Plumley Farms Offered for Sale as Turn-Key Operation

Harold Plumley has put his Florida Thoroughbred property and business for sale as a turn-key operation, a move the horse owner and breeder said is part of prudent financial planning.

Plumley, who served as president of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association for parts of four years from 2001-2004, is offering a sales package that includes the primary farm infrastructure on 466 acres of his property located northwest of Ocala, Fla., as well as about 100 horses, along with other features.

“It isn’t like we have to liquidate, and it isn’t that we are unhappy with Marion County or the Thoroughbred industry. It’s simply an estate planning move," said Plumley, who bought the farm in 1995 after selling his successful Ohio-based rubber company.

“I am 80 years old, and I recognize that I am not immortal,” Plumley added with a chuckle. “(Wife) Opal and I have four sons, and none of them want to run the farm or take it over, so I decided to sell it as a package unit.”

The operation is listed with Pegasus Realty for $31,650,000.

Plumley, who will retain about 220 acres for his family’s personal use, said he thought the package sale was a good idea.

“It seems that operations of our size or larger have gone about the process in a segmented way,” he said, noting large dispersals of such prominent Florida operations as Harry T. Mangurian’s Mockingbird Farm and the Sherman family’s Farnsworth Farms. “They sell the horses at auction and then sell the land, and the employees go hither and yon," he said.

“We have a package together so that if someone comes in and writes me a check today, they will be in the horse business tomorrow with a seasoned workforce.”

Plumley also has interests in Florida-based stallions Sweetsouthernsaintand Trippi, and said he will consider selling those as part of the sale.

Despite the recent loss of such stallion operations as John Sykes’ Cloverleaf Farm II and Satish and Anne Sanan’s Padua Stables, Plumley believes Florida is still a good place for a Thoroughbred business.

“Hopefully, my move will bring in someone else who will help it take off,” Plumley said of the Florida industry. “I see the Thoroughbred industry holding its own or even improving in Florida.”

Pegasus, which is operated by broker George De Benedicty, also has a couple other notable Ocala-area properties listed:

* Winter Haven Farm is the almost 1,100-acre operation owned by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr., who purchased the bulk of the property for $24 million in 2005. The farm, which was expanded in 2006 with the $2.45-million purchase of the 80-acre Standardbred operation called Irving Farm, carries a list price of $85 million. The property, which has been extensively renovated, hasn’t been a Thoroughbred farm for several years, but the bulk of the property was once the Quail Roost Farm operation of the late Elmer Heubeck Jr.

* A property that was the breaking and training ground for 10 champions and two Horse of the Year winners is back on the market for $19.5 million. Developed in the 1980s as the Wooden Horse Stud operation associated with the owners of Seattle Slew, it later housed Allen Paulson’s Brookside Farm South and Roy Lerman’s Lambholm South. After Lerman purchased Jack Dreyfus’ Hobeau Farm for $12.75 million in 2005, he sold the Lambholm property to truck freight king Larry Roberts for $13.3 million in 2006. Roberts, whose equine interests are in Quarter Horses, has had the farm extensively remodeled, De Benedicty said. Saint Liam and Azeri were eventual Horse of the Year winners trained on the farm’s track, and join a national champion group trained there that includes Slew o' Gold, Personal Ensign, Epitome, Flawlessly, Ajina, Escena, Farda Amiga and Speightstown  .

In other Ocala-area farm news, part of Green Lane Farm on U.S. 27 was sold for $1.2 million and is slated to be an equine rehabilitation and sports therapy operation called The Sanctuary. Managing the buying group is Tom Grabe, an equine industry publisher and Quarter Horse showman. Grabe said he and his partners acquired about 30 acres of property, which includes a training track, two barns and several paddocks. After retooling the property, Grabe hopes to have the new facility open by Dec. 1. The property was once home to the Bazarian Training Center and Break of Dawn Training Center.

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