BY SARAH WELK BAYNUM
Reid Nagle started his professional career up north in the financial information business world.
However, the allure of warmer weather, horse country and his now wife Sarah (who he met 8 years prior at Braeburn Training Center in Crozet, Va.) brought him to Florida where he then began building his equestrian business empire.
“I moved to Florida in 2010 after obtaining my Thoroughbred training license and stepping away from day-to-day involvement at NL Financial which I founded in 1987,” Nagle said.
In late 2010, Nagle purchased Oak Ridge Training Center from Bo Yates and over the years, he acquired additional property there.
“We now own eleven of the fourteen 20-acre parcels that surround the one-mile dirt track, as well as the seven-eighths-mile turf course. Our goal has been to create the premier Thoroughbred training center in Florida—something akin to Fair Hill in Maryland. We cater to a set of trainers who occupy our 22 barns and 450 stalls—folks like Dave Scanlon, Mary Lightner, Karl Keegan, Pat McBurney and Greg Martin,” Nagle said.
Nagle and Sarah train their own small stable of Thoroughbreds.
“They used to run under my name, but now they run under Sarah’s name—she’s a far better horseman than me,” Nagle explains. “But we’ve always operated together as a mom-and-pop team along with a small group of long-term horse-loving employees. We used to primarily claim horses. But now we mostly race horses we’ve bred from broodmares we’ve claimed and fallen in love with.”
For Nagle, there are a few races and horses they claimed that are exceptionally memorable to him.
“Daddy’s Kid, whom we claimed for $35,000 in 2013, finished second by a head to Ring Weekend in the $500,000 Hill Prince (Grade 3) at Belmont in 2014. Also, Queen del Valle, whom we claimed for $25,000 in 2016, who went on to win nine of 11 races for us including the 2017 running of the Alywow at Woodbine where she set the still-standing track record for six-and-a-half furlongs on the turf,” Nagle said proudly.
Besides his Thoroughbred training facility, Nagle also owns Black Prong, a 90-acre resort surrounded on three sides by the 53,000-acre Goethe State Forest with hundreds of miles of riding trails that were founded more than 20 years ago.
“Sarah and I drove by it every day on our way to and from Oak Ridge, and one day in 2019, there was a sign posted saying it was being sold via auction,” Nagle explains. “So, we ended up buying and renovating it, and have now operated it for almost four years.
Black Prong also has a fine dining restaurant that has proven to be very popular. But he says it’s still a work in progress as they learn more about the hospitality industry and ways to appeal to a broader audience.
“Our goal is to develop training amenities that complement the World Equestrian Center and appeal to both equestrians and nature lovers who value the tranquility and beauty of Levy County and the Goethe State Forest that surrounds Black Prong,” Nagle adds.
As if Nagle wasn’t busy enough with his two other equestrian business ventures, he also owns and operates All-In Removal.
“It came about in 2011, the year after I moved to Levy County and started training racehorses,” Nagle explains. “The small business operator who supplied and emptied the manure cans at our barn was going out of business, so we purchased his broken-down truck and handful of manure cans. We expanded a year later with the acquisition of Emrick Hauling, the leading manure removal company at the time. Then in 2014, we purchased a bulk shavings delivery company that was owned and operated by Michael and Carley Earnest,” Nagle explains.
Today, Michael Earnest is All-In’s president and CEO. The company now has 35 employees, a 10-acre Ocala transfer station adjacent to I-75, 10 tractor trailers, 13 roll-off trucks, two light duty trucks, and more than 700 manure containers spread across farms in Marion, Levy and Sumpter counties.
In addition, they have an emerging joint venture with Black Kow to turn the massive quantities of horse manure that they collect into rich, aerobically composted manure and other organically rich soil additives.
Nagle and his wife are not only an equestrian-business power couple, they also find it important to give back any chance they get.
“Big Lick Gives, our charitable arm, is committed to donating $100,000 a year to local causes on behalf of all of our different businesses. In addition, the Black Prong Bar & Grill hosts the ‘Night of Giving’ on select days where 20% of that evening’s proceeds are donated to select causes. After Hurricane Idalia struck Cedar Key this past August, the Night of Giving raised a total of $25,517 for community causes. This amount reflected donations from Big Lick Gives, Black Prong’s Night of Giving and additional donations received from folks who dined that night at the Bar & Grill,” Nagle adds.
Return to the Jan. 23 issue of Wire to Wire