California's Blooming Hills Sold to Parella

Northern California's Blooming Hills Inc., a full service breeding farm operated by Fran and Ron Stolich since 1979, has been sold to Pete Parella, who formerly owned Legacy Ranch in Chino, Calif.

The Stoliches, who plan to continue the operation until Aug. 1 on the 145-acre spread near the small town of Clements, said the deal was completed in mid-January.

"I'm in my 60s now," Ron Stolich said. "I've had the farm for 26 years this April. I've been working hard all of my life. I feel great. It's just that I think it's time for us to do some things I've always wanted to do, like travel. It's hard to do that when you have a ranch to take care of."

Stolich also acknowledged that the climate for the horse business has become increasingly difficult.

"The governor (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has not been kind to racing," Stolich said, noting Schwarzenegger's opposition to tracks acquiring slot machines while strongly supporting rival tribal casino interests. "It's very difficult to make money in the business of selling horses in California right now. The profit margins are thinning to almost nothing."

He said he has about a dozen mares in Kentucky that he intends to keep while selling their weanlings in that state, where he has had more success in recent years.

Blooming Hills stands the successful sires You and I-who was purchased from Kentucky for the 2004 season-and Candi's Gold, as well as young stallions Crowning Storm, D's Bertrando, and Golden Gear. Shanekite, the farm's foundation sire, died in 2002.

The Stolich-bred Lady Truffles, a daughter of Candi's Gold, won the 2004 California Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita Park in October. Don B's Princess, the 1991 California juvenile fillies champion, and Embroidered, the 2-year-old California filly champion in 1994, were foaled at Blooming Hills and sold as yearlings, as was Cal Cup Distaff winner Miss L'Attack.

The farm includes a 30-stall training barn and a half-mile training track.

Parella, who has found most of his success breeding Quarter Horses, said he plans to produce both breeds at his new ranch and will be "very aggressive about bringing in new stallions." Parella said he may enlarge the training facilities.

He's probably best known for the Quarter Horse Griswold, a world record holder at 870 yards who lost a well-publicized match race to the Thoroughbred Valiant Pete at Santa Anita in 1991. Parella said he produced seven world champions at Legacy Ranch since 1987. On the Thoroughbred side, Parella's His Legacy won the Cal Cup Starter Handicap three times – 1991, 1992 and 1994.

"We hope to continue the tradition that Ron has started at Blooming Hills," Parella said.