The Rise and Fall of J. T. Lundy and Calumet Farm (Crime Documentary)
  • 5 years ago
"The Calumet horse farm was a considered amongst the finest in the state. That was until fraud, bribery, and conspiracy charges were levied at J. T. Lundy.

Alydar was a beautiful, proud thoroughbred, headstrong and demanding, the kind of horse who would snort impatiently if he decided the grooms were not paying him enough attention. Each day, his oak-paneled stall was swept, mopped, and replenished with fresh straw. His richly colored chestnut coat was constantly brushed. For his daily exercise sessions, he was taken to his own three-acre paddock, where he could frolic alone in perfectly tended bluegrass.His name was Alydar. To sports fans, he was known for the thrilling duels he staged with his rival, Affirmed, for the 1978 Triple Crown. But to the world’s wealthiest horse breeders, he was revered for a different reason altogether. Alydar was one of the greatest sires in Thoroughbred history—a 1,200-pound genetic wonder whose offspring often became champion racehorses themselves. Each spring, the breeders would come with their convoys of horse trailers to Kentucky’s Calumet Farm, one of the country’s premier horse-racing operations, willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to have Alydar mount their finest mares. Day after day, more than two hundred times a year, he would strut into the breeding shed, eye his latest prize, rise up on his hind legs, and begin to dance forward. Within seconds, his tail would swoosh up, signaling the end of his encounter, and he would be washed and then led away, back to the stall with his name emblazoned on the brass doorplate.

But on a chilly November night in 1990, the great stallion was found in shock in his stall, his coat glistening with sweat, his right hind leg hanging by tendons, a shaft of white bone jutting through his skin. J. T. Lundy, the rotund, blustery head of the farm, told veterinarians that Alydar had shattered his leg by kicking his own stall door. He had kicked it so hard, Lundy said, that he had knocked loose a heavy metal roller that had been bolted into the floor just outside Alydar’s sliding door.

In emergency surgery, veterinarians were able to set the bone and put a cast on his leg. But within 24 hours, Alydar, hearing the whinnying of some mares in a nearby pasture, turned to look out a window in the Calumet clinic, put too much weight on the leg, and this time broke his femur. The sound of the break was like a gunshot. As he lay on the floor, an uncomprehending look in his eyes, Alydar was put down, and his body was taken to the Calumet cemetery, where he was buried with the farm’s other racing champions. Eight months later, Calumet itself unraveled, forced to declare bankruptcy with more than $127 million in debts. According to the stories splashed on the sports pages of almost every newspaper in the country, the farm could not begin to pay its immense bills and bank loans without the millions of dollars it had been deriving from Alydar’s stud fees. Calumet was so broke that