LQHBA Insider - By Martha Claussen November  23, 2017

STEVE HOLLAND Ė STRONG SUPPORTER OF LOUISIANA RACING

While he may live in central Florida, there is no denying that Steve Holland of TM Ranch has become a key member of the Louisiana Quarter Horse racing industry. The Florida rancher and businessman has been a solid supporter of the LQHBA Yearling Sale for over a decade and has purchased the sale toppers for the past two years.

He has earned tremendous respect for his generosity and has as many loyal friends in Louisiana as horses!

Florida Ranching and Business Interests

Hollandís TM Ranch is located in Orlando, Florida. In its rich history, Holland has 11,000 acres dedicated to cattle and citrus, but has sold a large portion of the property. No longer farming citrus due to freezes that wiped out production and took close to five years to restore, TM Ranch now continues their cattle ranching activities and other business ventures.

Holland bred and raced horses in Florida until the mid-1980ís. Through several high-profiled Louisiana horsemen, he shifted his interest to Louisiana and has become one of the stateís most successful owners.

LQHBA Yearling Sale Success

Holland had a banner score in 2012 when he and Bill McIntosh purchased Ol Time Preacher Man for $20,000. The son of Heza Fast Dash out of the Streakin La Jolla mare Jj Streakin Illusion was bred in Louisiana by Jo Baya Foreman.

"We were interested in him because of his daddy and mama," said Holland. "Plus, I also liked his name."

The sorrel gelding was sent to top Quarter Horse conditioner Kenneth Roberts, Sr. With veteran rider Danny Lavergne in the irons, he proved his mettle on November 16, 2013, winning the $1 million LQHBA Breeders' Futurity. The sorrel gelding added two more victories the following year and was retired at the end of 2014 with earnings of $565,933.

Holland and his team were elated with the victory in the biggest state-bred futurity in North America.

"It was a real thrill and a long time coming," said Holland. "I usually spend $45,000 and make $20!"

Ol Time Preacher Man made his way back to TM Ranch. One of the farm workers, Gene Coxís daughter asked Holland if "Preacher Man" could become her barrel horse.

"He made me a bunch of money and is a real good horse," said Holland. "Maybe he will do well for her!"

In 2016, Roberts and Holland of TM Ranch selected the sale topper, Cant Catchacorona, a full brother to AQHA champion aged stallion Open Me A Corona. They signed a ticket for $105,000 for the colt, by Coronas Leaving You and out of the Mr Eye Opener mare In The Open.

At last monthís sale, Roberts had his eye on Hip number 411, a Five Bar Cartel colt. There was a substantial buzz about this prospect, so Roberts asked Holland what kind of a range he had in mind.

"Steve and I looked at the horse, and both liked him a lot, "said Roberts. "He had the breeding to be a good racehorse, and I told him that the horse would go for a big price. Steve just told me, if you like him, buy him."

As On Point was heading to the ring, Roberts wanted final confirmation from Holland on how far he could go. Holland was in the rest room, and Roberts went in and asked one more time if he had any limit in mind.

"Just buy the horse," Roberts recalled. "So, I did, but I was pretty nervous about signing a ticket that high."

Holland smiled when he heard Robertís account of the $182,000 sale purchase.

"Kenny knows more about horses than I ever will," he stated. "I look at the catalog for bloodlines and mark about 20 horses. "Kenny and Bill are the horsemen who evaluate the prospects and the next time I see the horses is at the racetrack. They know I am not in the business to acquire a maiden claimer."

So Holland will spend generously at the sale in hopes of winning a future edition of the LQHBA Louisiana Million Futurity (RG1).

"I think the cheapest one I bought this year went for $38,000," said Holland. "Who knows what will happen; he might outrun the sale topper, but it sure is fun to see them run next year."

It is a relationship of great importance to Roberts, who does not take it for granted.

"I am very fortunate to train for Steve Holland," said Roberts. "He respects my decisions with the horses and I am grateful that he puts his trust and faith in me. Steve is very good for the business."

On Point is currently at Delta Equine in Vinton, Louisiana, and will head to Roberts farm in October.

Itís not just 2-year-olds that have become respected stakes winners. He also owns Heza Louisiana Dash, a son of Heza Fast Dash, who has won 12 of his 23 starts. With three stakes wins this year, including an impressive victory in the $100,000 Louisiana Classic (G2) on July 8 at Delta Downs, Heza Louisiana Dash has earned $477,641 to date.

Friendship with LQHBA Board Member Larry Findley

Larry Findley, DVM has known Holland for close to three decades, and is not at a loss for words when describing his client and friend.

"Heís a very humble man, but probably his finest quality is his loyalty to people," said Findley. "Iíve been blessed to know many influential people in my life, but honestly have to say that Steve is one of a kind. His success was never given to him; he worked hard for it."

Hollandís first trainer was George Pierce and Findley did veterinary work for his horses. Through the years, he and Holland became close friends

"Steve would watch my boys play baseball and then take them to Dairy Queen for a hot dog," said Findley. "We considered Steve and his late wife, Connie, close friends."

And they share some laughs along the way. Findley gelded Cant Catchacorona, Hollandís $105,000 sale topper from the 2016 LQHBA Yearling Sale.

"I told him that I threw $50,000 over one shoulder and $50,000 over the other," explained Findley. "He just smiled and said Ďwell I guess I have a $5,000 racehorse."

Tony Patterson, executive director of the LQHBA, deeply appreciates the support of the LQHBA Yearling Sale by Holland.

"We have been very fortunate that Steve has shown continued interest in Louisiana-bred quarter horse racing and our sale," said Patterson. "He stepped up even further in offering the top bid on the Heza Fast Dash breeding to benefit the medical fund for Michelle Hatwig, one of our key staff members. It is hard to find the words to adequately show our gratitude for the contributions of Steve Holland and TM Ranch."

Steve Holland is a man of many accomplishments and interests. He enjoys NASCAR car racing and its spin-offs, including Short Car Motor Racing and has sponsored several drivers on the circuit, including Florida racing veteran David Rogers. Several years ago, he dedicated 500 acres of TM Ranch to developing a world-class clay-shooting range business. That, and citrus farming, did not measure up to his lofty standards, so they are no longer part of his business model.

Thankfully, for Louisiana Quarter Horse racing, he still enjoys attending the sales and races.

"Itís really about the people of Louisiana," stated Holland. "I used to race in Florida, but gave that up as I have great associations with Bill McIntosh, Kenny Roberts and "Doc" (Findley) in Louisiana. Itís a great program and I enjoy it out there."

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The LQHBA Insider is a monthly feature written by Martha Claussen for www.lqhba.com. She served as publicity director at Sam Houston Race Park for ten years. She continues to be active in writing, fan education and Quarter Horse racing publicity in Texas, Louisiana and other regions in North America.