JoAnn Hayden co-owns the picturesque Dark Hollow and Safely Home Farms in Upperco with her husband David. She plays an active role in the operation of both farms, which total 135 acres. She is a first generation horsewoman.
Hayden has been breeding and racing for more than 40 years. She has bred or co-bred more than 50 stakes horses, including 17 graded stakes runners, of which nine were graded stakes winners. Three won Grade 1s. Poseidon’s Warrior won the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap in 2012, and Homeboykris won the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes in 2009.
Hayden’s most accomplished horse was Safely Kept, who won 24 of 31 races and earned $2.2 million. She won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint in 1990 and the Grade 1 Test Stakes in 1989 – as well as 10 other graded stakes. She was champion sprinter in 1989 and an inductee into Thoroughbred racing’s Hall of Fame in 2011.
Hayden taught in the Baltimore County school system for 32 years. She has eight horses in training – four of her own, four in partnership – and she owns or co-owns 12 mares, 12 yearlings, 10 sucklings and 10 stallion shares.
She is actively committed to supporting the aftercare of racehorses and finding them homes when their careers are over.
“In a national arena of industry gloom and doom, I feel there is reason for real optimism in Maryland,” she said. “The 10-year agreement guaranteeing live-racing days and the influx of slots revenues bolstering purses, incentives and facility improvements have finally provided us with credibility and stability, allowing horse owners and breeders to have hope for the future.
“I believe the number one challenge facing Maryland racing is the danger posed by the threat of losing slots revenues that are fueling our revitalization. We need to demonstrate to our legislators in Annapolis that the Maryland Jockey Club, MTHA and MHBA are working together to put the entire industry first and that slots revenue is vital for continued growth.
“I will work diligently with all parties to ensure that the newly found harmony prevails. We need to go to Annapolis with one voice.”