Brent Fernung

Brent Fernung

Anne M. Eberhardt

Five Questions: Brent Fernung

Owner of Journeyman Stud near Ocala, Fla., home of Wildcat Heir.

Brent Fernung is president of Journeyman Bloodstock Services and owner of Journeyman Stud near Ocala, Fla. Brent and his wife, Crystal, have been involved with Florida breeding and racing for more than 30 years and his successes are too numerous to list here. He currently serves on the board of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association and is a past member of the board of directors of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. He was named the 2004 Florida Farm Manager of the Year.

Journeyman Stud is home to first-crop sire Wildcat Heir who has sired a Northern Hemisphere record 39 2-year-old winners from his first crop in 2009. The grade I-winning son of Forest Wildcat—Penniless Heiress, by Pentelicus, is owned by Taylor Made/WinStar Venture and New Farm. Wildcat Heir has 108 foals from his initial crop with 60 starters and currently ranks fourth on the first-crop sire list by progeny earnings. He’ll stand for $6,500 in 2010.

We caught up with Brent at his training barn in Ocala Monday morning and asked him five questions:

How hard was it filling his book during Wildcat Heir’s first season in 2006?

It filled rapidly. He was a pinhooker’s dream down here in Ocala. He was a gorgeous horse, well balanced, and was fast. They took to him. His book was basically filled by Christmas-time that first year which was saying something for Florida. We never fill up that early.

He represented all the major things you look at in a stallion. There really weren’t any deficiencies with him. The deficits we normally deal with is either pedigree or race record or conformation once you get outside of Kentucky. Wildcat Heir had everything you wanted in a stallion prospect. That made the job a lot easier for me.

He was at his best as a 4-year-old and he has 39 2-year-old winners. What are your expectations as they get older and stretch out?

Some of them have already (stretched out). Wild Mia won a stakes running a mile and sixteenth on the grass and he’s had several other winners going around two turns. He’s not an automatic, Smart Strike-kind-of-horse, but the good ones will stretch on out. With American racing the way it is, speed, in the end, wins races. The good ones carry their speed further than they’re supposed to and I think that’s the way we’ll be with Wildcat Heir.

How have you kept track of all of the winners?

I pretty well know them all inside and out. They’re all on my ‘Stable Mail’ and I keep track of them through my BlackBerry. When they start breezing, I start picking up on them. If given enough time, I think I could name all 39 of them.

How does Wildcat Heir’s book look for 2010 and what is the business climate going to look like next year in Central Florida?

It’s basically full already. They’re pushing the door in on me right now. I wish I was doing as well with every horse I had.

It’s going to be tough here and it’s going to be tough everywhere. We have some problems down here we need to address with the racing at Calder and the purse structure and that nature. The FTBOA is going head-on at it and trying to do everything they can. In the meantime, we’re going to have some difficult times ahead of us here.

Do you have a New Years’ resolution?

Yeah, lose 20 pounds.