Lakland partners Lewis Lakin, left, and Becky Thomas.

Lakland partners Lewis Lakin, left, and Becky Thomas.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Thomas, Lakin Begin Partnership Reduction

Becky Thomas and Lewis Lakin, one of the Thoroughbred industry's most dynamic teams in pinhooking and commercial breeding, have begun a major reduction of their partnership ventures.

Thomas said they have completed a "like kind" exchange of farms, with Thomas taking the portion of the former Silverleaf Farms land they owned in Florida, and Lakin taking Lakland Farm in Kentucky. They are continuing to operate Lakland North together in New York.

Last November and this past January in Kentucky, Thomas and Lakin sold some of their jointly owned horses, which Thomas said included 160 to 170 mares and their offspring.

"I think we are looking for different things within the industry," Thomas said in explaining the reason for the cutbacks. "There won't be a major dispersal; it will be a gradual reduction, lasting two to three years. We won't be adding anything new, and, in some ways, it will be a natural attrition kind of thing."

Said Lakin: "I'm 72 years old and at a time in life when I don't need to be tied up with so many assets. I need to get more liquid in my estate planning. We're going to reduce our mutual interests, but I'm going to stay in with her on the short-term type of stuff if she wants me. There isn't going to be any fire sale. My interest is not in expansion, but to cash in on what we've done, which is significant."

Thomas and Lakin have been together since the mid-1990s, when Lakin and his wife, Brenda, became investors in the Florida-based Thomas' yearling-to-juvenile pinhooking program. Thomas later became the Lakins' principal adviser when they expanded into breeding and other auction-related ventures.

Thomas and Lakin's successes included selling 2-year-olds in training for world record-setting prices. Morocco established a mark of $2 million when he was sold to Prince Ahmed Salman's The Thoroughbred Corp. at the 1999 Barretts March select juvenile auction. In 2003 at Barretts, Diamond Fury upped the record (then held by jointly by Morocco, La Salle Street, and Gotham City) when Charles Fipke bought him for $2.7 million. The mark has since been surpassed.

Thomas and Lakin bred Behaving Badly, winner of the 2006 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I).