Horse racing enjoyed a banner year in 1978. Affirmed and Alydar’s rivalry catapulted them to the top of the sport; a talented juvenile, Spectacular Bid, topped his division; and, near Georgetown, Ky., Catherine Parke founded Valkyre Stud.
Looking back on her career in breeding, raising and consigning, Parke always knew that the equine life was for her. She rode horses as a child and entered the Thoroughbred business “as a way to be around horses all the time and make a living out of it.” After graduating from the University of Kentucky in 1972, she worked for well-known consignors Lee Eaton and Victor Heerman, renowned horseman Henry White, then three years as a bloodstock agent for Bloodstock Research and Statistical Bureau.
Parke purchased her farm one year after buying her first mare, fifteen-year-old Oldest Girl. Parke sold Oldest Girl’s weanling at the Keeneland sales to finance her farm’s down payment. At any given time, Valkyre houses a maximum of 35-40 mares. It is currently home to 28 weanlings of which half will be sold as yearlings, the remainder will be retained by their breeders to race.