Bonnie M. Heath III
Lonny T. Powell
|Linda Appleton Potter
|Joseph M. O'Farrell III
Charlote C. Weber
Dr. Phil Matthews has been a practicing equine veterinarian in Marion County for nearly 30 years. He came to Ocala in 1981 as an associate veterinarian at Peterson and Smith Equine Hospital and became a partner in that practice in 1984. His veterinary affiliations include the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). He has served on several committees for the AAEP and is a past member of the board of directors.
Dr. Matthews has been a speaker and instructor at various veterinary venues around the country and internationally. Dr. Matthews has also been involved in the Thoroughbred industry in several other capacities. He bought his first Thoroughbred in 1983. As a farm owner and breeder, he has had the good fortune of raising several stakes winners and has been involved in all facets of the industry including sales and racing.
Brent Fernung has been involved in the Florida Thoroughbred industry for some 30 years. He and his wife, Crystal, own and operate Journeyman Stud in northern Marion County. Journeyman Stud is the home of Wildcat Heir, currently the leading first year stallion in North America for 2009, as well as other stallions Bwana Charlie, Circular Quay, Cowtown Cat, Exclusive Quality, Gaff, Indy Wind, Mass Media, Saint Anddan, Sweet Return and Teuflesberg.
Fernung began his career working for Lasater Farm during that farms heyday in the late 1970s. When Lasater Farm closed in 1984, Fernung's next position was on the same property as the farm manager for Franks Farm/Southland Division. In 1989, the Fernungs established Journeyman Bloodstock Services. Fernung took on the additional responsibility as the General Manager of Cloverleaf Farm from 2000 until that farm closed in 2007.
Fernung purchased Eileen's Moment, the dam of Lil E. Tee just months before that horse won the 1992 Kentucky Derby. In 2001, Fernung as agent for Cloverleaf Farm purchased the mare I'll Get Along. I'll Get Along's weanling of that year was Smarty Jones, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2004. In November of 2004, Fernung, as agent, sold I'll Get Along for $5,000,000 in public auction, the highest priced broodmare to sell in the world that year. Several days after selling I'll Get Along, Fernung, again as agent for Cloverleaf, purchased the mare, Apasionata Sonata, carrying grade 2 stakes winner, Bsharpsonata, Florida-bred 3-year-old filly champion of 2008. Apasionata Sonata's 2-year-old of 2009 is the highly regarded graded stakes winning colt, Backtalk, also a Florida-bred.
Fernung is a past member of the board of directors of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company and was named the 2004 Florida Farm Manager of the Year.
Born and raised in south Florida, George Russell first visited the Ocala area in 1971. He and his wife, Karen, were impressed with the area’s beauty, the slower paced lifestyle and the many beautifully manicured horse farms. In 1987 they purchased 158 acres on 225A and established Rustlewood Farm.
Their initial purchase of four yearling fillies from neighbor Elmer Heubeck yielded Rustlewood’s first stakes winner. All Considered won the I Guarantee Stakes at Gulfstream Park and went on to produce a number of winners for the Russells, including Consider the Source, winner of the 2005 My Dear Girl Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes.
In addition to these black-type winners, Rustlewood has also bred, raised and/or raced stakes horses All Milady, All in the Book, Blue Pepsi Lodge, Inside Affair, as well as multiple Grade 1 winner Chaposa Springs, Grade 1 winner You and I, Group 2 winner Distinctly North, Grade 2 stakes winner Mach Ride and multiple graded stakes-placed Pat N Jack.
Russell is the founder and current President of Russell Engineering, Inc. He is a past Chairman of the Board and current board member of the Florida Transportation Builders’ Association (FTBA). He currently serves on the board of the FTBA Scholarship Fund and the Ocala Thoroughbred Racing Association.
Sheila DiMare and her husband, Jim, have owned and operated Rising Hill Farm in Ocala since 1985. With Sheila serving as farm manager, the DiMares have developed Rising Hill Farm into one of the most successful operations in the industry.
