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© Photos courtesy XCEL Farms
By Martha Claussen
ASHER, OKLAHOMA—SEPTEMBER 16, 2019—A new full service training center will open in Asher, Oklahoma this month. The venture is a partnership between veteran horseman Edward Ross Hardy and businessman Cole Morehead.
Hardy is a highly respected trainer with a 25-year tenure in the Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred industry. He has saddled over 820 winners, including World Champions Lett Her Zoom and One Rare Bug. Additionally, he has conditioned Grade 1 champions, Givingitaroyaleffort and High Rate Of Return. Ed is also a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame. He owns and operates an 80-acre training facility in Lexington, Oklahoma.
"Ed Hardy and his team's record speaks for itself," said Morehead. "His career numbers are better than many of the current leading trainers' today."
However, his passion for horses never waned. In 2018, he and his father enlisted the training services of Hardy on a Tres Seis filly. His goal was racing first, followed by developing her as a broodmare prospect. This year, Morehead purchased two more fillies with Celebratori, a daughter of Corona Cartel, qualified for the 2019 Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity at Canterbury Park.
XCEL Farms will present a full range of services for both Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds. Partnered with Ed Hardy Racing, clients will be able to choose from breaking, training and/or sale preparation of both yearlings and 2-year-olds in any of the racing breeds; off season conditioning, galloping, and overall care of older racehorses. On the breeding side, XCEL Farms will offer mare care and foaling services, and plans on standing stallions entering the 2022 breeding year.
"Our training track was professionally designed and will be maintained by one of the best track men in the state of Oklahoma, if not in the country," stated Morehead.
Currently under construction are the mare care facilities which consist of safely constructed pens with loafing sheds and turn-out pastures. The loafing shed pens will have a projected capacity of 20-25 mares and the turnout pasture will consist of 60 acres of well-maintained Bermuda grass. All construction is projected to be complete in the late Spring of 2020.
Morehead's focus will be on development and growth of the overall business operation with an emphasis on the breeding program and facilities. Quality services and safety are two extremely important priorities to both Hardy and Morehead.
Both men want to give credit to their wives, Kari Hardy and Marijo Morehead for supporting them and being so involved behind the scenes. They are both an integral part of the team.
"I'm excited about this venture with Cole," said Hardy. "He is extremely motivated and an optimistic businessman, but still has the integrity of a real professional. Many in the racing and breeding industry concur that attracting new owners is essential for the future of the sport. I've been in business for 25 years, and to use a racing expression, it's like a horse 're-breaking'. It's given me a new outlook with tremendous potential."
41071 Hwy 59, Asher, OK 74826
Ed Hardy 512-658-0306
Martha Claussen served as publicity director at Sam Houston Race Park for ten years. She continues to be active in writing and racing publicity in Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, Oklahoma and other regions in North America.