Pharmaceutical executive Eugene Melnyk has signed an agreement to purchase Mockingbird Farm in Ocala, Fla., from Harry T. Mangurian Jr., the leading breeder in 1999 and 2000 in North America by purses earned. Mangurian, who is on top of the breeders' standings again in 2001, is no longer in the breeding business after dispersing nearly of all his stock.
"I have been looking for a major property to consolidate my training operation in Florida," Melnyk said. "It is particularly gratifying to obtain a farm with such a compelling record of excellence. We hope to continue in that tradition."
Melnyk, who looked at approximately a dozen farms, brought Mockingbird primarily as a training center. He plans to covert the farm's five-furlong dirt track into an all-weather track. He also will build a mile dirt track with a seven-furlong turf course inside.
Melnyk owns more than 60 broodmares and more than 100 horses in training. Phil Hronec has been hired to oversee the training operation at Mockingbird. Hronec has been the farm manager and trainer for Franks Farm near Ocala since 1994. He had previously trained horses on the Southern California circuit.
Melnyk, who lives in Barbados, is the founder of Biovail Corporation, one of the world's fastest growing pharmaceutical companies. His large racing stable is divided primarily among trainers Phil England and Todd Pletcher. Josie Carroll and Mike Hushion also train horses for Melnyk, who has been a leading buyer at the yearling sales in recent years.
The best horses raced by Melnyk include Tweedside, Marley Vale, Graeme Hall, Pico Teneriffe, Sam Lord's Castle, Ruby Park, Airy Hill, and Queen's Park. Melnyk campaigned classic winners Archer's Bay and Lodge Hill in his native Canada in partnership with Bill and Iris Bristow.
A 1,000-acre property, Mockingbird is located on State Road 200 in Ocala.