The DiMares, who race under the name J.D. Farms, have bred and raised approximately 30 stakes winners, including Grade 1-winning millionaire Captain Squire, recent turf star Bim Bam, Florida-bred champion and Spinster Stakes (G1) winner Plenty of Light, graded stakes winners El Cielo, Light Dancer, Wise Answer, Dansetta Light and many others.
The DiMares are consistently among the state’s leading breeders. They register between 45-60 Florida-bred foals each year.
DiMare served as a director on the boards of Florida Equine Publications Inc. and the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association. In addition, she has served as vice president of the Florida Thoroughbred Farm Managers and serves on the Marion County Extension Equine Program Advisory Committee and is on the Board of Race Track Chaplaincy of America Inc., Ocala Council.
Bonnie Heath III was first introduced to the Thoroughbred industry as a child when his father campaigned Needles in partnership with Jack Dudley in the mid 1950s. Bonnie’s first recollection of the business was attending Hialeah to watch morning workouts. The Heath family lived in Ft. Lauderdale for much of that time and moved to Ocala in the fall of 1956, the same year Needles became the first Florida-bred to win the Kentucky Derby.
Bonnie worked on the farm every summer beginning at age eight. He graduated Ocala High School in 1967 and graduated Oklahoma State University in 1971 with a degree in business administration.
Bonnie married his wife, Kim, in 1988. Together, they took over the management of Bonnie Heath Farm in 1991 and turned it into a full service operation, standing stallions, training, selling at auction, boarding, and foaling the family horses, as well as those of select clientele. The first foal born at Bonnie Heath Farm after Bonnie and Kim took over was subsequent Horse of the Year and Champion Three-Year-Old Holy Bull. Other top runners bred, raised or trained at Bonnie Heath Farm include Honor Glide, Quick Mischief, A in Solciology, His Honor, Epic Honor, Outstander and Kalu.
Bonnie is a past board member of The Centers, the Ocala Farm Ministry, and the Marion County Sheriff’s Advisor.
New FTBOA CEO Lonny Powell moved to Ocala and Florida in January of 2012 following his recruitment and subsequent hiring by the FTBOA Board upon the culmination of a national search to replace longtime executive vice president, Dick Hancock. Raised by a Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing family (his father having been a jockey for more than 25 years primarily based in Southern California though with some time riding at Hialeah and Tropical), Powell has literally spent every day of his life and career somehow connected to the horse and/or pari-mutuel industries. Possessing one of the most diverse and accomplished résumés in the industry, he may be the only person in the history of the industry to have served at the helm as a track president, corporate officer, regulator, trade association CEO, service provider and state horsemen’s owner and breeders group leader. Though primarily a Thoroughbred man, Powell has also worked with Quarterhorses, Greyhounds and Standardbreds.
During his early days in racing, he worked as a jockey valet, assistant starter and track maintenance worker at small tracks in Idaho and Arizona. He completed his collegiate studies at the University of Arizona where he returned a short-time later at the invitation of the University to serve as Director of the very same Race Track Industry degree program that he, himself, had actually graduated from.
Known by many as an enthusiastic advocate and communicator for and student of the sport, much of Powell’s meteoric career has been spent presiding as president, CEO or COO over the operations of numerous successful race tracks of all sizes and breeds. During his management tenure, Powell helped lead his teams and facilities to various all-time wagering and attendance numbers for tracks in such diverse and competitive markets as Longacres near Seattle, Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Multnomah near Portland and Southern California’s Santa Anita Park. As the first corporate officer hired for what was then emerging Magna Entertainment Corp as the EVP-Operations Powell additionally oversaw the presidents, facilities and budgets over all Magna tracks which, at the time, included Gulfstream Park in Florida, Golden Gate Fields and Bay Meadows race courses in California in addition to Santa Anita. As part of his previous corporate responsibilities, Powell had worked closely with Hialeah, Calder, the FHBPA and FTBOA.
In addition to his expertise in race track management and academic programs, Lonny has had the opportunity to run an international membership regulatory association such as RCI (Racing Commissioners International) as its CEO, serve on Governor Jan Brewer’s Cabinet as was the case with his Director of Racing & Boxing position with the State of Arizona. Additionally, he was recruited to serve as a top executive for then advanced deposit wagering leader Youbet.com where he also doubled as Chief Compliance Officer while also chairing the Policy and Internal Review committees for the publicly-held corporation.
