News & Events
Meet team equistaff
With grass roots beginnings in what is now known as The Horse Capital of the World, the the first equestrian staffing agency, Equistaff, Inc. started in 1982. Founder and President, Mary K. Thomas, saw a need for quality equestrian employees in all aspects of equine businesses. Arriving in Ocala, FL in the early 1980’s, Mary began working in the Thoroughbred industry. Now a vastly successful business, Equistaff, Inc. is able to go back to where it all started – the barn. Team Equistaff horses, owned wholly or in party by Equistaff, Inc. and Team Equistaff, LLC, running under the name Team Equistaff, provide Equistaff with its very own sports team. Thoroughbreds have always been Mary’s favorite breed. Interested in giving back, Equistaff is a proud sponsor of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. Info located at www.thoroughbredaftercare.org. As as new member of TOBA and the Ocala Horse Alliance, Equistaff works to preserve and improve the horse industry locally. Find more information at www.ocalahorsealliance.com. Equistaff, Inc. is a proud sponsor of Tampa Bay Downs racetrack and this years Tampa Cup Day on Sunday, March 29th, 2020 www.tampabaydowns.com . GO TEAM EQUISTAFF!
Mary K. Thomas, Owner
Mary has been a horse lover since childhood. Since moving to Ocala, Mary has been involved in the equestrian business and community. So naturally, she is very excited to have Thoroughbreds actively racing. Giving back locally to MTRA and nationally to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, she is happiest when contributing to preserve horse racing and improve the lives of horses. See www.maryk.com for more details.
Gerald Bennett, Trainer
A native of Nova Scocia and owner of The Winning Stables, Gerald has been training Thoroughbred's since 1974. Currently, he has 3848 wins and started over 18,000 horses. Always the leading trainer in Tampa, Gerald winters in Florida and summers in Delaware. Saturday Dec. 14 he won trainer of the month at Tampa Bay Downs. With 6 horses in our Team Equistaff string, Gerald continues to care for and improve our horses.
Barn name: Dona
Purchased at the OBS June 2019 sale, this filly is out of a Bandini mare, sired by Chitu, with lineage back to A.P Indy. Chitu is a 16.1 hand Chestnut Stallion standing at Bridlewood Farm. One of Florida's most popular new stallions and his progeny, Silver Tunes and Seeking the Truth are recent winners at Gulfstream. Dona is back in Tampa with Gerald Bennett. Last worked 4 furlongs in 50.4 placing 22 out of 53, she is a strong aggressive filly and just started her training again and breaks from the gate this week.
The Goddess Lyssa
Barn Name: Brownie
Purchased at the OBS June 2019 sale, this bay filly is sired by Fury Kapcori now standing at Journeyman Stud. Brilliant at two and stakes-placed at three, Fury Kapcori hit the board 10 of 14 stakes races and was a model of consistency. Son of Horse of the Year Tiznow and from the Female Family of Horse of the Year Favorite Trick, we expect good things from our Goddess. She recently returned Tampa with Gerald Bennett just worked four furlongs in 50.2 and was 23 of 45. Well, well, well after practicing to get her gate card on Wednesday, Brownie made her first start on Saturday, Jan. 11, Race 2 wining wire to wire. In her first try, she was a half second off the track record. Jockey Daniel Centeno rode quietly, not resorting to the whip while our Brownie won by 12. After her second race she is 2 for 2, beating a talented allowance field by 3 lengths. Pretty impressive! Go Brownie Go and win again!!
Little ms broadway
Barn Name: Fancy
Purchased privately in June 2019 from Craig Wheeler Thoroughbreds, this filly is out of a Sandra d'Oro by Medaglia d'Oro, sired by champion of the Grade 1 stakes Breeders' Cup Sprint, Big Drama. Big Drama was bred in Ocala by Harold Queen and stands at Oakton Farms. When in top racing form, her sire Big Drama had a speed index at Gulfstream of 120 - pretty darn quick! Fancy is currently training with Gerald Bennett in Tampa. With a recent work at 3 furlongs in 37.4 she placed 7 out of 17 that day. Racing for the first time on New Years Day at Tampa Fancy placed 6th after breaking first, running a bit green holding the first three spots at varied times. Ultimately she got tired and came in 6th but is was a good effort! Running again on Jan 23 in the 8th race at Tampa, Fancy broke very well but was unable to keep up the pace. Racing a mile in Race 2 at Tampa Bay Saturday (2/22) with Samy Camacho riding, lets win.
West Side Warrior
Barn Name: Warrior
Purchased at the OBS April 2019 sale, this bay gelding is out of West Side Dancer, a Mr. Prospector mare and sired by the Grade Stakes winning Millionaire and son of Unbridled's Song, Liam's Map. Standing at Lanes End Farm, Liam's Map he was unraced as a juvenile. As a four-year old, he emerged as one of the best horses in N America winning the Woodward Stakes and the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile. Based on recent Keeneland Sales results and relatives on the track, Warriors family is very active and improving. Warrior in a bit of a nut and loves eating peppermints. Back in Tampa with Gerald Bennett, he last worked 3 furlongs in 36.8 and was 2 of 20 horses breezing that day. His first race was at Tampa Bay, while he did not win, he placed 6 out of 12 and showed promise. Go Warrior!
Barn Name: Sing Sing
Purchased at the OBS January 2020 sale, this bay filly is out of Hi Avie by the Eclipse Award 1980 Champion 2 Year Old Colt Lord Avie and sired by Bahamian Squall out of Graded Stakes sprinter Gone West, a Mr. Prospector son. Bahamian Squall is a locally standing stallion at Double Diamond Farm here in Ocala, FL. Though she is a late 2017 filly, this bay beauty is already breezing fast (33 flat at OBS) and enjoying every second of it! Feb. 2 she breezed 37.4 on the dirt placing 2 of 2. at Tampa.
Barn Name: Danny
Purchased at the OBS March 2019 sale, this chestnut gelding is out of Sainted Dancer and sired by Canadian Horse of the Year and Grade Stakes winning Millionaire, Uncaptured. Standing at Ocala Stud, Uncaptured is Florida's #1 Freshman Sire and his top earners are Catherinethegreat winner of the Schuylerville S. at Saratoga and Capture Your Dream winner of the FTBOA Florida Sire Desert Vixen Stakes. Placing third in his first start, and second in his second start Danny's improving. The third time is the charm for Danny as he placed first going wire to wire on Jan. 8th in race 3. Breaking from post position 1 he never looked back as jockey Antonio Gallardo rode to an easy 5 length victory. We are so lucky to have leading trainer at Tampa Bay Down to train Team Equistaff. Just breezing 37.2 on the dirt, Danny was 23 of 68 training that day. Racing Friday, 2/21 for the first time at a mile - let's do it again.
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