top of page

Diamond Creek mares heading to New Zealand (Arden Lodge)

Bruce Stewart for Harnesslink 16-6-2024

American powerhouse Diamond Creek Farm is set to expand it’s harness racing breeding operation in New Zealand.

The farm shuttles a number of stallions to the Southern Hemisphere but is now planning to send mares as well.

“We’re sending two mares (to NZ) at the moment but will probably do four to six. We’re just waiting to see who’s barren in the fall. We’re hoping at some point to get up to twenty in the next couple of years,” Caroline Vazquez of Diamond Creek Farm said.

She added the first two mares are expected to arrive by October and will be bred to Diamond Creek Farm stallions in New Zealand in the spring.

“We’re still doing the planning with IRT. The plan is to sell their progeny at the sales and that the mares will stay. It’ll be our foundation herd and it’s just like an expansion for us. We already have a lot of good partners down there with the stallions and we’ve always enjoyed our relationships we’ve had downunder so for us it’s the next progression of what we want to do.”

Both Vazquez who’s Director of Marketing and Stallion Syndicates and Adam Bowden, President of Diamond Creek Farm, are keen on expanding the business in New Zealand.

“I had kind of thought about the idea. A couple of years ago we had a racehorse with Alabar and a mare we owned in the States with Nevele R. I thought it would be really interesting if we could have mares down there. It’s funny because Adam had the same idea. When I was on the trip (to New Zealand in April), I saw different farms and (wanted) to see whether they’d be interested in having the mares. The people we talked to were excited about it so it just cemented our decision.”

Diamond Creek Farm which owns eighty mares and manages another twenty for clients, may also send mares to Australia in the future.

“We’ll start in New Zealand but eventually we’d like to have some in Australia as well. We don’t know as many people in Australia as we do in New Zealand so we have to do a bit more exploration there. We are partners with Alabar and Cobbity.”

The first two mares in the Diamond Creek Farm expansion plan will go to Arden Lodge in West Otago which is owned by John and Judy Stiven.

An excited John Stiven said, “We developed a great friendship from the first time Brent McIntyre, Mark O’Connor and I went to the States in 2011. We didn’t meet Adam on that trip because he was on vacation, but it all started there. Adam came over when A Rocknroll Dance came out.”

Arden Lodge with John Stiven feeding out (Bruce Stewart photo)

The two mares to be based at Arden Lodge are I’m In Heaven and Easter Island. Both are very well bred. I’m In Heaven a three year old unraced filly, is by Huntsville (Somebeachsomewhere) out of Divine Caroline (Rock N Roll Heaven). She won eleven races from age two to four and in 2015 was named Dan Patch Three Year Old Pacing Filly of the Year. Her best mile time was 1-49.2.

Easter Island, also a three year old unraced filly is by Captain Crunch. Her dam Drop The Ball (Western Terror) was a world champion, winning twenty four races, pacing a mile in 1-48.2. and earning $1.4 million in stakes. She’s already the dam of seven foals, including four winners.

The mares will be taken to Macca Lodge to be served and will return to Arden Lodge when they return a positive test. “We’ll look after them as though they’re our own,” said Stiven. “It’ll be quite exciting.”

It’s possible that a member of the Diamond Creek Farm team will be based at Tapanui to help with yearling sales preparation this year, and they’ll get an idea of how it’s done in this part of the world.

“It hasn’t been confirmed yet but it looks like someone is coming down for the 2025 sale. We’ve been doing extra work on them as weanlings so they’re up to scratch.”

Stiven describes the mares coming to the southern region as a coup for the Southern Bred Southern Reared group. “It’s a pretty big thing for the SBSR region and Southern Harness.”

Arden Lodge stock (Bruce Stewart photo)

Connections and sponsors of the 2024 Group One Diamond Creek Farm Two Year Old Classic with Caroline Vazquez holding the right side of the cover (Bruce Stewart photo)

Stiven revealed that Diamond Creek Farm has provided additional stallion services

this year and this will enable SBSR to contribute more money to stakes.

“We’ve been working with Jason Broad (General Manager of Southern Harness) and already we’ve got some ideas of what we can do there.”

Down the track it’s expected a good supply of Diamond Creek Farm yearlings will be going to the annual sales, some under the SBSR banner.

“Having Diamond Creek Farm yearlings going to the sales in three years time under SBSR is going to be pretty massive. The way the Southern Bred Southern Reared brand is growing, people can see that it’s a major brand and they’re wanting to be a part of an SBSR horse.”

by Bruce Stewart, for Harnesslink


bottom of page