As the proprietor of his own successful management and consulting company (Lonny Powell Strategy & Solutions, LLC of Lexington, Ky.) Powell has had the opportunity to advise a wide variety of CEOs in the racing, gaming, agriculture and business management spaces. A short listing of Powell’s past clients include: NTRA, Multi-Media Games, Am West Entertainment, the TRPB (Thoroughbred Racing & Protective Bureau), Equest Racing Stables and Bethlehem Farm.
A previous owner of racing Thoroughbreds and hunter-jumpers, Powell has been recognized by numerous industry groups for his service to the people, animals and industry on a national basis. Such recognition included the RCI William H. May Award, the University of Arizona John K. Goodman Outstanding Alumni Award, the UA RTIP Distinguished Service Award, the University of Arizona President’s Club Award, the Arizona Racing Commission Award of Service and the AQHA Winners Circle Award. He has also been recognized for his work with numerous charities and organizations such as founding president of the Blue Grass Farms Chaplaincy, founding member of the UA RTIP Advisory Council, Vice Chair of the AQHA Racing Council, NTRA Director, TRA Director, RCI Director, Arizona 4-H State Board of Trustees Treasurer and National Secretary for the Race Track Chaplaincy of America.
Powell is the former president of the Idaho (FFA) Future Farmers of America Association as well as the state’s public speaking champion and national poultry judge finalist. In addition to race track management he majored in Animal Sciences from the schools’ College of Agriculture. He is a frequent invitee and presenter at numerous industry conferences and conclaves throughout the world. He specializes in business and association turn-arounds, reorganizations, development, public relations, government and regulatory affairs.
Linda Appleton Potter has been a regular visitor to Marion County since her mother's death in 1998. During the past 12 years she has become more and more involved in the fabric of not only Bridlewood Farm, but also the Ocala community where she has made and cultivated many new friends.
Linda , a resident of Hailey, Idaho, is the daughter of Arthur and Martha Appleton, who built Bridlewood Farm in Ocala in 1976. She is a 1973 graduate of Wellesley College and after teaching for a short time, she has devoted almost all of her time to her family and community service.
Like her parents she has an innate strong sense of stewardship for the land, horses, and employees of the farm and is passionate about her parents' legacy being perpetuated through the future of Bridlewood and Marion County. She loves the simple raw beauty of the farm, the many good memories past and present,and particularly the challenge of breeding and raising a good racehorse.
"My father's dream was to race or breed classic winners, and now that he has passed away, it is my fervent desire to make that dream come true...over and over again."
Linda was an elected member of the Solana Beach School District Board of Trustees for nearly 16 years, serving 8 of them as president. She sat on the North County Consortium for Special Education which served 13 school districts in San Diego for 15 years. She was also member of the San Diego National Charity League and its president in 1996. Linda taught art as a volunteer in the elementary schools for 11 years.
In her hometown of Hailey, Idaho, Linda is a member of the Board of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts for the past 6 years. Linda and her family are involved in the STEPS scholarship program at The College of Central Florida and she is also a member of The Appleton Museum of Art Advisory Council (since 2005). In December of 2008, Linda received the Distinguished Service Award from The College of Central Florida.
A native of Louisiana, and a second generation horseman, Joe has been working and doing business in Marion County since 1970. After visiting some of the beautiful farms in Ocala, Joe knew this was where he wanted to be. After ten years at Grosse Pointe Stud Farm, Joe worked at Irish Acres Farm where he met his wife, Helen. They were married in 1983, both with a passion for horses, started Pleasant Acres Farm located on Shady Road with ten acres of land and a couple of broodmares. Pleasant Acres Farm grew to 100 acres of horses. In 2001 it was time to relocate. The search brought them to north Marion County and into Morriston where they purchased a 300-acre farm that is now the current location of Pleasant Acres Farm.
