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Whisper Hill Farm

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 Biography and Highlights:  
  • Owner(s): Amanda Pope
  • Born: Oct. 29, 1954 in North Carolina
  • Residence: Citra, Fla.
  • Family: Fiance, Dr. Mike Chovanes, a veterinarian (“We are both passionate and compassionate about horses,” she said of their relationship.)
  • Education: Graduate of Purdue University with degree in business management
  • Professional Background: Pope began riding at age four and showed hunters and jumpers for many years before heading to Florida in 1980 with a couple of show horses ... Her planned six-week visit turned into a permanent stay ... She began by working with broodmares at George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Stud in 1980 and moved on to work with mares and stallions at the former Heather Hills Farm until starting Whisper Hill ... After operating primarily as a commercial breeding operation with a breed-to-sell program, Pope and Chovanes are redirecting their efforts towards establishing a racing stable both with homebreds and horses purchased at various sales … At the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale, Pope’s purchases included an Unbridled’s Song–Silvery Swan filly for $1-million
  • Breeding/Racing Operation: Whisper Hill Farm, located in Citra, Fla., will be represented at the 2011 Breeders' Cup as the breeder of Tizway, who emerged as one of the top handicap horses in 2011 after finishing fifth in the 2010 Dirt Mile. She sold Tizway, winner of the 2011 Met Mile (G1) and Whitney (G1) for $140,000 at the 2006 Keeneland September yearling sale… It will mark the farm's third time as a breeder in the Breeders' Cup championships – Meadow Rendezvous finished eighth in the 1993 Juvenile Fillies … Whisper Hill Farm bred the ill-fated Grade 3 winner Bearpath, who was euthanized on Sept. 23, 2011 following complications from injuries suffered the previous month in a race at Saratoga Race Course … Pope said she was surprised at the concern people showed after Bearpath’s injury and said several people offered to give the gelding a home if he recovered ... Pope's farm began with 55 acres and was bought from the family of Florida trainer Jacqueline Brittain in 1982 ... Her partner in the purchase was her father, John Pope, who owned 350 mid-sized retail stores at the time in eight Southern states … The stores included such chains as Roses and Maxway … She bought out her father's interest in the farm in 1989 and added a barn and several paddocks and refenced the whole farm ... In the years since, the farm has grown to encompass 280 acres ... Her broodmare band of about 25 is spread amongst Kentucky farms Taylor Made Farm, Timber Town Stables, and Gunston Hall Farm … Foals are transferred to Whisper Hill in Florida after they are weaned … Whisper Hill is home to about 20 retirees including geldings she bred, sold, and later claimed off the track, and broodmares who are no longer productive … “I feel responsible [for the racehorses] because I bred them. They are my kids – I can’t just abandon them.” ... Staff generally numbers about 10 ... Has about 30 horses in training including some dozen yearlings of 2011 … Her racing stable includes stakes-placed three-year-old filly Funny Sunny, a two-time winner through Oct. 1 … Her primary trainer is Bob Hess Jr. but also has horses with Tim Hamm and Kate Demasi … Best horses bred also include Grade 1-placed Sam P., ninth in the 2007 Kentucky Derby … Said her favorite horse is Sam P.’s dam, Affirmed Legacy, a 19-year-old daughter of 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed.

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Biographies on jockeys, trainers and owners are from the Breeders' Cup World Championships events from 2001 through 2009, and are intended as informational resources. Biographies will be updated if an individual is again a participant in the Breeders' Cup World Championships.

Biographies are available for most horses appearing in the top 100 money earnings list, and/or for those who are frequently making headlines in the news starting with the 2006 Triple Crown season.


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