04/24/2003 11:00PM

Plumley down under

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Harold C. Plumley, who a decade ago developed a cattle farm and a Thoroughbred breeding and training facility in Ocala, has been elected and then re-elected president of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association.

With the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s 2-year-old sale going on this past week, you would have expected Plumley to make an appearance. Instead, Plumley was in Australia watching his horse Star of Florida in the Group 2 Galaxy Stakes at Randwick, according to Richard Kent, general manager of Plumley Farm.

Star of Florida was one of three horses purchased by Plumley when he represented Florida on a trade mission to Australia several years ago. His arrival there coincided with the Magic Million yearling sale, where Plumley was introduced to Pat Duff, a well-known Australian horseman.

"Mr. Plumley took a liking to the man," said Kent, "and bought three yearlings at the sale for Duff to train.

"The other two yearlings didn't cut it and were gotten rid of. Star of Florida has raced 9 times with 5 wins and 3 seconds."

Plumley, along with his son Mike, made the 30-hour plane trip to Australia for the Easter Racing Festival at Randwick to see Star of Florida race in the Galaxy, at 5 1/2 furlongs over a soft turf course. Star of Florida led until the final jump, and was beaten by the second choice Snow Land, a horse Star of Florida had beaten in their previous meeting.

"Too bad we don't have high-class turf races at five furlongs here in America," Kent said. "Star of Florida could really be a star in Florida."

McDonnell purchase a winner

Francis C. McDonnell has his roots in New Hampshire but has a residence near Gulfstream Park and owns Cimarron Farm in Ocala. McDonnell prefers to race rather than travel a commercial path. So he mostly breeds and buys to replenish his stable.

On Thursday, closing day of the meet, Gulfstream Park featured the $50,000 Mockingbird Stakes for 2-year-olds at three furlongs. McDonnell had three entered. Two of them were homebred fillies - one by Phone Trick and the other by Jules. But, it was his $6,000 weanling colt purchase by Kipper Kelly that won the dash in a photo.