Hometown Pride

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Tucked down a winding private driveway along Fitch Road, just a few miles from Saratoga Race Course, is Dr. Bill Wilmot’s and Dr. Joan Taylor’s Stepwise Farm. The gorgeous property spans for over 100 acres with a cream colored barn sitting at the top of the hill at the end of the driveway.

A lone bay mare occupies a stall in the barn, giving a whinny as the barn door slides open.

“Used to have a busy equine practice, from ’81 to ‘90 was the stepwise process of having a couple kids, having a vet practice and developing the farm, 1990s was when the first horses arrived,” Wilmot said this week. “Now we’re on the other end of the spectrum. We’re looking to slow down and we’ve been gradually downsizing. At the height of our operation we had about a dozen mares, now we’re down to three.”

Standing in the stall in the barn at the top of the hill is Tiffany Twisted, mother of Twisted Tom and the favorite for today’s $250,000 Albany Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-olds.

“At the moment she’s by herself because the other mares haven’t come back from Kentucky,” said Wilmot, a longtime advocate for the state’s breeding program and former member of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders board of directors. “She’s very happy, she’s kind of a loner really. Her mother was the same way. She’s living the life right now.”

Stepwise bred and raced Tiffany Twisted after purchasing her dam, the Seattle Slew mare Miss Turlington, at the 1994 Keeneland November breeding stock sale for $100,000. She has produced 16 foals since then, including the daughter of Thunder Gulch.

“Tiffany was named after that Eagles song Hotel California, ‘her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she’s got the Mercedes Benz,’ ” Wilmot said. “We ended up naming her well, not totally knowing that. The way that we came up with the name is that Thunder Gulch made us think of a storm or a tornado, perhaps a twister. 

To read the rest of the Albany Stakes preview, download Friday’s digital edition of The Saratoga Special.