BY SARAH WELK BAYNUM
Vanessa Nye, a Florida native and criminal defense attorney who owns her own law firm in Tampa, followed her passion for the equine industry and became deeply involved in the world of racehorse ownership twenty years ago—and never looked back.
– Vanessa Nye
“I am the proud owner and manager of Voodoomon Racing,” Nye said. “My partner Garrett Owens and I began breeding horses in 2015 which was a venture inspired by our first horse, Voodoomon, whose legacy lives on in the name of our stable. At Voodoomon Racing, we prioritize the welfare of our horses at every stage of their lives, embracing a philosophy of responsible ownership.”
But prioritizing the welfare of her horses doesn’t stop once their racing career is over. “We believe in the importance of providing a safe and fulfilling life post-racing for every horse we purchase or breed,” Nye said.
Currently her stable includes My Voodoo Doll (a Florida-bred by Dialed In and half-brother to Ambassador Luna) who is a promising 4-year-old gelding trained by Mark Casse.
“We’re also excited about one of our mares, Spanish Ambassador, who is expecting a foal sired by Maximus Mischief, due on March 8,” Nye adds.
However, it is Ambassador Luna, a Florida-bred mare by Arindel’s Florida stallion Brethren out of Spanish Ambassador, that has been the highlight of their breeding program.
“Ambassador Luna’s consistency and competitive spirit were evident in races across the USA and Canada as she won on all three surfaces at distances from 5 to 7 furlongs. She earned nearly $400,000, starting her career with a maiden special weight win at Tampa Bay Downs. Luna excelled in the turf sprint division, achieving success at Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Ellis Park, Gulfstream Park, Turfway Park, Arlington Park, Woodbine, and other notable tracks. She was also invited to the Ken Maddy Stakes at the 2021 Breeders’ Cup,” Nye said.
“Luna won the 2020 Unbridled Sidney at Churchill Downs and became graded stakes placed by finishing second in the Franklin County (G2) at Keeneland as well as placing in the Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint at Gulfstream Park and the Laguna Distaff Turf Sprint Stakes at Ellis Park.”
Luna was recently retired a champion after winning her last race on Nov. 9, 2023 at Woodbine, covering seven furlongs on the synthetic main track.
While Luna’s retirement marks the end of a distinguished racing career, it is the beginning of a new chapter for her as a broodmare and she will begin her breeding career this Winter.
“Luna’s success is a testament to the outstanding teams and individuals who have been integral to her journey, including Jim Gulick, Ben Colebrook, Doug Cauthen, Joe and Helen Barbazon and Mark Casse, who trained Luna during different phases of her career.”
As native Floridians, representing the Florida breeding and racing program is a source of great pride for Nye and her team.
“We value the state’s commitment to enhancing racing quality and providing opportunities for Florida-breds. Our experiences in Florida, especially at Tampa Bay Downs and Gulfstream Park, have been extraordinarily rewarding. The opportunity to run on all three surfaces makes Florida great place for racing,” Nye said.
One of Nye’s most cherished experiences as a horse owner and breeder was assisting in the delivery of Ambassador Luna alongside Gulick.
“Our friends Roberta Vigil, Buff Bradley, Maulio Perez, Miguel Flores, and Dr. David Priest have all played crucial roles in advising us with our horses, particularly Luna,” Nye notes.
In addition to being an attorney and racehorse owner and breeder, Vanessa Nye is also a fashion enthusiast.
“I often find inspiration in the elegance of our horses, particularly Luna, whose beauty and confidence have influenced my style choices,” Nye explains. “I am often seen matching her distinguished fuchsia, black brow band, and colors of our stable while trying to keep up with her aura and flare!”
Voodoomon Racing is excited for 2024 and the possibilities for their horses this year.
“We take great pride in personally going out to the track to get our horses after their races and walking with them back—a practice that embodies our deep appreciation and love for them. We remain committed to the wellbeing of all our horses, including our retirees, and are eager to see what the future holds for My Voodoo Doll and our breeding program,” Nye adds.
Return to the Jan. 16 issue of Wire to Wire