09/04/2003 11:00PM

A new enterprise not just for show


Each winter hundreds of show horses, their trainers, and handlers come to the Ocala area for training and dressage.

A few of these snowbirds have put their feet in both the show horse and the Thoroughbred camps.

Francine Weiner-Govostes is a horse show lady-cum-Thoroughbred entrepreneur. From Canton, Mass., where she operates Green Lane Farm, catering to show horses - including her 2001 World Cup finalist Fresco - she recently bought an Ocala property and renamed it Green Lane South.

"The show horses are expensive to maintain," Weiner-Govostes said. "I winter in Florida, and I bought the farm to provide an income. "

"We are starting small," said Joe Moos, Green Lane South's newly appointed general manager. "Concentrating on boarding, training, and lay-ups to start with and then go into the breeding and of the business."

Moos knows what the business is all about. He started learning his craft as a teenager working menial jobs at New Jersey tracks. Upon graduating from high school, he enrolled at Purdue University and earned a B.A. in animal science. The lure of the racetrack was strong, and with the degree in his pocket he headed back to the track, where Tommy Heard Jr. gave him a job as his assistant. After a few years, Moos moved on to be assistant to Bobby Frankel. Then came a tour as a New York public trainer. He traveled the eastern circuit before settling down at Calder Race Course, where he won the first Florida Stallion Stakes race with Flawless Diamond.

Moos won a trainer title at Calder, but there was not enough money in the game then.

"Purses were too small to make a decent living, and when the changes in the tax laws came in the mid-80's, I felt it was time move on," he said. "So I got into the restaurant and catering business in South Beach, Florida."

Moos prospered in the restaurant business, but could not shake the tug of the Thoroughbred game. Once again his tack was packed, and this time his move took him to Ocala to manage Dunhill Stud, where he supervised the stallions and coordinated the breeding program. Last year, Dunhill Stud was sold and became Signature Stallions.

Green Lane South takes Moos back to his roots. "I like the schooling and training end of the business. It's something I have been involved with since I was a schoolkid."

Hopeful exacta: two Ocala graduates

Silver Wagon and Chapel Royal, the winner and runner-up in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes, should not be strangers to one another. Both Florida-breds, they were only a few barns apart at February's Ocala Breeders Sale auction of 2-year-olds in training at Calder. Silver Wagon, foaled at Lev and Linda Miller's T-Square Stud, was pinhooked by Mark Casse's Moonshadow Farm from the August OBS yearling sale for $55,000. Casse sold him to Buckram Oak Stable for $120,000. Chapel Royal, bred and sold by Ocala Stud, went for an OBS-at-Calder record price of $1.2 million at this same sale.

Tom Ventura, general manager and sales director for OBS, reviewed his notes from February pertaining to Silver Wagon. They read: Very attractive colt on the rangy side, good walker. Silver Wagon confirmed the observation with an under-tack show quarter-mile in 22.20 seconds.

Struggler leaves his mark

There's an old adage that deals with stallions who are moved or die: Once they leave town, everything that you wanted to happen to the stallion happens. Consider Bridlewood Farm's former resident stallion Jules, now deceased. If still alive, he would be Florida's leading sire with 11 stakes winners, including Peace Rules and the unbeaten juvenile filly French Village.

Add to this list the stallion Struggler. A top-notch graded stakes-winning sprinter in France and England, he was a grandson of Northern Dancer who stood at the now-defunct Devonia Stud, where he got so-so bookings and then moved on to Rising Hill Farm for a season before being sold as a quarter horse sire to Texas.

Although a Halo's Image juvenile, Sir Oscar, is considered the south Florida leader in his division on the strength of his unbeaten record, which includes victories in two legs of the Florida Stallion Stakes series, a son of Struggler trained by Marty Wolfson, Wynn Dot Comma, is 3 for 3, including the $50,000 Herecomesmybaby Stakes at Calder and has not been tested sprinting.