Greg Wheeler Elected President Of Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ And Owners’ Association

by | 10.27.2019 | 11:49am
Greg Wheeler

Marilyn Campbell of Tyngsboro, Mass., and co-owner of the Williston, Fla.,-based Stonehedge Farm, has been named to the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association board of directors while Valerie Dailey, Brent Fernung, and Dr. Phil Matthews—all three of Ocala—remain on the board for their second terms. After a one-year absence as a member on the board due to term limits, Joe O'Farrell III of Ocala, Fla., also returns to the board, as announced at the FTBOA annual meeting Friday. Each will serve three-year terms that will run through 2022.

Leaving the board because of term limits as outlined in the FTBOA by-laws were Milan Kosanovich and George Isaacs, both from Ocala. Both were commended for their strong commitment and service to the Association and industry.

Greg Wheeler was elected as the president of the Association at the board meeting that followed. He said he was grateful to be elected president by his fellow board members and welcomed the new board members.

Wheeler stated, “It is truly an honor and I am humbled to have been elected president of this great Association. I would like to welcome and congratulate new director Marilyn Campbell and congratulate returning directors Valerie Dailey, Brent Fernung, Dr. Phil Matthews and Joe O'Farrell.

“This is a diverse board that represents the members of our association across all spectrums of our industry. We have representation from the large, historically significant 'anchor' farms. We have representation of those who breed for the sales and those who breed to race. We have representation from breeders who are also consignors. We have representation of the small farm and 'backyard' breeders as well as the larger commercial operations. This board literally illustrates the concerns/ideas from a new generation all the way through the long established breeders and owners.

“We have enjoyed several significant accomplishments and we have overcome many hurdles in the recent past. We are now going to lean heavily on the talents, components and connections of this board, management and advisors to move the Florida thoroughbred industry forward legislatively, at the track and on the farm,” Wheeler added.

The board also named the executive committee for 2019-20 with Wheeler as president while George Russell, who owns Rustlewood Farm in Reddick, Fla., was named first vice president. Dr. Phil Matthews was named second vice president and Brent Fernung will serve as treasurer. Valerie Dailey has been elected as the secretary.

Wheeler, a second generation Floridian and his wife Donna, moved to Ocala in 2003 and currently own and operate BridleOaks Farm, Inc. in Ocala. They mostly raise commercial thoroughbreds but also keep a small racing stable.

Wheeler holds a Master of Science degree in physical therapy and was the co-founder and partner of Moving Forward Rehabilitation, Inc. He currently works for Encompass Health. He has served on the banquet/fundraising committee for Ducks Unlimited and has served as secretary, treasurer and second vice president of the FTBOA board, while also chairing the charity committee and serving on governance and scholarship committees.

Campbell, along with her husband Gil, established the 600-acre Stonehedge Farm South in 1988 and has since been a perennial industry leader. In 2018, the three-time Florida Breeder of the Year led Florida breeders with 47 registered foals and ranked fifth in Florida-bred earnings by an owner with more than $1.7 million. They stand Cajun Breeze.

Dailey has a long history serving both the agriculture and business markets in Central Florida. She has been a Florida licensed realtor with Showcase Properties of Central Florida since 2005 where she specializes in listing and selling commercial and agricultural equine properties. She is a former president of the Ocala/Marion County Association of Realtors and serves on the State of Florida 4-H Foundation board. Dailey and her husband Hugh and daughter Samantha, have operated 3D Farm, a small breeding operation in Florida since 1985.

Involved in the Florida thoroughbred industry more than 30 years and the FTBOA immediate past president, Brent Fernung and his wife Crystal own and operate Journeyman Stud, which is home to Florida's current leading freshman sire Khozan, Fury Kapcori and the recently announced St Patrick's Day.

Fernung's career began at Lasater Farm in the late 1970s and he remained there through 1984 before working at Franks Farm/Southland Division as farm manager and at Cloverleaf Farm as their general manager. In 1989, the Fernungs established Journeyman Bloodstock Services and in 2004 was named Florida Farm Manager of the Year.

Also an FTBOA board past president, Matthews came to Ocala in 1981 as an associate veterinarian at Peterson and Smith Equine Hospital. He became a partner in that practice in 1984 and his veterinary affiliations include the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioner. He has served on several committees for the AAEP and is a past member of the board of directors.

Dr. Matthews has been a speaker and instructor at various veterinary venues around the country and internationally and with his wife Karen own Cedar Grove Farm in Ocala.

Returning to the board after a one-year absence because of term limits is Joe O'Farrell III of Ocala Stud. Past FTBOA first vice president and racing committee chair O'Farrell is a third generation of the more than 60-year-old Ocala Stud where he currently serves as the manager handling the financials of the farm. He received a bachelor's degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting from Erskine College where he was on the tennis team. Previously, he worked for The South Financial Group and Carolina First Bank. He is the treasurer of the Florida Agriculture Center and Horse Park Authority, president of the Marion County Farm Bureau and serves on the Blessed Trinity School Board.

Ocala Stud has been a perennial leading Florida commercial breeder and has either solely or in partnership bred more than 100 stakes winners. They are also a leading stallion station in Florida and currently stand Adios Charlie, Ami's Flatter, Awesome of Course, Awesome Slew, Battalion Runner, Fort Loudon, Girvin, Greenpointcrusader, In Summation, Jess's Dream, Noble Bird, Rainbow Heir, The Big Beast and Uncaptured. He is married to Alicia and they have a son Joseph Michael.

Other FTBOA board members include Barry Berkelhammer, T. Paul Bulmahn, Nick de Meric, Laurine Fuller-Vargas, Bobby Jones, Richard Kent, George Russell, Francis Vanlangendonck and Dr. Fred Yutani.

Fred Brei of Reddick, Fla., will also serve as a non-voting member of the board as a past president.

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