go global to run in the Grade I Dubai World Cup and Grade I Saudi Cup. 

“Sleepy Eyes Todd is immense in stature with a beautiful sweeping stride. The balance and symmetry Sleepy possesses is rarely enjoyed by a horse his size. Structurally correct from every angle!” Harmon commented.

Sleepy Eyes Todd will stand for $3,500 S&N in 2022.

A M E R I C A N   P A S T I M E

American Pastime was a debut winner under Kent Desormeaux at Santa Anita March 11, 2017. (Benoit Photos)

Apply named for what horse racing once was, American Pastime was bred in Kentucky by Glendalough LLC. He was purchased by Robert B. Hess, Jr., at the Keeneland 2015 Yearling Sale for $135,000. Running for owner Judith Huarte, the handsome dark bay was conditioned by Hess with Jose A. Brancho aboard.

With three wins and four seconds from 13 starts the colt collected $280,035 in career earnings. Romping at first asking by four and a half lengths under Kent Desormeaux’s hand ride at Santa Anita, American Pastime showed excellent speed with an ESF of 101 (91 Beyers) reflecting his ancestry to the A.P. Indy line. 

American Pastime was named a TDN Rising Star after winning an allowance at Santa Anita over an eventual MGSW. He stopped the clock in 1:09:15 with fractions of :21.85, :44:31 and :56.51 with a 95 Beyers. 

He gamely placed second in the 2017 Grade III Gallant Bob Stakes at Parx to Coal Front by half a length in a gritty stretch duel. In the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Del Mar he gave an earnest run missing third place by a neck to Mind Your Biscuits where he earned a 116 ESF, 105 Beyers. Again, his speed figures remained exceedingly impressive. His ESF’s were commonly triple digit, his Beyers 90+. 

The 7-year-old stallion is sired by Tapizar, son of the great sire Tapit (Pulpit-Tap Your Heels). Tapizar also sired 2-time Eclipse Champion Monomoy Girl, who won 10 graded stakes in 17 starts (17: 14-3-0). 

The sturdy stallion is out of the Valid Expectations mare Ryan’s Inheritance who is a half-sister to Grade I placed/Grade II winning Victory U.S.A. (Victory Gallop-Fordyce). His dam is from the female line of Ashado, Sunriver, a Grade I winner, and Foresta, multiple Grade II winner. 

“American Pastime has the look of an eagle! Class and athleticism at its finest! He is very powerful through the shoulder and hip. With his physical presence it’s no surprise American Pastime earned eight 90+ Beyer figures!” Harmon remarked. 

American Pastime stands for $1,500 in 2022.

“We stand 8 stallions in total,” Harmon said. All three new stallions will join the current roster at Swifty Farms which includes Isotherm (Lonhro {AUS}-Game for More), Pass Rush (Crown Ambassador-Profitable Knight), Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor-Prom Princess) and Ready’s Image (More Than Ready-Clever Phrase).

Don Meyers Hall of Fame Portrait at Indiana Grand. (Courtesy of Tiffany Johnson)

About the Devoted Don Myers

After serving in the U.S. Army Infantry Don Myers returned to Seymour and began raising a family, expanding his business endeavors, and built his legacy.

In 1963 Don began with seven gasoline stations, but his keen business sense impelled him to the founding of Swifty Oil Co., which expanded to 181 gasoline stations and convenience marts multiplying in a number of states. In 1972 he founded Swifty Farms and advanced it to become Indiana’s largest Thoroughbred racing and breeding farm.

In addition to his community support, he was very instrumental in developing Thoroughbred racing in the state of Indiana, as well as his heavy involvement in Thoroughbred racing throughout North America. Don Myers was very instrumental in developing Thoroughbred racing in the state of Indiana and was an award-winning member of Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association representing his home state. Under Swifty Farms banner, Myers bred and or raced Graded stakes winner Pataky Kid, Pass Rush, Mack the Slew, and many others

Devoted to Jackson County, he was a silent philanthropist, and many charities were blessed by his unwavering support.

On July 25, 2013, Don Myers passed away with his wife Dana by his side. He was 92.

On October 17, 2016, the Indiana Horse Racing Association, Inc. held its third annual Hall of Fame induction and Don Myers (posthumously) was honored along with other state leaders of the sport. Each inductee was honored with a resolution and portrait presentation, followed by remarks made by industry professionals.

To book your mare and for more information contact Jerri Harmon at (256) 606-9993, email: swiftyfarms@swiftyfarms.com, or visit SwiftyFarms

By Maribeth Kalinich, Rachel Bucciacchio, contributor 

Photos of Swifty Farms’ barn courtesy of Jerri Harmon/Facebook 

Story sponsored by Spendthrift Farms.

Contributing Authors

Maribeth Kalinich, Senior Editor, Graphic Designer

Maribeth Kalinich grew up in a family with a love for horses, a passion for Thoroughbred horse racing and a taste for playing the ponies....

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