John Franks led an amazing life. A life fit for a movie script, with little editing needed.
He studied geology and went on to work for various oil companies. His skills led him to a particular tract of land that he felt held great potential. While no companies agreed and no one offered to fund exploration, he took matters into his own hands. The tract yielded one of the largest deposits of natural gas in America.
Initially knowing little about race horses, he started slow and grew his knowledge for the equine industry. Established in the 1980’s, Franks Farms was destined to become the home to one of the worlds most winning horse breeders, John Franks. With four Eclipse awards to his name, more than any other owner to-date, John Franks had discovered his Winning Dream at this location in Ocala. Raising countless winning racers and breeders, made Franks Farms synonymous throughout the industry with excellence in Thoroughbred Breeding and Racing.
John Franks, as a breeder, earned $8,298,549 from Florida-breds. He accounted for 11 Florida-bred stakes winners, including 2003 Florida-bred champions Chatter Chatter and Lady Tak. Nationally, Franks ranked as the second-leading breeder in North America with a total of $9,717,890.
With John Franks’ passing in 2003, the tradition did not end. The Winning Dream of providing elegant, one-of-a-kind locations for equine lovers to build their dream home is a reality. The spirit and glory of the accomplishments created on these rolling lands will be remembered each day as owners and horses of all breeds and disciplines grace the landscape and call this special land their – Winning Dream.
In 2005, visionary Ocala developer Glenn Lane and his esteemed First American International Inc. acquired Via Paradisus. Renowned for his contributions to Turning Hawk and Turning Hawk II, Lane’s immediate recognition of the property’s splendor was undeniable.
The grand opening of the development in 2005, featured an event graced by a vibrant Beach Boys performance. The grandeur continued into the private Gala of that evening, where the Ocala Symphony Orchestra’s enchanting melodies commenced at sunset and resonated beneath the starlit heavens.
Best Places to Live
For two years, Via Paradisus was honored with being featured in the “Best Places to Live” spotlight in Ocala Magazine. They were hand-selected as a place that captured the essential elegance that Ocala presents. The second year included the new gold-laced gates at the west and north entrances.
In Film and Media
The beauty of Via Paradisus is so apparent that it has been captured in both film and media, as host to a European film crew when they showcased their futurist new product: the submergible sports car “sQuba” by Rinspeed. The car drove itself through the beautiful roads of Via Paradisus.
Further, Via Paradisus has played the backdrop for a fashion shoot for Ocala Magazine, with sun-filtered Spanish moss draping the trees to accent the model and equine companions.