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Going gaga over the Lady’s new horse farm 

Only in Malibu does a cool $24 million net you a tidy, six-acre horse farm with sandy turnouts. And yet, considering that location remains the axiom of real estate, it should come as no surprise that 90265 ranks as one of America’s hippest zip codes, attracting mega stars and flamboyant personalities like Lady Gaga, who lately purchased a Mediterranean style horse farm in the postal address marked Zuma Beach—a four-mile strip of sand where the Pacific meets the rugged California mountains, offering a panorama of two equally spectacular views.


I lived in Zuma Beach once, as a youth—Zuma State Beach to be specific. I’d arrived in Los Angeles with my brother thinking I might take a shot at becoming a songwriter, unaware that I hadn’t a shred of talent at the game—a fact painfully brought to my attention during a UCLA songwriting course. I moved away, then years later moved back to nearby Calabassas—a community of somewhat bland, gated developments and world-class grocery stores filled with well-toned blond housewives all pushing their carts up and down the produce aisle. I never knew my husband to grocery shop with quite so much enthusiasm as when we lived in Calabassas. As for me—I never tired of driving through Malibu Canyon each Sunday, dogs in tow, eager for a romp on beautiful Zuma Beach and a fresh glimpse of California’s best asset—the natural beauty of its coastline.


Lady Gaga’s five-bedroom, 10,270 sq. ft. Mediterranean-style horse farm, which she purchased from Dan Romanelli, founder of Warner Bros.' consumer products division,  features an eight-stall stable, a dressage ring and a guest cottage, which could conceivably serve as a caretaker’s residence should she choose to buy herself a horse. I’m not altogether certain if she rides. Growing up as she did in Manhattan, perhaps not. Though, clearly, the avant-garde performer has been migrating toward horses over the years. During the 2013 Music Awards, she arrived on the red carpet astride a white, mechanical version of one, and, certainly, no one can dispute her love of heelless, hoof like shoes. (See photos to the left.)


Given her recent purchase, the lady might just be stepping out into new territory. Time will tell. 

PHOTO GALLERY: Lady Gaga's $23M Malibu horse farm estate

Microsoft founder Bill Gates recently bought Rancho Paseana from America's weight loss founder Jenny Craig. 

Rancho Paseana in it's racing heyday.

Jenny and Sid Craig, co-founders of Jenny Craig, Inc., a global weight-loss brand that sold in 2006 to the Swiss-based Nestlé Nutrition for a reported $600 million. The wellness market, however, like thoroughbred racing, has been under siege from competing sources. Last year, Jenny Craig, Inc., was sold to North Castle Partners, an equity firm, for $100 million.

Gates purchased a four-acre farm near Lake Wellington, Fl., for $8.7 million.

Real estate driven by equestrian interests

Death, divorce and taxes—their sum drives the real estate industry, the proverbial DDTs never failing to excite any market or revive any neighborhood. Below is the latest recent high-dollar transaction within the ever-changing world of horse properties.


Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently purchased a 200+ acre horse facility in Southern California from weight loss and wellness pioneer Jenny Craig for a reported price of $18 million.


The property, located just north of San Diego, features a 3/4-mile track and a cluster of five barns and several out buildings—all nestled within the citrus orchards and vineyard-covered hills of Rancho Santa Fe. Once considered a top layup facility for Thoroughbreds, Rancho Paseana stabled 250 horses in its heyday. But the death of Jenny Craig’s husband and business partner Sid in 2008, combined with a steady decline of California racing, was forming a new equation for the now 82-yr-old entrepreneur, born Genevieve Guiros in 1932 in Berwick, La.


Rancho Paseana was listed for $30 million in 2010. “Frankly, I’ve been putting it off for years after my husband died,” Jenny told the San Diego Tribune* at the time. “I felt I had to keep it open, if nothing else, in his memory. I tried to make it work. I tried everything I could without reducing the quality of services.”


Interest in the horse property failed to materialize into a closing, though, with Craig determined to keep the facility intact rather than broken into parcels by developers. Finally in 2013 the beautiful training and layup facility that was her husband’s material dream was shuttered, with Jenny citing high operational costs.


With the recent purchase, Rancho Paseana will remain intact. According to Forbes Life, Gates intends on turning Rancho Paseana into a show barn, his interest likely fueled by his daughter’s passion for horses. Jennifer, an 18-year-old show jumper, is among a rising cadre of young female competitors hitting the A-list show jumping circuit. Last year, Gates purchased a four-acre farm near Lake Wellington, Fl., for $8.7 million, which included a large home, 20-stall barn, arena and paddocks.


                                                    — by Catherine Macaulay





 *Wall Street Journal 11/7/13


*San Diego Tribune, 5/5/13

Rancho Paseana, once a top layup and training facility owned by Jenny and SId Craig, was originally developed by Gene Klein and his trainer Wayne Lucas, Hall of Fame horse trainer. Considered the largest Thoroughbred horse farm in San Diego County, it encompasses nearly 230 flat usable acres with a seasonal stream and a 3/4 mile race track.

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