Hickory Tree Farm, LLC is a full-scale Thoroughbred breeding, training, and racing facility located in the heart of Virginia’s horse country. Steeped in history and built on a tradition established by the previous owners who bred, trained and raced champions and stake horses such as Devil’s Bag, Hagley and Gone West, Hickory Tree’s enduring legacy continues today. Now owned by the Treptow family, the farm is redefining the next generation of Virginia-bred racehorses. Hickory Tree’s knowledgeable and caring staff provides comprehensive services anchored in a standard of excellence in breeding and training for each client engagement. The facility includes 325 prime acres of rolling pastures, a ¾ mile sand track and starting gate, broodmare facilities, a stallion barn and more.
William Ziegler Jr., the sole heir to his father's vast Royal Baking Powder fortune, hired noted New York architect William Lawrence Bottomley to design Hickory Tree's Georgian style barns and outbuildings in the early 1920’s. He also built the 7/8 of a mile training track using mule teams to pull the graders.
Sportswoman Eleonora Randolph Sears (known as "Eleo") from Boston acquired the property in 1948 and sold it in 1966. Due to a dispute with taxes she intentionally burned down the main residence in 1961. (Confederate Hall - a structure rescued and preserved by the Daughters of the Confederacy (DOC) - now stands on the site of the lost Burrland main house.)
Eleo dropped jaws at Saratoga Springs (NY) in 1954 when she paid $75,000 for Hip No. 284 - a yearling - at auction and equaled a Saratoga record established in 1928, when C.V.B. Cushman, bidding for a syndicate, paid that amount for a colt later named New Broom - which earned only $275 in its racing career. In a Sports Illustrated article she quipped of her new baby, she said: "I hope he can run, but I don't know yet."
Mr. and Mrs. James P. Mills, Sr., purchased Burrland in 1966. The main house was never rebuilt, as they had already built a house on Burnt Mill Farm, an adjacent property purchased earlier in 1951. Thus Burrland, Burnt Mill and several small farms were combined to become Hickory Tree Farm. Mrs. Mills named her farm for an old hickory tree used by Col. John S. Mosby’s soldiers as a rendezvous spot halfway between the village of Middleburg and their camp during the Civil War.
It was at Hickory Tree Farm that the great colt "Devil's Bag" was born, raised, trained and was later syndicated for a record price of $36 million in 1983.