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Business Observer Saturday, Jun. 16, 2018 5 months ago

Polo Club lands buyer for 158-acre property

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The buyers, James and Misdee Miller, are horse and equine sports enthusiasts.

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Saying their goal is to keep the Sarasota Polo Club as agricultural and recreational space as currently zoned, Lakewood Ranch Country Club residents — and horse and equine sports enthusiasts — James and Misdee Miller recently closed on their purchase of the 158-acre property from Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch.

The price of the sale wasn't available in Sarasota County property records as of June 15, and Miller declined to disclose the price, according to a story in the East County Observer, sister paper of the Business Observer. In 2017, the Sarasota County Property Appraiser appraised the Sarasota Polo Club for $1,839,442.

"We felt SMR was going to shut down the club if no one bought it," James Miller told the East County Observer. "It needs someone who understands polo. It's a unique thing."

James Miller emphasized he wants to keep polo alive at the facility and says he and his wife could add other equine sports as well. He says there will be a 2018-2019 polo season at the club.

The Millers own two properties at The Polo Club where they keep their horses. They also own the 1,400-acre Hillcroft Farm in Paris, Ky., which is being used for polo horse operations, Saddlebred breeding, thoroughbred race horse breeding and agricultural crops such as soy beans, corn, wheat and alfalfa, according to the East County Observer story. 

James Miller, an accomplished Polo player who competes at the Sarasota Polo Club, most often for the Hillcroft team, is the president of the Lexington (Kentucky) Polo Club. He also competes in Europe and Barbados. Misdee Miller is a world champion in saddlebred show horses and is one of the world's most accomplished competitors in Pleasure Driving and Combined Driving. "We are equestrian centric people," James Miller says.

The Sarasota Polo Club was founded in 1991. The polo club nearly was sold in October 2017 when Coral Gables developer and Sarsota property owner David Meunier pulled out of the deal after asking for an extension of his due diligence period.

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