06/23/2006 12:00AM

An end and a beginning for Sherman


This past week marked the end of the Sherman family's connection to Ocala's Farnsworth Farms. Robert Miller's Main Street Management bought the farm's land, building, and name from the Farnsworth family trust.

The sale, however, did not include the Farnsworth Farms horses, which are scheduled to be sold by the Sherman family through its Sherman Family Thoroughbreds LLC. Included in this inventory are 108 yearlings, which have been consigned to the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s August yearling sale. The broodmares and their foals, along with the stallions Robyn Dancer and Adcat, will be consigned to the OBS fall mixed sale. The racing stable, primarily stabled at Calder Race Course, will be operational until the horses are claimed or sold.

The Sherman Family Thoroughbreds LLC will not bid on any of the horses being dispersed.

The history of Farnsworth Farms begins in 1962. Issie Sherman, a Boston businessman with no prior experience in the Thoroughbred business, was entreated to get involved by his business associate Louis E. Wolfson. Wolfson had purchased 1,000 acres of prime pasture land in the north Ocala area, developed it into a breeding and training complex, and named it Harbor View Farm.

Sherman's 427-acre one-time cattle farm was only a few miles from Harbor View Farm, and it was named Farnsworth Farms after the street in Boston where Sherman's business headquarters were located.

Mike Sherman, Issie's son, has been at the Farnsworth Farms helm for more than 40 years. He managed the business for the family corporation set up by his father. The Sherman family includes his sister Dayle, her son and daughter, and Mike's three children. As none of the younger Sherman family siblings or cousins showed an interest in carrying on the business, the family went into an estate-planning mode.

"It's been a great run," said Mike Sherman when the dotted line was signed earlier this week selling the Farnsworth property. "I have enjoyed this business fully and I am extremely proud of our accomplishments."

They include an Eclipse Award as champion breeder in 1996, and Eclipse Awards for Farnsworth-bred fillies Jewel Princess (1996) and Beautiful Pleasure (1999).

Robert Miller, the new owner of Farnsworth Farms, is head of one of the larger real estate and property management firms in Florida, a company with a national presence. Miller, reminiscent of Issie Sherman, is turning over the day-to-day operations of Farnsworth Farms to his son Myron.

"This is a new experience for me," said Myron Miller. "Mike Sherman has supplied me with all sorts of books and industry data, and I am fortunate in that I have an experienced team to work with."

Bill Allen, the Farnsworth Farms manager for Sherman, will have the same role for the Millers. Mike Sobol is Team Miller's chief trainer and he is stabled at Calder Race Course.

The immediate business plan for the reconstituted Farnsworth Farms is to race and develop high-quality breeding stock. To this end the new Farnsworth team is patronizing the 2-year-old sales and will be attending the coming yearling sales. Come the fall mixed sales, the team will buying broodmares. Future plans call for the farm and an adjacent property to be developed into upscale 10-acre mini-farm estates.

A 2-year-old with the name of Legacy Reserve was to make his debut in a madien race Saturday at Calder Race Course. He will race with Farnsworth Farms listed on the program as the owner, with his rider wearing the farm colors of white, orange, and green. The debut will be a first in many ways for the new Farnsworth Farms, but certainly not a last.

Mike Sherman is not headed for the rocking chair. He intends to remain a functioning part of the Thoroughbred industry for the foreseeable future.

Said Sherman: "I am especially thankful for the friendships and business relationships that I have made over the years due to being in the Thoroughbred industry. You can quote me on this: I plan to stay in the Thoroughbred industry forever!"