Industry Pioneer Payson Dies At Aged 92!

Pioneer Payson Dies: According to colleagues and acquaintances, Virginia Kraft Payson, a longtime breeder and owner of Thoroughbred horses, passed away on January 9 in Central Kentucky. She was 92. Before selling Payson Park Training Center roughly ten years ago, Payson also owned Payson Stud in Kentucky and other properties.

Peter Brant, a breeder of thoroughbred horses, is the current owner of the well-known South Florida training facility that has been utilized by many of the most renowned trainers in the industry.

She was recalled as “a very accomplished lady” who was forceful and “before of her time” by trainer Christophe Clement, who trained homebred Rutherienne, Ruthenia, and Scipion for Payson and trained them to graded stakes victories.

He continued, “Payson will live on, and that will also be her legacy. Before entering the equestrian sector, Payson spent 26 years as a journalist for Sports Illustrated magazine, starting with the publication’s debut issue in 1954. She also wrote five books on tennis, shotgun sports, dog training, and yachting.

According to Anna Colombo, a former assistant at Payson Stud who kept in touch with her, Payson recently suffered from the crippling effects of Parkinson’s disease, which restricted her communication capacity. She lived a whole life, according to Colombo.

Pioneer Payson Dies
Pioneer Payson Dies

Payson, a native of New York City, described her introduction to the sport in an interview with BloodHorse in 2013 when her second husband, the late Charles Shipman Payson, placed his first bid on a yearling at Fasig-Tipton in the late 1970s.

Carr De Naskra, the 1984 Travers Stakes (G1) champion and homebred superstar St. Jovite, a multiple groups 1 winner, and the 1992 European Horse of the Year, were two notable competitors for Virginia Payson in the future.

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Lac Ouimet, L’Carriere, Milesius, Salem Drive, Strawberry Reason, and Uptown Swell were a few of the notable horses Payson also bred. 1995 Broodmare of the Year went to her mare Northern Sunset.

The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association recognized Payson as the Breeder of the Year for 1997. Before switching to breeding for profit in 1999, she gained notoriety for a breed-to-race operation.

She said to BloodHorse in 2013 that “people told me, ‘Well, you’ll never be successful selling horses because people would believe you are just culling. “My breeding business has never been huge. Over the years, I had only approximately eight foals a year, with an average of 12 broodmares.

However, I sold Farda Amiga (2002’s champion 3-year-old filly) in the first crop, and Vindication was added the following year (2002 champion 2-year-old male). With those two enormous accomplishments, people’s perspectives were altered.

According to Mike Stidham, who briefly trained for Payson, she continued to be enthusiastic about talking about her runners even as her health began to deteriorate. According to Stidham, “She was always excited about her horses and how they ran.”

Simply put, I adored horses so much. Regardless of her health, it was clear how much she cherished the horses. Everything she accomplished for racing reminded me of Josephine Abercrombie, who passed very recently (in January 2022).


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