Lyle and Phylis Farkash were presented with the Champion Alberta bred Trophy at the Night of Champions by Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Oneil Carlier for the accomplishments this past year of their home bred gelding For Cash.
Their homebred runner has certainly lived up to his name with $133,984 in earnings in the 2015 season and over $400,000 in life time earnings. He now adds the Champion Alberta bred title to his resume for a second time after winning the same title in 2013. The six-year-old gelding by Stephen Got Even out of Punching won both the 2015 Fred Jones Handicap and the 2015 Westerner Handicap. In addition, he placed second in the Alberta Breeders Handicap, he Journal Handicap and third in the Speed to Spare and the Spangled Jimmy. For Cash has placed in an impressive 23 of 28 starts in his racing career to date.
For Cash was bred out of the mare PUNCHING whom the Farkashs bought in Kentucky as a ten year old in foal to Toccet at the January 2009 Horses of all Ages sale. The resulting foal was the Champion Toccetive, winner of the 2012 Canadian Derby and almost $300,000 in earnings. Lyle and Phylis bred Punching to Stephen Got Even and the half-brother to Toccetive, For Cash, was born in 2010. Every good breeding program is built upon a foundation of quality broodmares and the Farkashs have an outstanding mare in Punching. She has now produced both highly successful runners in Toccetive and For Cash and a full brother to Toccetive, Miracle Punch, is now a two year old this year.
Lyle and Phylis do not take the achievements of their racehorses for granted and their success in recent times has been the result of an involvement in the industry for many years. Phylis is part of the Ireland family who have been active in the Alberta Thoroughbred industry since the 1940s. Lyle and Phylis together have been breeding and racing thoroughbreds since the 1970s but between farming and raising children, the horses were mainly a hobby alongside their main livelihood of grain farming and raising a French breed of cattle called ‘Maine-Anjou.’
Success in racing initially came about for the Farkashs in the early 1990s with a stakes winner Son of Briartic gelding named Tabolatime. It continued with the ownership of their homebred Alberta bred stakes winner Exclusive Banker who raced in Alberta for eight years between 2001 and 2009 earning over $200,000.
This season, Lyle and Phylis are staying busy keeping track of their five horses actively racing including their Champion For Cash and his siblings, Toccetive, Lucky Punch and Miracle Punch. Their broodmare, Punching, is currently down at Darby Dan Farm in Kentucky under the excellent care of Ryan Watson and has an impressive looking 2016 colt by triple Grade 1 winner Shackleford. Punching is bred back to Mineshaft for a 2017 foal.
The Farkashs develop strong attachments to their horses and have a number at home on their farm near Vermilion, Alberta including Exclusive Banker, whom they claimed back three times before retiring him, and his 25 year old mother, Bankers Blues.
The Farkashs downplay their success attributing some of it to luck but much of it to the fact that they are, as Lyle comments, ‘“fortunate to have a good trainer and I trust him,” as well as being careful to only run horses on good condition tracks. He further adds that the goal of their breeding program is to improve every generation that “takes a long time.”
Lyle and Phylis get great enjoyment from their racing involvement noting that, “as a farmer, you have to find a way to justify your trips!” The achievements of their racehorses and the support of family have allowed them to do just that giving them a reason to take trips they may never have taken otherwise to places such as California, New Orleans, New Mexico and Kentucky. Lyle and Phylis give a lot of credit and thanks to “our family members at home working allows us to follow the horses.” The Farkashs have new generations coming up with two sons and a daughter and 8 grandchildren and comment that they would like to “keep a tradition going.”