By Avalyn Hunter
Bridlewood Farm is one of the showplaces of Florida breeding. It is something of a Southern counterpart to Kentucky's Claiborne: deeply involved in all aspects of the Thoroughbred industry, with an emphasis on function over style. You won't find fancy appointments or elegant architecture at either, just well-kept paddocks; clean, no-nonsense buildings, and professional, knowledgeable staffs. And both are major players in the Thoroughbred industry of their respective regions as both stallion stations and Thoroughbred nurseries.
The death of Arthur Appleton in 2008 brought to a close over 30 years of history at Bridlewood, but a new chapter has now opened with the farm's purchase by John and Leslie Malone. It is good news for a region that has seen some serious shifts during the last several years, including the closures of the stallion stations at Adena Springs South, Vinery Florida, and Cloverleaf Farms II. (Cloverleaf has since reopened as a full-service Thoroughbred operation and is now Woodford Thoroughbreds, while Vinery Florida was acquired by Stonestreet in late 2012.)
While Appleton saw to it before his death that Bridlewood would continue as a Thoroughbred operation, there is always a level of uncertainty surrounding a transitional period. That is now over. With their purchase of Bridlewood, the Malones have committed themselves to the Florida Thoroughbred industry in a big way. Here's hoping that their investment will have many happy returns, both for them and for the state.