Lifelong horseman Mike O’Farrell operates Ocala Stud in Florida, but O’Farrell’s location in the sun belt doesn’t limit his perspective. He keeps his eyes open to the best bloodstock on the market and capitalizes on opportunities when possible.
One such opportunity came when he purchased the unraced Forestry mare Roger’s Sue at the 2004 Keeneland November sale in foal to Golden Missile. Three years earlier at the November sale, Roger’s Sue had sold as a weanling for $300,000, and O’Farrell bought the well-bred young mare for $105,000 in foal.
The following spring she produced her first offspring, the colt Spy Park.
O’Farrell recalled: “I bought the mare at Keeneland in foal to Golden Missile, and she had a grand-looking colt. He sold for $230,000 at the [2007 OBS February] sale, and then he got hurt. Silverton Hills bought him, and he didn’t live up to expectations.
“I really liked the Golden Missile (by AP Indy), and Congrats is by AP Indy, and I thought I’d go back to the well. I thought with Forestry and her family, it would suit Congrats. It would add some speed to go along with the classic quality. And Congrats was a grand-looking horse with a terrific pedigree.”
The result was a nice-looking bay filly later named Turbulent Descent. Like her half-brother, she made a very nice sales horse.
O’Farrell said, “She was not a great big filly but was big enough. And she looked the part. This filly had a great work at the 2yo sale. And she has a great mind. She would go out and work in :21 and change, then walk off the track as quiet as a lead pony.”
Ocala Stud sold Turbulent Descent at the OBS April sale, not the place everyone looks for a G1 winner, but there was a reason for this nice filly to sell a bit later in the season.
The breeder said, “We had a little setback with her, got started late, and it worked out better for her. She was a little immature, we brought her along slower, and she had probably the best work of any we had at the 2yo sales.”
He said, “Greg Gilchrist was the one who bought her at the sales, but he retired from training. She was the first one he bought from us, but she has turned out to be a good one.
“She was a push-button filly, ready to go. We kept looking for works from her, and I couldn’t understand why there weren’t any. I wasn’t able to find out anything about her till she won her maiden, and she couldn’t have been more impressive.
“Then I heard she got hurt flying to California; that’s where her name came from. When they were flying her to California, the plane landed in Memphis in a storm, and she threw a fit on the plane or got bounced around and tore the hide off her ankle. It was a pretty severe injury. If you look at her ankles, you can see the white spot where the hide tore off her ankle. That’s why she didn’t run earlier.”
Hoping to repeat their recipe for success, O’Farrell said, “We’re going to send Turbulent Descent’s dam (Roger’s Sue) up there [to Vinery in Lexington] and breed to Congrats up there. The mare is in foal to In Summation, a first-year horse we have here, and is due in January. Roger’s Sue is a good-looking mare. Stands 16 hands, is powerful.”
And now she’s the dam of G1 winner.