Updated on 09/17/2011 7:01PM

Halo's Image star of parade


It was a Florida Chamber of Commerce day, and more than a thousand Florida breeders were on hand for Sunday's Florida Thoroughbred Farm Managers parade of stallions and equine trade show. Thirty-three stallions were shown at the Ocala Equestrian Center, adjacent to the Ocala Breeders' Sales complex.

Halo's Image, Florida's 2004 leading sire by progeny earnings, was named the farm managers' sire of the year.

"It's an honor," said George Isaacs, general manager of Bridlewood Farm, which owns Halo's Image. "He will stand for $10,000 live foal, and he's earned it."

The $10,000 fee places Halo's Image among Florida's top 10 stallions. The current leader is Red Bullet, owned by Adena Spring, at $30,000, followed by Montbrook, owned by Ocala Stud, at $20,000.

Bridlewood Farm is also the new home of Honor Glide, who moves from CloverLeaf Farms II.

"It was a case of no room at the inn," said Bonnie Heath, Honor Glide's owner. "CloverLeaf is taking on more stallions, and it was better for both parties to make a change. Brent Fernung and CloverLeaf did a good job. Honor Glide got 75 mares last year. You know, Florida is primarily known for being a source of speed. That's good. We need all kinds of bloodlines here, and speed is certainly important. Honor Glide is a Grade 1 stakes-winning, classic distance runner who retired sound. We need this kind of a stallion, too."

Lou Gurino's Lou-Roe Farm has effectively made the transition from a racing operation to a stallion station and marketing company that does business as Celebrity Farm. To this end, Gurino has put together a stallion operation of seven, with more to come.

"It's been an unbelievable year," said Gurino, taking time out from showing his stallions at the farm managers' show. "Gulf Storm, my Storm Cat stallion, was bred to 155 mares last year. I think that's tops in Florida. We got 70 mares to Skip to the Stone; that's more than went to his sire, Skip Trial. Aggressive marketing is the key, marketing and service."

Chak puts Royal Lad on display

Dr. Ron Chak, DVM, has the nickname of the King of Pedro. Pedro is an obscure hamlet south of Ocala, and for several years Chak's Newchance Farm was the only Thoroughbred entity in the area. Chak is the breeder of such millionaires as Mr. Frisky and Peace Rules.

"Got a new stud," said Chak. "His name is Royal Lad."

Chak immediately requested a groom to take Royal Lad out of his temporary stall at the farm managers' show. "Yes, he's a chestnut," he said. "I know he looks like a brown horse, but he is a chestnut, a liver chestnut. You don't see too many of them."

Royal Lad, 5, is by Montbrook-Velvet Choker, by On to Glory. He is a four-time stakes winner who placed in four additional stakes in an all-Florida career.

"Look at his pedigree; look how many top horses are in it," Chak said, citing Preakness winner Louis Quatorze and Grade 2 stakes winners Meritocrat and On to Royalty. "We are going to stand him for $2,500 live foal, and if you want to buy a share it's $5,000, and you get bonus seasons."

Jim and Sheila DiMare's Rising Hill Farm is the co-host of the farm managers' parade of stallions brunch. Jim DiMare also has a touch of royalty going for him, for he is known by many as the Tomato King. The family business is growing tomatoes in the fertile regions southwest of Ocala.

"It's been a good year," said DiMare, speaking of his equine operation. "My young stallions are doing well, my homebreds are winning stakes. Wised Up is seventh on the Florida freshman stallion roster, and his pedigree says his runners should get better as they get older and the distances lengthen. Sure, the hurricanes blew away my tomato business, but they did not damage my farm and the tomatoes are coming back.