Westrock Stables’ Scott Ford, a former president and chief executive officer of Alltel, hasn’t been in the Thoroughbred business for long, but he was a major player at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. select sale of 2-year-olds in training. Westrock was the Feb. 17 auction’s second-biggest spender, paying $595,000 four horses. They included a $250,000 Dehere – Paris Rose filly and a $220,000 Yankee Gentleman – Sea Rhythm filly.
Read what Ford had to say about the Thoroughbred marketplace and his involvement with Thoroughbreds.
The Blood-Horse: Could you talk a little bit about your horse operation?
Ford: “My dad and I and a partner of ours, John McKay, are putting together some horses to go to the track and hopefully they will hold their value. We started about a year ago working with Eddie Woods, a guy named Dennis Foster, and trainer Randy Martin. We’re also working some with trainer D. Wayne Lukas. We've been in roping horses for a dozen years with Quarter Horses. Last year, we decided to replace the rollover crop with Thoroughbreds instead of Quarter Horses, and we’re having a wonderful time. We have four horses with Randy Martin at Oaklawn and we have four horses with Eddie Woods that are in training. We’ve got one horse with Lukas. Some of the horses we’re buying here will go to Randy, and some will go to Lukas.”
Do you think you are getting good value with the horses you are buying at OBS?
“Sure. You think about that in everything you do, and if you’re not thinking about that, you’re not thinking at all. If you look at our general economy and its problems, which have spread to the global economy, this country is paying economically for some of the lessons we should have learned 50 years ago. We’ve repeated a lot of the same mistakes, and that’s unfortunate. But at the same time, I’m a great believer that when we’ve had enough of doing that, we’ll do something else because America is a very resilient place and it has a very resilient economy. We’ll come back. The economy might not be through bottoming yet, but it will eventually come back in the next three to five years.
“The prices of horses seem to follow the stock market generally. I think if you look at it on a three to five-year basis, these are very reasonable prices. I think the people who have put together the horses in this sale – the consignors, the owners, and the breeders – have done a wonderful job. We’ve been real pleased with the quality of the horses and the quality of the horsemanship that has been demonstrated. I think it’s a shame the prices are what they are, but I think it’s to be expected given where the stock market is.”
How big do you see your racing stable becoming?
“It’s a family type of an operation. I would be very surprised if we ever had more than 25 to 35 horses.”