Work started again last week on the broodmare barn on what remains of the historic Sanford Stud Farm.
The newest project will complete the stabilization of the barn, protecting it from the elements and further deterioration, Sam Hildebrandt, president of the Friends of the Sanford Stud Farm, the organization raising money to repair the barn, said.
Currently work is being done to the training ring, which is the round section of the building that faces Route 30. Newkirk Excavation is removing rock and fill placed in the training ring a century ago, Hildebrandt said.
Once excavation is complete, workers from Kucell Contractors will do work to stabilize the walls and roof. Hildebrandt said the work should take between three and four weeks and will prepare the structure for a new roof, which should take a week to complete, depending on the weather.
“Then it will be buttoned all up and safe from the elements and we don’t have to worry about further deterioration,” he said.
Owned by Stephen Sanford of the Bigelow-Sanford Carpet Company and his heirs, the Sanford Stud Farm, or Hurricana Farms, is a large part of thoroughbred racing history, producing dozens of prize-winning race horses
Last summer, the Friends secured the walls and roof and painted sections of the main barn.
Hildebrandt said he hopes luck will be on the organization’s side and the new section could be primed and painted this fall, which will improve the aesthetics of the building, he said.
Hildebrandt said the barn has come a long way in the four years since the Friends set about to save the structure, which is owned by the town of Amsterdam.
“I did think it would be done, but not necessarily in my lifetime,” Hildebrandt said.
There is still a lot of work to do before the restoration is complete. The ultimate goal would be to use the barn, which dates back to the mid-1800s, as a visitor’s center or museum.
Nothing has been touched inside the old barn, including plumbing and electrical.
As with any non-profit organization, the Friends’ work is dependent on donations and grants. The current project is financed through a $42,000 grant from the Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust of Saratoga Springs.
Hildebrandt said the Friends estimated that the entire project would cost between $65,000 and $70,000; however Hildebrandt said if work continues as planned it will be less. The town of Amsterdam also budgeted $25,000 for the project, but Hildebrandt said the Friends are trying not to use it because the town won’t be able to financially support their efforts forever.
The third annual “Lunch with the Friends” fundraiser Thursday at the 95th running of the Sanford Stakes brought in more than $5,000, Hildebrandt said. Stephen Sanford’s great-great-grandson, Pierre Manigault, attended the event, which saw an increase in attendance, Hildebrandt said,
Hildebrandt also sold a few copies of his new book “Hurricana: Thoroughbred Dynasty, Amsterdam Landmark” at the fundraiser. A portion of the proceeds from the book will benefit the efforts of the Friends.