The Florida division of John Sykes’ Woodford Thoroughbreds sold to Danny Persaud, an entrepreneur and honored philanthropist in the Tampa area, who has renamed the 1,000-acre historic property Persaud Legacy Farms, LLC.

Persaud became interested in Thoroughbreds after attending the Kentucky Derby and later meeting American Pharoah close-up. He met John Sykes, the farm’s previous owner, through Sykes’ family where conversations organically began about the farm and the opportunity to purchase it.

“When I pulled through the farm’s gates for the first time, I told my wife Brittany, I was home,” Persaud said.

Persaud wants the farm to continue to be a legacy for all breeds of horses. His plans include offering training and boarding facilities for future racehorses, as well as eventers and show jumpers.

Persaud would like to fill the training barns with Thoroughbreds utilizing the state-of-the-art facilities and training track. According to many who have trained over the surface, the training track is the best training track in Marion County.

The picturesque rolling hills on the farm and the natural lay of the farm make it perfect for eventers. In addition, the farm has paddocks and facilities for breeding and stallion operations.

His vision includes opportunities for equine therapy riding and ways the community can enjoy the farm with events, meetings and service projects. The philosophy of giving back and lifting others up rings true in every aspect Persaud becomes involved in.

Owning a farm is not new to Persaud. He and his wife already own a 400-acre farm, Danika Farms, named after his daughter. After immersing himself in the row crop industry by meeting in person with farmers from across the country, he invested in growing row crops in 2019. The farm’s goal was to upgrade the farm which was run down when he purchased it and to help people in the surrounding area by fostering a thriving community and creating jobs.

Persaud has many business ventures include a leading armored transportation service carrier throughout Florida, MidFlorida Armored and ATM Services, which he started 23 years ago, based in Tampa; Quick Claims, which helps the insurance industry streamline claims; and Commercial Real Estate.

Born in Georgetown, Guyana, bordering Venezuela in South America, Persaud came to the United States with his family as a child. His family became homeless and hungry, and it was the kindness of a stranger who helped them find shelter. At times, he lived on a bowl of cereal a day because his family could not afford food. Ready for college, he slept in his car near Florida State University for three weeks, all the while trying to figure out a way to be able to attend classes when he had no money.

Challenges like these left him with a generous heart for others. By the age of twenty-five he was helping others out including sponsoring hundreds of college students by funding, mentoring, and scholarships over the years.

His other passion is Wheelchairs 4 Kids, which is a nonprofit organization based in Tarpon Springs that is dedicated to improving the lives of children with physical disabilities by providing wheelchairs, home and vehicle modifications, and other assistive equipment at no charge to the families.

Danny Persaud has been honored many times for both his business success and philanthropic efforts. In 2023, he was honored as businessman of the year by the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce. He has also been named CEO of the Year and Philanthropist of the Year in 2022 by the Tampa Bay Business & Wealth magazine. He was awarded the 2023 Small Business of the Year by the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce and served as chairman of the America Heart Association Ball.

Woodford Thoroughbreds owner Sykes wanted the Florida Farm to continue thriving with Persaud’s vision. Sykes and the Woodford breeding program’s story is one of passion, commitment and graded stakes success. Originally purchased as Clover Leaf Farms II in 1997, the farm was outfitted as a facility designed for the breeding, development, and training of Thoroughbreds with focus on sales preparation and pinhooking.

The farm made headlines for selling I’ll Get Along, the dam of the Thoroughbred champion Smarty Jones, who had caught the keen bloodstock eye of now Journeyman Stud’s Brent Fernung while working there. More legendary racehorses followed including Midnight Bisou, Discreet Lover, Independence Hall, Miss Marissa, Tizamagician and Last Judgment.

For more than three decades the Woodford farm has had success at the highest levels, including last year when Sykes posted six black-type winners including Drew’s Gold, Mimi Kakushi, Vahava, Rocket Can (who also won again this month) and Sunday Shoes.

Florida-bred Isolate, winner of the $1 million Godolphin Mile (G1), was born on the farm which created a sense of pride for Sykes who also owned his sire Mark Valeski who stood for a time in Florida. Isolate will be honored as the 2023 champion older male by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ & Owners’ Association on April 15 at their annual Florida Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Gala in Ocala.

Sykes may have sold the farm, but he remains in the game. On March 12, a $700,000 Munnings filly from the Niall Brennan Stables consignment was purchased by John Sykes’ Woodford Thoroughbreds, after she ran an eighth in 9.4 seconds during the under-tack show. Also purchased by Sykes’ Woodford was a $300,000 filly by Liam’s Map.

At Tattersalls in December, he sent Will Walden on a mission to build up his stable of ‘Saturday afternoon’ type horses. Walden purchased for Sykes three European-bred fillies for a gross of $2,377,781, purchasing stakes-winners Pipsy (Ire) and Olivia Maralda (Ire) and Group 3 stakes-placed Aussie Girl (Ire).

The hope is these horses follow in the hoofprints of Sykes’ other leading horses, including Graded stakes-winner and champion sire Congrats. Under the Clover Leaf Farms II banner, he purchased Congrats from Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilscheider in the Spring of 2006 when the horse was six years old. The horse retired in July and went on to stand in Florida and later Kentucky in 2011. He sired Grade 1 winners Turbulent Descent (Test-stake, Hollywood Starlet-stakes, and Ballerina-stakes) and Wickedly Perfect (Alcibiades Stakes) in his first crop.

The recent sale of the farm included Congrats, now 24 and still a looker with near perfect conformation.

“This is my first Thoroughbred,” Persaud said as the 16.2 hand Congrats approached him from the paddock to greet him for the first time.

“My daughter made sure I brought carrots to feed him today,” he added.

If the life story of Persaud is any indication, the farm and its land will continue to serve the tradition of world class equine operations with a commitment and passion to give back to the community.

It’s also clear his passion extends to making sure that the farm’s “precious and legendary stallion” Congrats lives out his life in peace at Persaud Legacy Farms.

Return to the March 20 issue of Wire to Wire