Pinhooker, owner / breeder and veterinarian Jerry Bailey died of complications from pneumonia on December 17, according to his wife, Leslie Bailey, following a two-week battle with COVID-19. He was 78.
A native of Dickinson, ND, Bailey earned his degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Minnesota before moving to South Florida where he spent seven years as a racetrack practitioner in the practice of Drs. MB Teigland, Thomas Brokken, and Benjamin Franklin Jr. He left Florida to become a vet for Ed Gaylord’s Lazy E Ranch in Oklahoma.
“He was eventually promoted to general manager and built the training center at Lazy E,” recalls Leslie Bailey. “We started training thoroughbreds there too, and he really loved training the horses instead of doing office work.”
In order to make better use of the training center, Bailey Gaylord had suggested stapling a few yearlings for the two-year-olds in the training sale. They found a partner for the company in Ken Ellenberg, a native of Minnesota who is a small owner at. was Canterbury Park. After a few years, Gaylord became less interested in pinhooking, while Bailey and Ellenberg saw more opportunities.
The Baileys returned to Florida where they founded the Jerry Bailey Training Center near Morriston and formed a pinhooking partnership with Ellenberg, originally called Cypress Farm. One of their early successes was a gulch colt named Thunder Gulch, which they bought at the Keeneland July Select Yearling Sale in 1993 for $ 40,000 and offered at the Keeneland 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in April 1994, where it was repurchased at a final was bid for $ 120,000. Bailey and Ellenberg put the colt under the name Mutual Shar Stable. Thunder Gulch finished second in the Cowdin Stakes (G2) before the partners sold the colt to Michael Tabor. With D. Wayne Lukas, Thunder Gulch won the Kentucky Derby (G1) and the Belmont Stakes (G1) in 1995.
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Bailey and Ellenberg also arrested 1st class winners, Deputy Commander, Yes It’s True, Honor and Glory, and Twist Afleet.
Eventually Utah born and Quarter Horse owner / breeder Lance Robinson joined in and three men started Gulf Coast Bloodstock. Ellenberg eventually dropped out and others joined in. Gulf Coast was a pinhooking and breeding business that had boarded 120 at a time at Taylor Made Farm near Nicholasville, Kentucky. Robinson and his wife Marla oversaw the breeding operations while the Baileys broke and trained the young horses.
“We were a good partnership. He had a great eye for choosing an athlete and I broke all the horses. We fit really well,” said Leslie Bailey.
Lookin At Lucky wins the CashCall Futurity 2009 in Hollywood Park
Stars bred and raised by Gulf Coast Farms include double champions Look at Lucky who was named champion of the 2-year-old stallion in 2009 after winning three class 1 races and then after winning the Preakness Stakes (G1), Izod Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1), Rebel Stakes (G2) champion of the 3 -year-old stallion was appointed. and Indiana Derby (G2). The Smart Strike colt won nine of 13 starts and grossed $ 3,307,278. The farm has also bred multiple winner 1st class Henny Hughes, and raised and sold multiple winner Cowtown Cat, Kensei, and Salute the Sarge.
When selecting horses for a sale, Bailey told BloodHorse in 2007 that “Conformation, physicality and athleticism are first and foremost.
“After that,” he continued, “do you wish for a sire who you think has a chance of getting a runner, or at least one who has proven he can get a runner.”
Bailey and Robinson also never hesitated to ride a horse they believed in.
“We believe that we can improve the horses’ chances by choosing a trainer who may have strengths for this or that and somehow adapting the horse to the trainer and the level of racing,” Bailey told BloodHorse in 2007.
Gulf Coast closed its breeding operations in 2010 and distributed its breeding stock at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. The Florida training center operated for some time, but eventually the Baileys decided to “retreat” to Oklahoma. They founded the Quarter Circle 4 Bailey Ranch near Pauls Valley, Okla.
Jerry Bailey spent the early part of his retirement abseiling and later became interested in breeding and rearing barrel racehorses.