During a Breeders’ Cup week, it sometimes pays to take a glance at the local real estate, especially when, as this year, the race is staged in Kentucky. Betty Sue’s Family Farm, as Johnny Depp’s mother’s place is called, includes forty-two acres, stable capacity for a dozen horses, and could hardly be located any closer to the beating heart of American Thoroughbred breeding and racing. The six-bedroom, six-bath neo-colonial ranch, with a four-columned portico fronting its 6600 square feet, lies two miles west of Keeneland race course on Versailles Road, which is to say, smack in between the site of the Keeneland Thoroughbred Sales and the central Bluegrass clutch of the world’s winning-est breeding farms.
Which just adds to the mystery of why the attractive, warm-hearted little place hasn’t been snapped up — even if only as a luxe pied-a-terre for the many, many buyers and racers at Keeneland’s annual race meetings and its world-famous yearling sales. But the facts are that the home place was originally put on the market upon Betty Sue (Wells) Palmer’s death in 2016 at $3.3-million, which was shaved back last year to $2.8 million and now appears a full three-quarters of a million down from its 2016 price, at $1.6-million. The stock markets are doing reasonably well, despite the resolute attempt by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue’s current occupant to upset every apple-cart he can find, and the money is flowing in the Bluegrass. Betty Sue’s Family Farm is a jewel box of a Kentucky property in the heart of the heart of the Bluegrass. What happened?
The answer lies partly in the modesty of the house itself, which, though solid and capaciously built out, is still unavoidably a one-level ranch. It was, also, a comfortable, sweet, lived-in home. Those two facts themselves can be seen as hindrances or advantages to a sale, but given the outsized grandeur of the immediately surrounding central Bluegrass breeding farms, not to mention Keeneland’s massive, gracious grounds themselves just down the street, Betty Sue’s place takes on an extra-modest air. It can, also, be that the emphasized modesty of the house blinds the prospective buyers a bit to the size and attractiveness of the forty-two acres and the fine stable capacity. At any rate, whatever the real-estate hivemind is thinking, Betty Sue’s place is now a steal.
The second message in the — for the real estate business — relatively swift ratcheting down of the price over the last twenty-three months is simply this: Johnny now really wants this place to sell. Ranch house, or no, he’s priced it to do just that. At $1.6-million, not even a trailer sitting on forty acres along this fabled stretch of Versailles Road seems destined to languish long on the market.