Owners, Breeders Buy Silverleaf Farm; To Be Resold

David Hutson's 635-acre Silverleaf Farm in Orange Lake, Fla., was sold at auction Saturday. More than 200 people were in attendance to bid on the six parcels of land that made up the facility renowned for its Jeffersonian-style barns, stone foundations and comfortable rural exterior. The farm was sold through the J.P. King Auction Co.

The three parcels that made up the majority of the commercial breeding operation, more than 625-acres, were sold for $4.462 million, and will be kept intact by a bid at the last moment, by an investment group that consisted of Silverleaf president Bob Cromartie, Chicago's Lewis and Brenda Lakin and Sequel Bloodstock's Becky Thomas.

The Lakins and Thomas own Lakland Farm in Lexington, Ky., and Lakland North in Hudson, NY. "We all have horses and we all have property, but we thought it was an incredible bargain," said Cromartie. Our plans are to lease it out, and put it right back on the market. We hadn't planned on purchasing the farm until the auction started. We bought the farm as an investment and we plan to re-market it."

There were a number of prominent underbidders on the property, including trainer/pinhooker Carl Bowling, the owner and manager of Straightaway Farm in Oxford, Fla. "We loved the quality of the grass (bahia), and thought the farm was located in a great area," Bowling said. "I wasn't interested in buying the stallion barn. I really thought we had purchased parcel three, until it was purchased in one block.

L.H. Roberts, who owns Roberts Quarter Horses, an 800-acre farm in Reddick, Fla., also was an underbidder on one of the parcels, according to realtor George DeBenedicty, of Pegasus Realty and Associates Inc. "He was interested in the parcel with the stallion barn.," said DeBenedicty, who represented Roberts. "He stands a number of stallions. He's still interested in that particular parcel.

Hutson, CEO of D.W.Hutson's Land Group, had formerly owned the original Summerfield, Fla.-based Silverleaf Farm, before selling it to Satish Sanan, in April 1998 for $7.5 million. It was renamed for Sanan's Padua Stables. Hutson, had been dispersing his horses at various sales over the past year, had intimated in July 1999 that he intended to sell the Orange Lake facility.