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 Ocala. 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 part 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 a member of TOBA, CEP 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 – Tampa Cup Day. 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 Scotia and owner of The Winning Stables, Gerald has been training Thoroughbred's since 1974. Always the leading trainer in Tampa, Gerald winters in Florida and summers in Delaware. In April 2021, Bennett saddled the 3,975th winner of his career, surpassing Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Famer Frank Merrill Jr's record, and making Bennet the winningest Canadian-Born Thoroughbred Trainer of all time. His talent for training winners is only surpassed by his love for the horses.
Team Equistaff secured shares in this 2020 Kentucky Derby winner through myracehorse.com. MyRacehorse.com was named the 2020 new owner of the year at the Eclipse Awards! In December of 2020, it was announced he was the winner of the 2020 Secretariat Vox Populi Award. This bay colt is out of Flawless and is sired by Into Mischief, who won the Los Alamitos Futurity and went on to become a highly successful breeding stallion. Authentic just retired to stud at Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky after winning the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders Cup. His first breeding season is over and we can't wait to see the foals. Named Horse of the Year and Champion 2020 he was bred to 39 Grade 1, 30 Grade 2 and 35 Grade 3 mares. https://www.spendthriftfarm.com/stallions/authentic/
Purchased at the Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Sale July 2021, this chestnut colt is out of Crafty's Way, by Giant's Causeway, and sired by American Pharoah. American Pharoah was 2015's Horse of the Year, Triple Crown winner, Breeder's Cup Classic winner, and in winning all four races, became the first horse to win the Grand Slam of Thoroughbred racing. Steve Haskin, of Bloodhorse.com, said of American Pharoah, "An icon; the personification of perfection - physically, mechanically, and mentally. In short, the ultimate racing machine.". This young colt's future looks bright and Team Equistaff is overjoyed to be a part of his journey! Welcome to Team Equistaff!
The Goddess Lyssa
Barn Name: Lyssa
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. After winning 5 of 8 starts including the Minaret Stake, we have retired Lyssa and given her a new career as a broodmare. She is currently in foal to The Factor who stands at Lane's End.in Lexington . He is currently ranked #1 Sixth-Crop Sire and his recent GSW Charmaine's Mia is still on the track. https://lanesend.com/thefactor..
Barn Name: Lucky
This daughter of Mineshaft won wire to wire on her first time out for Team Equistaff. Her sire, Mindshaft, is a multi-millionaire racehorse and successful stallion who now stands at Lanes End in Kentucky. Her dam, My Lucky Shoes, is the winner of over $100,000 and was in the money 12 times out of 17 starts. Lucky is an allowance winner of $83,000 dollars. At age 6, she has retired to become a broodmare in Ocala and lives at Russlewood Farm. Pronounced in foal to Valiant Minister who stands at Bridlewood Farm. http://www.bridlewoodfarm.com/horse/valiant-minister/ Valiant Minister's first crop is racing now and his has experienced popularity at the sales.
MIss Artsy Nouveau
Barn Name: Artsy
Purchased at the OBS June 2021 sale, this gray filly was foaled in Kentucky and is sired by Klimt, Black-type winner of 3 races, and out of Violet Grey by First Samurai. Klimt is the son of black-type winner Quality Road, sire of 45 black-type winners, 3 champions, including Longines Kentucky Oaks and Caledonia Road, both big winners in G1 races. Team Equistaff looks forward to seeing this young filly's successful future!
She's Lost At Sea
Barn Name: Sea Baby
Purchased at the OBS April 2021 sale, this bay filly is out of Andrea Gail, by Storm Bird, and sired by Gone Astray, a multiple graded stakes winner of $1.2 million and by Dixie Union out of the Mr. Prospector mare, Illicit. Gone Astray won the Pennsylvania Derby, the Ohio Derby, and the Salvator Mile. As a stud, Gone Astray, has been well received and has become a top 10 first and second-crop sire. We expect great things from this filly and look forward to watching her grow with Team Equistaff!
She's Peachy Keen
Barn Name: Peachy
Purchased at the OBS April 2021 sale, this bay filly is out of W W Old School, by Royal Academy, and sired by Keen Ice, a G1 winner with earnings over $3.4 million. His most notable accomplishment was defeating American Pharoah in the G1 Traverse, making him the only horse to cross the wire ahead of the reigning Triple Crown Champion during his 3YO campaign. This filly is gorgeous and we cannot wait to see what Gerald Bennett can do with her! Well and she won her first time out - go Peachy.
Tap Dance Fever
Barn Name: Tappy
Purchased at the OBS Spring 2020 sale, this gorgeous bay filly is out of It’s Heidi’s Dance and sired by Tapiture. A son of Tapit, this Black-type winner of $1,536,820 is out of multiple Graded stakes producer, Free Spin, making him full brother to 2019 Super Derby winner, Rotation, and his full sister produced 2019 Golden Rod S, and 2020 Rachel Alexandra S winner, Finite. Tapiture was also named the #1 second-crop sire of 2018. It’s Heidi’s Dance is the dam of 7 foals to win including stakes winner Fast and Accurate. Placing third in her very first start, she won her second start. She is now at Delaware Park and always in the money.
Barn Name: Tripp
Purchased at the OBS June 2021 Sale, this Bay Colt is sired by Greenpointcrusader, Black-type winner of 3 races and son of champion Bernardini who is sire to 80 black-type winners and 2 champions. Tripp is out of Della's Smile, who has 6 foals of racing age, with 2 winners in the batch. Tripulante means "Member of the Crew" in Spanish and we are very excited to have this handsome colt as part of the Team Equistaff crew!
Barn Name: Single
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 stands locally at Double Diamond Farm in Ocala, FL. Though she is a late 2017 filly, this bay beauty has had 6 starts and just had her first trip to the winner's circle at Tampa Bay Downs. Back at Delaware she is preparing to race after a brief layoff.
If you have any questions or would like information on where are horses will be racing next, follow our Facebook page for updates!