The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York previewed their latest exhibit, the Sanford Legacy, to the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm, select guests and the press on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. The exhibit, researched and designed by museum curator Victoria Tokarowski of Fultonville, showcases the significant contribution of Amsterdam’s Sanford family to the sport of thoroughbred racing. The exhibit opens to the public March 25, 2015 and runs through 2016. Tuesday’s event was attended by Sanford family descendent Pierre Manigault from Charleston, South Carolina, Son of Sanford jockey Louis Hildebrandt, Sam Hildebrandt, Montgomery County Legislator Barbara Wheeler, Town of Amsterdam Supervisor Tom DiMezza, Friends of Sanford Stud Farm President Scott Friers and several members of FSSF as well as the media. For more information just click on this link: National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
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Friends of Sanford Stud Farm is a charitable organization dedicated to preserving the history of Stephen and son John Sanford’s thoroughbred horse farm in the Town of Amsterdam. The original training track and some of the barns were demolished to build a mall but a few of the structures still remain visible from route 30. Friends of Sanford Stud Farm has accomplished a great deal in their goal of creating an education heritage center, preserving and restoring the remaining barns owned by the Town. The other barn structures off route 30 that were part of Hurricana are privately owned and the land is for sale. With the help of the organization and Town of Amsterdam the 1880 Hurricana Stock Farm is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Stephen Sanford (1826-1913) born in Mayfield, NY, built the Hurricana Farm to raise and train thoroughbred racehorses to compete at Saratoga Racecourse in 1880. Stephen’s son John Sanford II (1851-1939) born in Amsterdam, inherited Hurricana and became very successful in the racing industry. John changed the Hurricana Farm name to Sanford Stud Farm. John’s daughter Gertrude Sanford Legendre (1902-2000) born in Aiken, South Carolina, was a very colorful figure. An American socialite, Gertrude enjoyed big game hunting and exploring for the American Museum of Natural History. During WWII she worked for the Office of Strategic Services and became the first woman captured by the Germans and was held for 6 months until she escaped to Switzerland. In 1930 Gertrude and Sidney Legendre bought one of the oldest buildings in South Carolina, the Medway Plantation (c1686). Gertrude was the inspiration for the 1929 play “Holiday” written by Philip Barry and later made into a movie starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Gertrude Sanford and Sidney Legendre had two daughters, Bokara and Landine. Stories and photos of Gertrude and her daughters appear in the New York Social Diary.
Landine Legendre married Peter Manigault (1927-2004) of Charleston South Carolina, owner of the Evening Post Publishing Company. Landine and Peter Manigault had a son Pierre Manigault who is now the Chairman at Evening Post Industries, Garden and Gun Magazine and the American College of Building Arts. Pierre Manigault and Lee Van Allen, had two daughters India and Gertrude (Gigi) Manigault, who lives with their mother in the Miles Brewton House in Charleston, South Carolina .
The organization could not have accomplished so much without funding from private donations. The largest benefactor of Friends of Sanford Stud Farm is the Manigault family. On Sunday July 20, 2014, Landine Manigault, Pierre Manigault, Gigi Manigault and family friend Clara Saad visited the Sanford Stud Farm. Pierre expressed an interest in starting a summer program at the Sanford Stud Farm for students from the American College of Building Arts in Charleston, of which he is Chairman and one of the founders. The girls just wanted to have fun.
This is what happens when you let preteens take photos with your camera!
The festivities continued Saturday, June 15, 2013, when the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm held their annual open house event. There were merchandise, craft, food and informational booths set up in and around the Broodmare barn. The stables featured two Percheron mares.Just outside the barn, there was a blacksmith demonstrating his craft. There was an inflatable slide for the kids and the best car show I have ever seen in this area. This event was huge! The weather was sunny and just perfect. People were itching to get outside after the seemingly never-ending rainstorms and were generally in a very good mood.
The Friends of Sanford Stud Farm benefit Horse Tales and Cocktails was held in the Broodmare barn on Rt30 in the Town of Amsterdam New York, Friday evening June 14, 2013. Each year the event gets bigger and better. A buffet dinner was served with cocktails available. There was a silent auction and raffle with a variety of gifts. This year Friends of Sanford Stud Farm celebrated the Stud Farm’s Broodmare Barn and stables listing on the NYS and National Historic Registries. Proclamations were read and presented to the group by NYS Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara and Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk. Guest speakers included Michael Veitch, Alan Carter and Town of Amsterdam Supervisor Tom DiMezza. Friends founder Sam Hildebrandt spoke about historic site recognition and gave closing remarks. The event was well attended.
It wasn’t the kind of day they had hoped for, but the Friends of the Sanford Stud Farm still entertained a good number of people today during their open house just off route 30, next to Walgreens in the Town of Amsterdam. The rain kept some people away and according to volunteer coordinator Scott Friers, only five cars showed up from the scheduled New Wave Cruiser’s Car Club because of the weather. By the time I arrived at 2:00pm, there were only two cars left; but the show must go on and inside the barn there were an array of vendors and prizes to be raffled off. Montgomery County Board of Elections had a booth encouraging voter registration. I even signed on to be an election inspector. Representatives from Historic Amsterdam League were there raising money for the organizations historic marker program. Bob Cudmore was there selling his books with the profits going to charities. There was food and a kettle corn vendor. There was a bouncy house for the kids and horses in the barns once again. It was a nice diversion even for a rainy day, all for a worthy cause.
The Friends of Sanford Stud Farm is a not for profit corporation formed to preserve the remaining buildings of a horse farm once owned and operated by Steven Sanford who was a carpet manufacturing innovator turned racing entrepreneur in the late 1870s. Race winning thoroughbreds were bred, raised and trained at the Sanford Stud Farm. The building that now houses Amsterdam City Hall was the former home of the Sanford family.
On Saturday, May 5, 2012, Sam Hildebrandt and Scott Friers gave a tour of the Stud Farm now owned by the Town of Amsterdam. Historian, author and WVTL radio personality, Bob Cudmore was the guest speaker who gave a history of some of the famous big money winning horses. Only a few of the original buildings remain as most of the farm was sold to developers who built a strip mall on what was once the horse training track.
Two barns were restored by the group with the cooperation of the Town of Amsterdam. Their hope is that it will become a visitors center so the legacy of the Sanford Stud Farm will not be forgotten. My contribution to the effort are these photos.