Let’s just call it the Florida Sire Stakes: Journeyman Stud edition.
Stallions who currently stand at Journeyman Stud sired the winners of all six inaugural Florida Sire Stakes races. And in two of the stakes, it was a Journeyman Stud stallions trifecta with a 1-2 finish in one and 1-3 finish in two others.
All of this is all the more amazing considering that Brent and Crystal Fernung, who have been involved in the Florida Thoroughbred industry for more than 35 years, only established Journeyman Stud in 2007. But in an interesting twist of fate, there is a Fernung connection to the very beginning of the Florida Stallion Stakes. When the Florida Stallion Stakes was originally conceived in 1979 by then Ocala-based breeder/owner Dan Laster, Brent Fernung was Lasater Farm’s broodmare manager.
â€œI actually sat in on the conversation that Dan had with Calder’s Kenny Noe,â€ said Fernung. â€œWhat Dan wanted was a series of races to showcase his farm’s stallions and Noe told him that a private series like that wasn’t going to happen. Dan said, ‘Then let everyone run in my race. We’ll outrun them anyway.’ Lasater Farm was where I began to learn how to manage a stallion operation.”
Lasater’s idea came to fruition through the efforts of Calder management, then Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association president Fred W. Hooper, Florida breeding industry columnist Chuck Tilley and Tartan Farms president John Nerud.Â And in the inaugural 1982 Florida Stallion Stakes, Lasater’s contention proved prophetic. Lasater Farm stallions Raise a Bid and Great Above were well-represented by their progeny, accounting for four wins in the six-race series. El Kaiser, by Raise a Bid, won the Dr. Fager Stakes and Affirmed Stakes. Crystal Rail, by Great Above, tallied wins in the Desert Vixen Stakes and Susan’s Girl Stakes. But Journeyman Stud stallions’ progeny have bested that showing in the rebranded Florida Sire Stakes.
“It was kind of surreal watching horses sired by stallions at our own operation all these years later, win the Florida Sire Stakes and remembering back to that conversation Dan had with Kenny Noe” said Crystal Fernung. Â “We feel very blessed to still be doing what we love. Ocala is the best place in the world to raise a racehorse and we want to continue to bring quality stallions here, it only makes sense to capitalize on the two together.”
Here’s a recap of the Journeyman Stud stallions’ progeny showing in the 2014 FSS:
- FAGER STAKES
1st– Sing Praises (by Hear No Evil/Stands Property of Jacks Or Better Farm)
2nd – Of Course (by Awesome of Course/Stands Property of Jacks Or Better Farm)
3rd – Jaiden’s Best (by Wildcat Heir/Stands Property of Journeyman Stud)
1st – Twotwentyfive A (by Awesome of Course)
2nd – Sing Praises (by Hear No Evil)
3rd – Jaiden’s Best (by Wildcat Heir)
IN REALIY STAKES
1st – Sing Praises (By Hear No Evil)
2nd – Royal Squeeze (by Wildcat Heir)
DESERT VIXEN STAKES
1st – Leap Year Luck (by Hear No Evil)
SUSAN’S GIRL STAKES
1st – Holywell (by Exclusive Quality/Stands Property of Journeyman Stud)
3rd – Leap Year Luck (by Hear No Evil)
MY DEAR GIRL STAKES
1st – Holywell (by Exclusive Quality)
3rd – Awesome Ice (by Awesome of Course