Joe and Helen have two sons, Ryan and Travis. Ryan manages ForeverSpring Farm in Kentucky, and Travis attends Blessed Trinity School in Ocala. Feeling the need for a fun family restaurant and having a love for sports, the largest sports restaurant in the area was opened in June of 2006. Just west of I-75 on Highway 27 in Ocala, you will find a building, which was once an Eckerd Drugstore, where Joe and family created Barbazon’s Sports Bar and Grill.
Pleasant Acres now has five barns, 25 paddocks and offers boarding, foaling, layups and sales prep. The farm boards approximately 150 horses owned by various clients. Joe and Helen own 40 horses of their own consisting of broodmares, weanlings and yearlings. They have raised many stakes winners including Presious Passion, the 2008 Florida Turf Champion and they are the recipients of the 2008 FTBOA Needles Award.
Fred Brei and his wife Jane established the Ocala-based Jacks or Better Farm in 1997. Brei bought his first broodmare in 1972 and was actively involved in the Illinois breeding and racing industries before moving to Marion County. A native of the Chicago area, Brei was a builder and real estate developer for 30 years. He also served as chief executive officer of Canterbury Corporation, a long-term retirement facility located in Crystal Lake, Illinois.
The Bries breed primarily to race on the 88-acre Jacks or Better Farm and have enjoyed quick success. Jacks or Better Farm’s Midas Eyes, named the Florida-bred champion sprinter of 2004, marked the first Florida-bred champion for the Breis. In 2001 and 2004, the Breis received the FTBOA Needles Award as the outstanding small breeding operation.
In addition to Midas Eyes, the farm has been represented by Florida-bred multiple graded stakes winners, Jackson Bend, Fort Loudon and 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly and Eclipse Award winning champion Awesome Feather. The Breis own Florida-bred stallions Awesome of Course, Hear No Evil, Monsieur Cat and Brooks ‘N Down.
Brei is a former FTBOA Board member and President, currently serving on the Racing Committee.
Gilbert G. Campbell has been involved in the Thoroughbred industry since 1982 and has bred/raced more than 50 stakes winners, including the multiple graded winners Marlin, winner of the 1996 Arlington Million, Blazing Sword, Ivanavinalot and Friels’ For Real.
In 1997, he was honored as Florida Breeder of the Year by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association and nationally as Outstanding Owner/Breeder of the Year by TOBA. Campbell owns Stonehedge Farm South in Williston, Florida, where he stands West Acre, Untuttable and French Envoy. He is consistently among the leading Florida breeders and has served as President of the FTBOA in 2077.
Campbell lives with his wife, Marilyn in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, and is a real estate developer in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Roy S. Lerman, a New York native and graduate of Syracuse University with a degree in political science, received his law degree from Georgetown University and practiced law in Washington D.C. for more than 30 years.
Lerman's passion for the Thoroughbred industry reeled him in and he has been an increasingly active participant as an owner, breeder and trainer for more than 40 years. One of Lerman’s greatest accomplishments to date was breeding Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) winner Alphabet Soup.
In 1980, Lerman and his wife of 40 years, Shirley, established the original Lambholm in Middleburg, VA. Looking to expand their operation, the Lermans purchased the late Allen Paulson's Brookside Farms in Reddick, Florida in 2000, which gave rise to Lambholm South. Lambholm South outgrew that location, and in 2005, the Lermans purchased Jack Dreyfus's historic 1,800-acre Hobeau Farm, where Lambholm South is now located.
Roy is an avid supporter of the Florida Thoroughbred industry and is involved in every aspect of the business, including horse rescue. Lambholm South is consistently one of the top 10 breeders of Florida-breds, and Roy has also formed a strong partnership with Tampa Bay Downs as one of that track's main supporters.
Joseph M. O’Farrell, III is a native of Ocala, Florida. His passion for thoroughbreds comes from growing up on the family farm, Ocala Stud. In his early years, O’Farrell worked on the farm mowing fields and feeding and caring for the farm’s yearlings. A member of the Boy Scouts of America, he earned his Eagle Scout award in 1994. After high school in Ocala, he went off to Erskine College in Due West, South Carolina where he was a student athlete on the tennis team. In 1999, O’Farrell graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with emphasis in Accounting. After college, he went to work for The South Financial Group and Carolina First Bank in Anderson, South Carolina.
