Twenty-two years after Power by Far’s last race, breeder/owner Barbara Geraghty still recounts his career with wonder and awe. Those sentiments resonate with everyone who knows the 27-year-old stallion.
Bred and foaled at Castle Rock Farm, Power by Far returned upon his retirement in 2000 and remains there. The 170-acre West Chester, Pa., property was purchased in 1957 by Geraghty’s father, Joseph Giangiulio. Her brother, Peter Giangiulio, still manages and lives on the farm.
Castle Rock and its horses are a family affair in every sense. Power by Far’s sire, Power of Mind (Mr. Prospector—Youthful Lady, by Youth) also stood at Castle Rock. Dam Farrah Foxet (T. V. Commercial—Foxy J. G., by Mister Pitt) was owned by Geraghty and bred by her mother. Stakes winner and Pennsylvania-bred stalwart Foxy J. G. was bred and trained by Joe Giangiulio and raced in the Castle Rock silks. Her sire, Mister Pitt, stood at the farm. Parx Racing cards the Foxy J. G. Stakes, a 7-furlong contest for fillies and mares, annually.
“Power by Far – we call him Garth – was never a foal,” Pete Giangiulio said. “He was born mature. He had presence. He believed in himself.”
Giangiulio remembers asking their trainer, the late Tony Correnti, his opinion of Power by Far when the 2-year-old arrived at his Philadelphia Park barn in 1997. Correnti wasn’t one to trumpet the abilities of his charges, leaning instead toward the less said, the better.
“Tony, is he worth the time?” Giangiulio asked.
“Ohhhh, I think so,” came the reply.
Power by Far got better from there.
The chestnut colt didn’t waste any time proving Correnti right. Breaking his maiden in his second start, he won two of four in his freshman season. As a 3-year-old in 1998, Power by Far soared – with Geraghty frequently asking, “Is this really happening?”
It was. Eleven starts, seven wins – five in stakes races, three seconds and one third.
“We’d had other horses, of course, but nothing like him,” Geraghty said. “He was just super-duper, I’ll tell ya. It was like a dream, just so exciting. Something you never think will happen to you.”
Power by Far filled Geraghty’s home with plenty of crystal and silver, a MATCH Series sprint championship, and state-bred awards.
“He was Pennsylvania-bred 3-Year-Old Champion and co-Horse of the Year,” Giangiulio added.
The train kept rolling in 1999: 13 starts; three stakes wins; thirds in Philadelphia Park’s Breeders’ Cup Handicap-G3 and Aqueduct’s Gravesend Handicap-G3. But his most notable outing that year came at Pimlico on Preakness Day with a start in a particularly memorable Maryland Breeders’ Cup Handicap-G3. He finished seventh after an inebriated patron walked onto the track and threw punches at the field coming down the stretch.
Power by Far always took his race on the road. In addition to his home track, Philadelphia Park, he won at Delaware Park, Penn National, Colonial Downs, Meadowlands and Laurel Park, which Geraghty maintains was the horse’s favorite. He made three starts at the Maryland track – all stakes wins.
“He would get off the van at these different tracks and look around like ‘OK, I’m ready,’ ” she said. “I think they hated to see us coming. We sent him down to Florida for a little vacation, and they said when he got off the van he looked around like ‘Where’s the racetrack? Why am I here?’ ”
Power by Far ran four times as a 5-year-old in 2000, adding two more stakes wins – Laurel’s Hoover and Endless Surprise – to an already impactful resume. He retired that September with a record of 32-15-4-5 and $544,335, giving Geraghty and Giangiulio serious clout to add to the Castle Rock stallion roster for 2001.
At stud, Power by Far produced several six-figure earners, including Powerful Sun ($249,246), Xtra Power ($252,262), Nibiru’s Return ($343,421) and Power by Leigh ($411,948). His best progeny is Power of Snunner, multiple graded-stakes-placed winner of $638,685. Power of Snunner won the Foxy J. G. Stakes in 2015 and 2018. Purchased by Ronyld Wise for $65,000 at Keeneland’s November sale in 2018, she produced a Mendelssohn colt in 2020 and a filly by Hard Spun in 2021.
“You have to realize that this horse did it with mares that nobody thought anything of,” Giangiulio said. “Power by Far took these mares and really helped them.”
Geraghty and Giangiulio have two more hopefuls waiting in the wings – both produced from the Snuck In mare Rage of Aquarius. Three-year-old Power of Aquarius is with Correnti’s son, Armand, awaiting his first start. Prince Lucas, now 2, will follow along this year.
Power by Far shares VIP status at Castle Rock with two other senior stallions – 22-year-old Rimrod and Harry the Hat, now 33 and the featured Pensioner on Parade in the December 2019 edition of this magazine. But this time last year, Geraghty and Giangiulio feared they would lose Power by Far when he required surgery for a twisted intestine.
“They had to cut it out and resection it, and the first surgery didn’t work,” Geraghty said. “So they had to go back in, and I thought, ‘Oh here we go, we’re gonna lose this guy.’ They redid it, and he made it through. Unionville Equine performed the surgeries. They called me every day with progress reports; some days they weren’t so good. But they really did a wonderful job, and he is back to his old self. And I think the reason he is still alive is because he’s such a fighter. Now he’s got the rest of his life to live in comfort.”
“They were telling Barbara that at his age – he was 26 – the surgery was so risky,” Giangiulio said. “But she said, ‘He gets every chance he can to survive.’ That’s just what we do. I go up to the stallion barn every evening to check them, give them a little feed, a little hay and water. And if I take a little too long getting his feed, he’s giving me hell – so it’s great.”
Both give endless credit for the horses’ care to farm manager June Hillman, on the job since 1995.
“June is on the other side of ridiculous as far as how hard she works. She’s one of those people who’ll have her sandwich in her mouth as she’s working,” Giangiulio said. “We have 110-percent faith in her, and man she’s a hell of a horsewoman. She loves these horses every bit as much as we do, if not more.” Giangiulio admits he could go on about Power by Far for hours, but instead summed him up perfectly.
“He is, in a word – indomitable. He’s the man. And the only time I’ve ever seen that horse pin his ears was in a race. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He’s just ridiculously special. He’s the horse of a lifetime.”