03/25/2005 12:00AM

Yes It's True sale-topper has look of a winner


OCALA, Fla. - With a pedigree as full of Florida as a basket of oranges, the sale-topping colt at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's select auction of 2-year-olds in training is a bay son of the highly rated young sire Yes It's True out of the Pentelicus mare Kit Kat Kitty.

The handsome and scopy colt had breezed twice before the sale, with the first trial being a furlong in 10.40 seconds and the second a quarter in 21.20. The colt's speed and the way he ran convinced buyers that he was an outstanding prospect, and he yielded a final sales price of $900,000 from Godolphin.

Jimmy Bell, bidding for Godolphin, said the colt's breezes were impressive. "He is the type of horse that can do everything you ask," he said.

That is the sort of young racehorse the top-end buyers want and for which they are willing to pay immense sums.

Bred in Florida by Dean and Peggy Johnson, owners of Johnson Hollow Farm, the sale-topping colt had sold privately to an undisclosed buyer in mid-summer of 2004 and was resold at OBS March through Eisaman Equine, agent.

"He's probably the best colt we've ever raised," said Peggy Johnson of the colt, who sold for the highest price for a youngster from Johnson Hollow. "When you raise a good horse, people keep coming back to buy more."

The Johnsons have a lengthy acquaintance with this family, since they bred both the sale-topping colt and his dam, and sold the dam at OBS as a yearling for $70,000 to Ann Carter, agent.

Owned by Ione and Herbert Elkins, Kit Kat Kitty became a useful race filly, winning seven races and $140,990, and the Johnsons had kept a close eye on her. "When she was about done racing, we told the owner, Mr. Elkins, that we'd be interested in having her back as a broodmare and repurchased her," said Johnson.

By that time, the dam of Kit Kat Kitty, the Affirmed mare Disclaimed, had produced several other quality prospects, and the Johnsons were hoping for further improvement in the family. Although the big horse hasn't yet shown up at the racetrack, Disclaimed's foals have continued to race and win good money, with three others having earned more than $100,000.

The sale-topping colt is the second foal out of Kit Kat Kitty, whom Johnson described as standing "maybe 15-3, but a very pretty mare. Unfortunately, she had complications foaling this year, and we had to put her to sleep." The Johnsons also lost the mare's foal of 2005.

Such are the mixed fortunes of working with horses. Quoting Ocala Stud owner Mike O'Farrell, Johnson said, "You got to ride the wave, because the breeding business goes up and down."

One of the highs of the business comes when you breed and raise a colt who can bring the major international operations to purchase and race them. To do that, breeders need an outstanding physical specimen, even more so than an outstanding pedigree.

"This colt was huge when he was foaled," said Johnson. "And he looked a lot like his sire, Yes It's True."

Yes It's True, one of the four most prominent freshmen sires from last year - along with Successful Appeal, Fusaichi Pegasus, and Giant's Causeway - is best known as the sire of Proud Accolade, winner of the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Proud Accolade also was sold by Eisaman Equine at the OBS March sale last year, for $450,000, and has developed into one of the best colts of his crop. A good-looking horse like his sire, Proud Accolade was expected to be favored in Saturday's Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park.

Perhaps feeling that lightning might strike twice, Pletcher, representing Green Hill Farm, was the immediate underbidder on the $900,000 colt by Yes It's True.

Because the success of Proud Accolade and other stakes horses propelled him to the leading group in last year's freshman sire race, Yes It's True was relocated from Florida to Kentucky, where he now stands at Three Chimneys Farm with a stud fee of $25,000.

The Johnsons purchased a breeding right in Yes It's True when he retired to stud in Florida. "He's been really good to us," Johnson said.

Like Godolphin's earlier purchases at the juvenile sales this year, the colt by Yes It's True has been shipped to Bobby Scanlon's training center in Florida. A decision about the training and racing plans for the young stock will be made later this year.