In 2004, he moved back to Ocala and became a manager at Ocala Stud, handling the financial side of the farm. In late 2004, O’Farrell purchased the broodmare Lady Discreet along with his brother David and Ocala Stud as partners. In 2009, Lady Discreet became the producer of Calder Oaks winner Chary, by Montbrook.
Ocala Stud has been a perennial leading Florida commercial breeder and has either soley or in partnership bred more than 100 stakes winners, including Eclipse Award winning Musical Romance, and current graded stakes winners Turbulent Descent, Tackleberry, Rigoletta, Gourmet Dinner, and Shadowbdancing. Ocala Stud currently stands popular stallions High Cotton, Montbrook, In Summation, Gottcha Gold, Adios Charlie, and Silver Tree.
Joseph married Alicia W. O’Farrell in 2007. Their son Joseph “Michael” O’Farrell, IV was born in 2008.
Diane Parks is a self-professed Florida farm girl, having grown up on a cattle ranch in Ocala. Having been around horses all her life, the transition to the Thoroughbred business was an easy one when she married her late husband Scott Dudley in 1970. Dudley was the son of Jack Dudley, who raced 1956 Florida-bred Kentucky Derby winner Needles with partner Bonnie Heath as D & H Stable. Shortly after their marriage, Scott and Diane Dudley moved to Dudley Farm and took over managing the operation.
After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in education, Diane taught for 10 years at Forest High School in Ocala. Shortly thereafter, she began helping Scott manage Dudley Farm and it soon became a full-time partnership. The commercial operation enjoyed substantial success over the years.
The Dudleys were thrust into the limelight in the spring of 1997 when Florida-bred Silver Charm, bred by clients Mary Lou and Gordon Wootton and raised at Dudley farm, won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, while finishing second in the Belmont Stakes of the Triple Crown Series. The Dudleys were great ambassadors for the Florida Thoroughbred industry, being featured in stories in USA Today and during the ABC coverage of the Triple Crown races. Diane is married to Jerry Parks of Parks Equine Insurance.
Francis Vanlangendonck was born and raised in Louisiana where he started working with horses after school at the age of 14. While attending LSU he realized that horses were his true passion and thus began a self-education program that took him from New York to California to Kentucky. He learned to ride as an apprentice to the Master of the Hounds in a Richmond, Virginia Hunt Club. Eventually he took a farm manager's position in Ocala, Florida, and knew he had found a home.
Vanlangendonck has owned and managed the same piece of land in Northwest Marion County since 1983. He and his wife, Barbara, oversee Summerfield Sales Agency, Inc. which is the largest Thoroughbred sales agency based in Florida and has been one of the largest nationally for over a decade.
Summerfield has historically been a leading consignor at all the local yearling and mixed sales. A long time and faithful supporter of the Florida Thoroughbred industry, Francis has been instrumental in bringing quality stallions into the state as well as selling high-priced Florida-breds on a national level.
In September of 2009, Summerfield consigned the highest-priced filly at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $1.3 million; a Florida-bred for a Florida breeder.
Charlotte C. Weber's Live Oak Stud has been a prominent Florida Thoroughbred operation since 1968 and is a perennial leading Florida breeder. Racing under the name of Live Oak Plantation, the 4,500-acre operation has produced such outstanding racehorses as Florida-bred millionaires Solar Splendor and Sultry Song, the 1992 Florida-bred Horse of the Year, 2006 Breedersπ Cup Mile (G1) winner and champion turf male Miesqueπs Approval and Florida Derby (G1) Derby winner High Fly. This year she is represented by multiple graded stakes winner Dynaslew.
Introduced to horse racing at an early age by family members, Weber was instrumental in acquiring what had previously been the Florida farm of P.A.B. Widener III and expanding it to its current entity.
A native of Pennsylvania, Weber studied art and interior design at the Sorbonne in Paris. A member of The Jockey Club in both New York and Kentucky, she also serves as a board trustee to Campbell Soup Company; The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Thoroughbred Ownersπ and Breeders' Association; she is also a former board member of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association and is a trustee of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.