Woodford Thoroughbreds Consolidating Operations, But Also Adding New Team Members

Woodford Thoroughbreds Moving Operations to Florida

Woodford Thoroughbreds will be closing its Kentucky farm and consolidating all horse operations at its farm near Ocala, Fla., owner John Sykes announced Aug. 29.

"Unfortunately, Matt Lyons, who has managed the Woodford Farm operations for the past 10 years, has chosen not to relocate to Florida," Sykes said. "Matt has done a fantastic job in building the Woodford brand and elevating Woodford's standing in the industry. Matt will continue to direct Woodford operations until the transition is complete and will provide advisory services to Woodford, as needed."

The transition will take place Jan. 1, when the Kentucky farm will be closed. Woodford will continue to breed its mares in Kentucky, according to Sykes.

With Lyons' departure, John Gleason will assume the role of farm operations manager in addition to his current role as trainer and general manager of Woodford's racing and training division. Gleason, who has been with Woodford for five years, has a wealth of experience and has worked for major owners such as Robert and Beverly Lewis, W. T. Young and Overbrook Farm, Samantha Siegel's Jay Em Ess Stable, and WinStar Farm. 

Shannon Castagnola will assume a new role as director of marketing and client relations. Castagnola's primary responsibility will be to build Woodford's brand using all communications technology. She will develop ways for the farm's clients to access updates about their horses regardless of the stage they are in, with a key goal of making horse ownership more convenient and enjoyable. Castagnola will be active at all Woodford sales consignments, working with buyers and sellers.  

Other members of the Woodford team include Lincoln Collins of Kern Thoroughbreds and leading Florida consignor Beth Bayer.

Collins will be an adviser to Woodford's bloodstock division and will be responsible for mare acquisition and breeding plans, and he will directly oversee Woodford's Thoroughbred holdings.  

Bayer has been hired to become Woodford's director of sales. By agreement, she will continue her farm operations and sales consignment at the Ocala Breeders' Sales auctions in January and October. Woodford will place its sale horses with Bayer's consignment for those two auctions beginning in 2019. 

"We welcome these two seasoned veterans to the Woodford team," Sykes said. "They will begin participating in the Woodford operations effective October 2018 but will assume their primary roles Jan. 1, 2019.

"I greatly appreciate Matt Lyons for his leadership at Woodford," Sykes continued. "Words cannot express my personal feelings for Matt and his wife Michelle for the contributions they have made. I look forward to continuing our relationship in the years to come and wish them the greatest success."

Cara Greenslade