07/15/2005 12:00AM

Legacy Ranch expanding to all-in-one farm


The former Blooming Hills Farm in Clements, Calif., sold earlier this year, will become a multi-purpose farm, rather than operating primarily as a breeding farm, according to new owner Pete Parrella.

Parrella, who is in the lumber business in Orange County, completed the purchase of the 125-acre Blooming Hills earlier this year from owners Ron and Fran Stolich. Under their direction, Blooming Hills stood five stallions.

Parrella on Thursday said that his farm, which has been renamed Legacy Ranch, will stand stallions in 2006, but that work is underway to expand the farm as a training facility.

Earlier this week, three former Blooming Hills stallions - D's Bertrando, Golden Gear, and You and I - were moved to Sue Hubbard and Associates Farm in Creston, Calif.

Parrella said the stallion roster for the next breeding season will be completed later this year.

"We'll wait and see who would like to bring their stallions," he said. "We've got some things in the works. We're not looking for quantity, we're looking for quality."

The most significant change is the construction of a five-furlong training track, which Parrella says will be completed in mid-August. Previously, Blooming Hills had a three-furlong training track, Parrella said, but he wanted something that would better serve the horses bound for the racetrack.

Steve Wood, the racetrack superintendent at Del Mar and Santa Anita, installed the surface on the new training track, Parella said.

"We'll have a breeding, racing, and training operation," Parrella said. "We're trying to get some clients that would like to be on a facility where they can breeze their horses and they can be legged up."

Parrella bought the Blooming Hills property after selling his previous farm, Legacy Ranch in Chino, in Southern California. Over the years, as development in Southern California expanded eastward, away from Los Angeles, the Legacy Ranch property became more valuable and was sold.

"Basically, they moved us out of Chino," Parrella said.

Parrella said he was not in the market for a farm the size of Blooming Hills, but grabbed it when the chance occurred.

"We didn't want to take on this kind of responsibility," he said. "We were looking for a smaller place, but the opportunity came up. Ron and Fran were very gracious and easy to deal with. They wanted to sell, and we were able to come to terms."

Earlier this year, the 65 horses owned by Legacy Ranch (35 Thoroughbreds and 30 Quarter Horses) were loaded up and sent north to the farm in Clements, east of Stockton. The sale of Blooming Hills was completed in the spring, but the Legacy staff will not take full control until Aug. 1.

Farm manager Shaun Hadley, and his wife, Anita, moved north to Clements. Among the retired racehorses who made the trip were His Legacy, a three-time winner of the California Cup Starter Handicap in the early 1990's, and Griswold, the Quarter Horse multiple stakes winner who lost to Valiant Pete in a match race at Santa Anita in 1991.

Parrella said the farm can accommodate up to 325 horses.

He said he is hopeful that the new training structure will attract outside horses.

"We basically did this for us," he said. "If people want to come up, if they want us to train their horses, we're ready to go. Now, it's so expensive to go to the track. We thought we can get a better handle on horses and do it less expensively here than the racetrack."