Ocala Jockey Club sold to WEC group for $10.5 million

A portion of the Ocala Jockey Club is shown in this file photo. The 922-acred property sold for $10.5 million.

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Posted August 4, 2021 | By Joel Bronson, joel@ocalagazette.com 

A portion of the Ocala Jockey Club is shown in this file photo. The 922-acred property sold for $10.5 million. [Submitted]

The more than 900-acre Ocala Jockey Club was sold for $10.5 million recently and will operate under the World Equestrian Center banner.

Golden Ocala Equestrian Land LLC bought the property from Valhalla Holdings LLC, according to Marion County property records.

Golden Ocala is part of Larry Roberts’ holdings, which includes the WEC. Roberts is the founder of R+L Carriers, a freight shipping company based in Wilmington, Ohio. Roberts also controls several subsidiaries, including real estate and equestrian pursuits.

In a press release issued Wednesday afternoon, WEC said the facility, located at 8270 W. County Road 318, would operate under the WEC flag as the World Equestrian Jockey Club. The World Equestrian Center is located at 1390 NW 80th Avenue. The WEC is a massive equestrian competition facility that features climate-controlled indoor arenas, outside stadium arenas, a five-story hotel and plans for 4 million square feet of commercial development. The facility is part of a more than 5,000-acre development that includes a high-end residential community of about 2,400 homes.

In 2016, the jockey club began hosting a three-day eventing competition known as the Ocala Jockey Club International, which takes place annually in the fall.

The event was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but was tentatively set to run Nov. 18-21. In their press release, WEC noted plans were underway to continue the eventing tradition as it transitions the facility to become the future home for WEC eventing. The WEC previously had planned a three-day eventing competition in October, but that has been canceled, according to the U.S. Eventing Association.

The USEA did not have a listing for the jockey club event this year.

“The Ocala Jockey Club brought a combination of training, competition and elegant hospitality in the venue that is in line with our World Equestrian Center vision,” said the WEC’s Roby Roberts. “Through this acquisition, we aim to continue those traditions of great sport and grand entertaining, while investing in the future of equestrian sports in Ocala.”

The WEC also announced it plans renovations to the facilities to host weddings and other special events.

Former owners Erik and Pavla Nygaard, put the property on the market in 2019 with a $16.5 million asking price.

The Nygaard employed Sotheby’s International Realty to broker the sale.

The Nygaards purchased the property in November 2005 for $5.45 million, according to real estate records.

“We are selling the property to simplify our operations and provide more time to focus on other personal priorities and business projects,” Pavla Nygaard said in a May interview with BloodHorse.com.

The property includes a 5/8th-mile track, training center, seven barns and 35 townhomes, as well as a 10,125-square-foot clubhouse.



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