Ocala Stud Offers Intriguing New Trio to Florida Breeders

As three newcomers acclimate to their surroundings in the historic stallion barn at Ocala Stud while the latest crop of 2-year-olds steadily progresses at the adjacent training facility, it’s a time of hope and anticipation at Ocala Stud.

David O’Farrell is outspoken in his belief that their Grade I-winning trio of new stallions makes for a special group. Two-time GI Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational S. winner Colonel Liam (Liam’s Map) recently joined the roster alongside newcomers Roadster (Quality Road), another eye-catching dappled gray who did his best work on dirt, as well as  Gretzky the Great, a precocious son of leading fourth-crop sire Nyquist.

“I think these are three of the most exciting stallion prospects that we’ve stood for a really long time,” O’Farrell stated. “I think there is a really nice variety to offer Florida breeders with sire power, good race records and very good physicals. They all have the qualities to be leading sires and I think it’s a great opportunity for everybody here in Florida.”

Roadster, a ‘TDN Rising Star’ as a debuting juvenile and the winner of the 2019 GI Santa Anita Derby, makes for an interesting stallion prospect in part because of the powerhouse group of supporters already backing the new sire. His breeder Stone Farm and campaigner Speedway Stable will both be supporting the son of Quality Road, as will Rustlewood Farm and Airdrie Stud.

Ocala Stud and Airdrie already have a promising track record with partnering on stallions. Last year’s fast-starting freshman sire Girvin launched his career at Ocala Stud and relocated to Airdrie this year with five stakes winners already to his credit.

Roadster bests juvenile champion Game Winner in the 2019 GI Santa Anita Derby | Benoit

“We had been competing with Airdrie for years on the same stallion prospects and we kind of have the same mentality when it comes to picking stallions,” O’Farrell explained. “So rather than competing with one another, we’ve started to partner up on certain stallions. We had Girvin, and now we have Win Win Win (Hat Trick {Jpn}) and we’re adding Roadster. We both support the horses with nice mares and it’s been a great partnership. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with this group with Roadster and get him off to a really good start.”

During his career, Roadster came just short of reaching one million in earnings, defeating juvenile champion Game Winner in the Santa Anita Derby and coming home with additional Grade I placings in the Del Mar Futurity at two and the Malibu S. behind Omaha Beach at three.

“To have a top-level son of Roadster is really exciting,” said O’Farrell. “He has a lot of pedigree, was a tremendous racehorse and has a very good physical. He’s a typical Quality Road–kind of long and lean, but with a lot of quality. He’s very athletic and well-balanced.”

Roadster is out of stakes winner Ghost Dancing (Silver Ghost), who is also the dam of GI Manhattan S. victor Ascend (Candy Ride {Arg}).

O’Farrell said that Roadster, who launches his career at $7,500, has been received enthusiastically by Florida breeders and will be booked full in just a few weeks.

Colonel Liam’s retirement was announced just three weeks ago, but the millionaire has brought a steady stream of interested breeders since his arrival.

“The Colonel Liam deal came together really quickly for us right at the start of the breeding season,” O’Farrell explained. “It’s giving us a boost coming into the season. A lot of breeders in Florida book their mares a little later, but we’ve had a lot of traffic and a lot of good feedback. People are really excited about him standing here in Florida.”

Colonel Liam did his best work in the Sunshine State, winning his first start on the Gulfstream dirt before switching to the turf and taking the Tropical Park Derby and back-to-back editions of the GI Pegasus World Cup Turf. His resume also includes victories in the 2021 GI Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic S. and the GII Muniz Memorial Classic S.

Gretzky the Great takes the 2020 GI Summer S. | Michael Burns

“I think that he’s probably the best racehorse that we’ve stood at stud as far as accomplishments in a really long time,” O’Farrell said. “He’s a three-time grade I winner on the turf, but he has a dirt pedigree. He’s by champion dirt miler Liam’s Map and is out of a Bernardini mare, so it gives you confidence that he could throw top-level runners on any surface. Even though he didn’t run at two, he did have speed. He worked :20 4/5 at the OBS April Sale, so we have confidence that he could sire 2-year-olds and a lot of quality dirt runners.”

A $1.2 million juvenile for Robert and Lawana Low, Colonel Liam’s second dam Wonder Again (Silver Hawk) was also a millionaire and multiple Grade I winner.

O’Farrell reported that the Lows are busy buying mares to support their new stallion, who will launch his stud career at a fee of $6,500.

The third member of Ocala Stud’s new roster, Gretzky the Great, is another Grade I-winning turfer with a dirt pedigree. The 5-year-old is the first son of GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and leading fourth-crop sire Nyquist to go to stud. He is out of the stakes-placed Bernardini mare Pearl Turn.

Campaigned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber, Gretzky the Great won the Soaring Free S. and GI Summer S. at two, earning the Sovereign Award for champion 2-year-old male in 2020. He went on to further stakes success in the Greenwood S. at three.

“He was a precocious, very classy individual,” O’Farrell said. “He has a dirt pedigree, which leads us to believe that he could be a very good sire of runners on either surfaces. He’s a really good-looking horse and is by a sire line that I believe in. I think he’s a really neat prospect for Florida breeders.”

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