Anne M. Eberhardt/Blood-Horse Publications

M.J. Stavola Farms Property Purchased

M.J. Stavola Farms near Ocala, Fla., is purchased.

A South Florida entity has paid nearly $17.3 million for one of the largest farm properties located near Ocala, Fla., according to public deed records.

M.J. Stavola Farms Inc., a 1,500-acre farm developed by the late Michael J. Stavola, has been acquired by Ocala Meadows Farms Ltd. of Boca Raton. The purchase price as recorded with the Marion County Clerk of Courts was $17,257,380. An adjacent improved parcel of more than 40 acres owned by Stavola’s son, William, was also acquired for $589,260, records show.

It’s not clear what plans might be in the work for the property, as the general partner of Ocala Meadows Farms did not immediately respond to a query from The Blood-Horse seeking comment.

The property is located on U.S. 441 just north of Ocala, and is located directly east across the highway from the former Irish Acres Farm, which was sold in 2003 and is being developed into small farm estates. The annex farm of Ocala Stud is located just to the north of the Irish Acres Farm development.

Michael Stavola, who died in 1998, was the founder of Trap Rock Industries in New Jersey, which specializes in producing road construction materials. He sold the company in 1973 to his sons, William and Joseph, who also took over operation of the farm upon their father’s death.

The elder Stavola bred 15 stakes winners, including grade III winner Rident Miss, and made some noise at the 1984 Keeneland November breeding stock sale when he purchased broodmares Great Lady M. and Belonging for $2.7 million each.

Joseph Stavola, who died in 2001, and his brother also ran Middletown Stables, a New Jersey-based breeding and racing operation founded by their father that produced grade I winners Virginia Rapids, Missy Mirage, and Classy Mirage. They were honored as the top breeders in New Jersey from 1991-93 by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.