Ocala's horse business growth
Ocala’s horse business has grown in size and political clout, even as thoroughbred racing draws fewer people to tracks.
Kevin McKathan was shopping at a yearling sale in Ocala, where he owns and operates a thoroughbred training facility. Each fall, he buys several yearlings at auction, calculating that with the right training and grooming, the horses will increase in value during the next year. The practice — the equestrian equivalent of flipping houses — is known as pinhooking.
McKathan’s farm annually trains about 100 racehorses, both his own and for clients. Five years ago, he and his brother, J.B., now deceased, trained Triple Crown winner American Pharoah for owner Ahmed Zayat. McKathan also trained Kentucky Derby winners Silver Charm (1997) and Real Quiet (1998).
This story also features expert opinions, business briefs and people in the news: Kevin McKathan; Charlotte Weber; Frank Stronach; John Malone; Mandy Pope; Paul Bulmahn; Donald Dizney; Jessica Steinbrenner; Louisa Barton; Ocala Breeders’ Sales; Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association; Larry Roberts; Live Oak Stud; Ralph DeMeo; Kevin Sheilley; Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership; Bonnie Heath; Jack Dudley; World Equestrian Center; Live Oak International; Kristen Vale
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