Cooper Sawyer, Yearling Manager
Cooper Sawyer is the yearling manager at Lane’s End farm, and he is responsible for the daily care of all the yearlings. He came to Lane’s End in 2010 from Mill Ridge Farm, where he also served as yearling manager. Cooper has worked with yearlings since he graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2005. Prior to that he worked with mares and foals.
Keepers vs. Sale Horses
Lane’s End does things a little differently than most other farms. They identify the yearlings as either “keepers” or “sale” horses. Keepers are horses that the owners have decided not to sell but to keep and race, such as Cozmic One. The two groups are separated in May, about two weeks after the Derby. That’s when they start to get “coltish” and play rough.
The colts are turned out into individual paddocks, which keeps them from roughhousing. The sale colts are turned out at 7 pm to protect their coats from the sun so that they look their best in the sale ring. The keepers go out after their noon feed, about 2 pm. This is also the main difference between the keepers and sale horses. One of the things that separates Lane’s End from other farms is that they do give the keepers this experience and that they turn out our sale horses at all. Many farms like to keep their horses in all the time.
The prep process is the foundation and education that makes the transition from yearling to 2 year-old to racehorse a little easier, and it begins in May. The yearlings are broke to tack (surcingle and draw cords) and the walking machine. The walker helps get the horses fit. Putting them in a tight space gets them used to going in the starting gate. They are also broke to a hose, as they receive daily baths and rubdowns. For Coz, this whole process will help him when he goes to the Mayberry’s in Flordia. They will put a saddle on him, put him in the starting gate and will help him become a better mover.