Updated on 09/16/2011 7:44AM

Farnsworth celebrates 200th stakes winner


Farnsworth Farms reached a milestone on June 29 at Calder Race Course when Heavenly Miss won the $100,000 J J'sdream Stakes for 2 year-old fillies. A daughter of Suave Prospect, Heavenly Miss became the 200th stakes winner bred by Farnsworth, the 1996 Eclipse Award-winning nursery.

"Many of our early stakes winners were bred in various partnerships," said Farnsworth's Mike Sherman. "Back in the days when tax rates were much higher the Thoroughbred business had substantial tax considerations. We had businessmen who wanted to convert tax dollars into capital gains dollars, just as they were doing in the oil business and real estate.

"These investors wanted to be partners with a going operation and it was good business for the farm to participate in these partnerships."

Farnsworth Farms has been in the Thoroughbred business since the fall of 1963 when Issie Sherman, father of Mike Sherman, went to Keeneland and bought a dozen mares to take back to his new farm in Ocala. The farm name is taken from the street name of one the late Issie Sherman's Boston businesses.

The first consignment of Farnsworth Farms to any sale was to the Florida-bred 2 year-olds in training sale at Hialeah beginning January 25, 1965. The records show that that the overall sale, dominated by Ocala Stud, listed 210 sold during the three evening sessions (following the afternoon races at Hialeah) which grossed $2.5 million and averaged $12,067. Farnsworth Farm sold eight colts and four fillies for an average of $12,037 with its highest price, $25,500, for a colt by My Babu-Neshanic, by Princequillo. W.C. Partee was the buyer for the bay colt, Fusilier Boy, who would eventually repay his new owner with victories in the $100,000 Benjamin F. Lindheimer Handicap at Arlington Park and the $50,000 Grassland Handicap.

The Farnsworth Farms homebreds were not quick off the mark. That first year Farnsworth Farms sales horses made 91 starts with an 9-8-11 record and $31,837. After two years of campaigning, the Farnsworth Farms homebreds started 316 times with 25 wins, 26 seconds, and 38 thirds and earnings of $65,137. Within another two years Farnsworth Farms-breds were rolling and they made 1,309 starts with 171 wins, 140 seconds, and 158 thirds and earnings of $736,302.

Crown Stable's Ollie Cohen, later to win the inaugural running of the Breeders' Cup Sprint with Eillo in 1984, bought a bay colt by Barbizon-Jivey, by Mr. Music, from the 1966 Farnsworth Farms consignment to the Hialeah sales.

Trainer Budd Lepman, who was to have considerable success with Farnsworth Farms alumni over the years, signed the sales tab for the colt named Farbizon.

Farbizon became the first stakes winner for Farnsworth Farms, winning the Alligator Handicap and the James H. Bright Handicap at Tropical Park.

"We really turned the corner when our stallion Bolinas Boy made it," Sherman said. "We originally owned him in a partnership with Harbor View Farm and B.A. Dario. Phil Godfrey raced the horse and sold him to us. We also had interests in Wolfram, Johnasark, and a Princequillo horse that we renamed Farnsworth as a potential advertisement. He wasn't!

"Later we bought out the other interests in Bolinas Boy and eventually sold off or gave away the other stallions. I was particularly pleased to hit the 200 mark with a homebred by one of my stallions. Heavenly Miss is by Suave Prospect. We bred him, too. And his sire, Fortunate Prospect began with us as well."