Joseph M. O’Farrell, Sr., acquired a passion for thoroughbred horses in Maryland in 1936 when he bought his first broodmare. He came to Ocala in 1956 at the age of 49 to look at a breeding farm that was for sale and joined the syndicate that bought the farm. As part owner and manager of Ocala Stud, O’Farrell set about promoting the thoroughbred industry in Florida. Ocala Stud at one time was the largest training center and stallion station in the United States. It was the first non-Kentucky farm to attain the national Leading Breeders’ and Owners Lists. O’Farrell maintained a staff of specialists in research and nutrition, developing feeds which met Florida’s needs. O’Farrell’s innovations included starting up the sales of two-year-olds, a successful feature now incorporated in the thoroughbred industries of other states. O’Farrell received the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ External Distinguished Service Award in 1982.