GALLOWAY, Ohio (WCMH) – Among the many passions of Queen Elizabeth II in her life, none may have been greater than her love of horses. And that devotion to horses has a connection to central Ohio.

In 1935, John Galbreath bought land in Galloway and named it “Darby Dan Farm.” Through the years, it would become a successful horse breeding and training farm. The operation produced two Kentucky Derby winners and an English Darby (now called Epsom Derby) winner in 1972.

That win caught the attention of the Queen. And so, the next year, the U.S. Ambassador in England invited Galbreath to dinner with her majesty, knowing their mutual love of horses may make for good conversation.

“And he just loved it because she was so passionate about horses and that’s what I guess excited him because he was passionate about horses as well,” said Squire Galbreath, John’s grandson. “They sat together and from what I hear, they talked all dinner long and she didn’t even turn to the other side to the other guests because they were so involved in the horse racing world.”

At some point, the conversation turned to one of Galbreath’s best fillies, Primonetta, retired from racing and now serving broodmare duty.

“One of the protocols for the Queen is if she talks about a subject and really gets into the subject and asks 2-3 questions about a specific subject, you’re supposed to somehow gift it to her,” explained Squire. “The Queen, being very knowledgeable about horses, asked about her several times and so Grandfather gave the Queen Primonetta’s very last baby before she died.”

In response to the gift, the Queen wrote Galbreath a note, writing in part, “I would like to offer you most sincere thanks for a very good-looking and superbly bred animal. I think it is very kind of you to have offered a racehorse of your own breeding as a silver wedding present and I am extremely grateful to you. Yours sincerely, Elizabeth R.”

That note remains on the farm at Darby House, along with other mementos from Primonetta, who is buried on the property.

“It’s a neat connection to be able to think that one of our horses from Galloway, Ohio was actually over there in England,” said Squire. “It’s incredible a little boy from Mount Sterling, Ohio who had 6 brothers and sisters and had nothing. Sold yearbooks in college to get through college and then he sits next to the Queen for dinner. That’s pretty amazing.”