As Leprechaun Racing’s Mike Mulligan recuperated from a fractured skull in a South Florida hospital, his friends and associates in the Thoroughbred business reached out to offer support. Participants in the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March select sale of 2-year-olds in training in Central Florida wore green rubber bracelets decorated with shamrocks and pitched in to help Mulligan’s wife, Britt, at the Leprechaun consignment. They also held a prayer meeting prior to the March 17 opening session of the auction.
“I would say it’s affected everybody in a real wake-up call kind of way,” said pinhooker Nick de Meric. “It’s brought everybody together. I don’t know how many green wrist bands you’ve counted, but I had three on my wrist yesterday, and I had to give two away. They were done by the Ocala Farm Ministery. They ordered like 600 or something, and everybody is wearing them.”
According to de Meric: “I’ve been fielding a lot of phone calls for Britt, just to spare her some of it, and there’s been an outpouring of support and concern. We have a tight community that way, and I think that all competition is forgotten in a situation like this. There is a real feeling of camaraderie, which I feel is truer down here than anywhere in the horse business. There is a real sort of link arms and stand firm kind of feeling that’s kind of heart-warming.”
Britt Mulligan was in Ocala for the sale, but said she hadn’t had much time to contemplate the health of the market because she had been devoting most of her time prior to the auction to her husband.
“I’m not the person to ask that question to (about the market) because I haven’t been here,” she said. “I came in for the breeze show and I came in to sell the horses, so I don’t have a full outlook on how everything is here.”
But in some ways, it was business as usual at the Leprechaun consignment, with Meg Levy of Kentucky-based Bluewater Sales and her insurance executive husband, Michael, helping out at OBS.
“We just thought we’d see if there was anything we could do and Britt just said, ‘Sure, you guys could come down and help us try to figure things out and sell the horses,’ ” said Meg Levy, whose sales agency focuses on marketing breeding stock, yearlings, and weanlings. “We were happy to do it and it’s not that different than what we do. We had the time, and we were in the area anyway. They have such a great crew here and such a great infrastructure in place already. And everybody in the barn, I couldn’t say enough good things about them. It’s great to see such a wonderful team come together.
“Mike is a great friend of ours,” Levy continued, “and I think he would do the same for us. He’s a person that’s there for you through thick and thin. He’s well loved by many people because he is very free with his time and willing to help with any industry causes. He’s a great promoter for our industry in general.”
Levy said another pinhooker, Dean De Renzo, has been flying Britt Mulligan back and forth between Ocala and South Florida in one of his airplanes.
“The people in the horse industry, they have big hearts,” Levy concluded. “We all band together, no matter how much competition there is. I’ve noticed that particularly with the 2-year-old people.”