Racing towards Ocala
The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved use of the tagline “Horse Capital of the World” for Ocala, Florida in 1999. Since then, its equine industry has only grown. And not only in one discipline; horsemen and horsewomen travel to Ocala from all over the world for English and Western riding, as well as Thoroughbred racing. While all horses are loved and enjoyed in Marion County, there is a special place in everyone’s hearts for the giants who’ve raced. Ocala’s own Silver Charm won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes in ’97. Followed by Real Quiet, who won the first two thirds of the Triple Crown in 1998. 2015 marked the first year for a Triple Crown win in over 35 years as American Pharaoh sailed past the finish line at the Belmont Stakes, but the last champion to achieve such a feat was Affirmed in 1978, born here in Ocala.
With a history rich in Thoroughbred greats and the weather complimentary for training, it wasn’t difficult for Frank Stronach to settle on Ocala as one of the three homes for his prized athletes at Adena Springs. While there are also Adena Springs farm locations in Kentucky and Ontario, the expansion to the farm’s current state in Ocala was completed in 1999, centralizing the regional operation in one location and encompassing more than 3,800 acres of some of the best land to raise thoroughbreds in Florida.
As with all of Mr. Stronach’s passionately driven enterprises, Adena Springs is operated with goals and practices kept in mind, deserved of the amazing creatures it raises and trains. The well being of future racers, standing stallions and broodmares is never compromised and the effects are seen in Adena Springs’ successes. Frank Stronach and Adena Springs have earned a total of 12 Eclipse Awards, including a record eight for Outstanding Breeder. Adena Springs is the breeder of five Eclipse Award Champions: Macho Uno (200 YO Male), Perfect Sting (2000 Female Turf), Ghostzapper (2004 Horse of the Year & Older Male), Ginger Punch (2007 Older F/M) and Judy the Beauty (2013 Female Sprinter). Adena Springs is the leading breeder in Breeders’ Cup history by money won and is the breeder of a co-record six Breeder’s Cup champions including the first to breed a Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner who sired a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, Awesome Again in 1998. Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer, Ghostzapper, was also bred and raced by Adena Springs. Between racing success and breeding successes, there is no question to the dedication Mr. Stronach has to preserve the sport and the breed.
To further honor these greats, Member Guest Golf Tournaments are being held at nearby Adena - a private and exclusive Stronach golf club in Ocala named after some of the famous champions in the Adena thoroughbred family. The Ghostzapper Member Guest was held on September 25th and a second tournament on December 11th celebrated Awesome Again.
The Stronach family’s commitment to first-class racing comes from their commitment to the horse; it is the drive to excel in every aspect of horsemanship that Frank refers to as a “labor of love, [his] passion.”