Houck’s best homebred thus far has been Fear the Facelift, a Pennsylvania-bred daughter of the Cape Town stallion Fear the Cape, whom she also campaigned.
Residences: A 15-acre farm on the Wye River near Queenstown, Md., and a home in Fort Pierce, Fla.
Owns: Six horses in training (two at Charles Town, four at Laurel Park); four yearlings at Elloree Training Center in South Carolina; several broodmares and a pensioner at Maryland farm.
Trainers: Jeff Runco and Donald Barr.
A native of Baltimore, Barbara Houck and her husband, Errol, are successful semi-retired real-estate entrepreneurs who divide their time between homes in Maryland and Florida. The Houcks’ real-estate dealings include developing St. Lucie County International Airport in Florida as well as managing 90 acres at the site, which is home to a flight school and restaurant.
The Houcks have two children: Heather, a dermatologist and equestrian, who lives near Wellington, Fla., and Adam, an engineer who co-owns Coltons Point Marina in southern Maryland.
Houck’s best homebred thus far has been Fear the Facelift, a Pennsylvania-bred daughter of the Cape Town stallion Fear the Cape, whom she also campaigned. The now 5-year-old gray mare made her first 21 starts for Houck, which included a win in the 2013 President’s Day Handicap at Charles Town, before being claimed last June at Presque Isle Downs. Since the claim, Fear the Facelift captured the “Cavada” Breeders Classic Stakes at Charles Town in October, and placed in two other stakes. She has total earnings of $306,391 from 26 starts.
Houck spoke with Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred contributor Linda Dougherty:
Getting into racing:
We’ve been involved in Thoroughbred racing for more than 40 years. The first horse I ever bought won his first race, and I thought “oh boy, this is easy.” But for the next 40 years, I found out otherwise.
We had bought Cold Saturday Farm (a late 18th century estate listed on the National Register of Historic Places) in Finksburg, Md., which was 125 acres, and kept horses there (in the mid 1970s). Now we have a 15-acre farm on the Wye River that has a four-stall barn and a tenant house, and we have broodmares and a pensioner, Smashing Beau, who raced for me and won a few stakes and more than $300,000.
Fear the Facelift:
We raced her sire, Fear the Cape, and he was bred as well as any horse there is, so when he was through racing he went to stand in West Virginia. We supported him, and I sent my mare Twochindordor (by Vice Regent) to him and got a very nice gray filly.
She was named by my friend Leslie Ruth. I thought, “what do you do with a mare named Twochindordor?” So Leslie came up with “Fear the Facelift.”
When she was a young horse, she cut her leg so badly that I didn’t think she’d ever race. She sliced her rear leg right to the cannon bone; it happened during a big snow and we’re not certain how she did it. Dr. Judy Tubman worked on her and sent us pictures of the leg; it was terrible, and I thought it was the end of her career. But everything worked out and she’s always been a very sound horse, she’s never had an issue. My husband was upset when she was claimed from us (for $40,000), but she was good to us and it’s part of the business.
What the future holds:
I had been foaling my mares in West Virginia and Pennsylvania but now Maryland is going to have such a good program that I’m going to start foaling them in Maryland. What I would like to see is restricted races for Maryland-breds, not just restricted stakes races.
I’ve been trying to upgrade my program–this year I bought yearlings by Street Sense, Curlin, Divine Park and a half-sister to Fear the Facelift by Monba. I sent them all to Franklin Smith at Elloree Training Center in South Carolina, he does a great job with young horses.
My ultimate goal is to breed or own a graded stakes winner.