After spending the last couple of years in Illinois, Thoroughbred stallion Rattlesnake Bridge has returned to Florida to stand at stud. 

Laura Willson of LFW Farms in Ocala has been searching for connections to the stallion’s pedigree and has been following his progeny for the past six years looking for an opportunity to acquire a polo pony prospect by the son of Tapit. 

Out of Prall Street by Cherokee Run, Rattlesnake Bridge originally sold for $450,000 as a 2-year-old in 2010 through the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale. His racing career highlights include a win in the 2011 Long Branch at Monmouth Park, a second to Stay Thirsty in the Grade 1 Travers and thirds in the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) and Westchester (G3). 

Bred in Kentucky by Bill Graves and Dennis Lynch, he earned $518,000 in 11 starts with a career record of three wins, three seconds and two thirds. 

In 2013, Rattlesnake Bridge was added to the stallion roster at Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds, where he stood for $7,500.

The horse was later owned by the late country music star Toby Keith who was an enthusiastic fan of Thoroughbred racing and breeding before selling the stallion to his last owner.

Willson is new to the world of horse racing. She was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta Canada and began her career as a show jumper. While at a competition in California at the age of 17, she was introduced to the world of polo and became hooked. 

She traveled to Argentina where she immersed herself in polo. Following her stint in Argentina, she set up in Wellington and established herself as a player, trainer and breeder of polo ponies. 

With her acquisition of Rattlesnake Bridge, Willson hopes to produce not only her next crop of champion polo ponies but also make the foray into Thoroughbred breeding and racing.

“I want to race my own homebreds from him and produce some polo mounts,” she said.

She knows in some circles bringing a 16-year-old stallion back to the breeding shed is not the usual path. She’s found a fitting phrase when describing the stallion that comes from a song by his previous owner Toby Keith. 

Willson said, “Rattlesnake Bridge ‘ain’t as good as he once was, but he’s as good once as he ever was.’”

Willson has not set his stud fee but welcomes inquiries for polo breeding and for the 2025 season. For more information contact Willson at 561-670-7269 or e-mail

Return to the June 5 issue of Wire to Wire