10/09/2014 1:54PM

Bill Gates purchases California’s Rancho Paseana for $18 million

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Bill Gates has joined Southern California Thoroughbred racing, or at least the property market.

In September, Gates, the co-founder of the technology giant Microsoft, finalized the $18 million purchase of Rancho Paseana, the picturesque training center in Rancho Santa Fe, just east of Del Mar racetrack. The purchase was reported on Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal.

The property was previously owned by Jenny Craig, whose late husband, Sid, purchased the 229-acre training center in the 1990s. Gene Klein, an Eclipse Award-winning owner in the 1980s, built the property when his stable was at its height.

For years, Rancho Paseana was a popular lay-up and training center used to prepare horses for racing in Southern California. The facility has a three-quarter mile training track and stall space for 120 horses.

Gates is expected to use the property for his family’s hunter-jumpers, and is not expected to delve into Thoroughbred racing. Gates has a daughter active with show horses, and also owns a horse farm in Wellington, Fla.

The transaction revives use of Rancho Paseana, which had been vacant since early 2013 at which time Jenny Craig had already had the property on the market for nearly three years. Craig cited the daily cost of maintaining the property as a reason for the sale, according to a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Several racing-related groups reportedly looked at purchasing the property in recent years before the Gates deal was finalized.