10/15/2014 11:51AM

Angela Renee proving credit to farm, family, and namesake

Benoit & Associates
Angela Renee wins the Chandelier on the same track and at the same distance as the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Expectations were understandably high when the decision was made at Siena Farm to send the mare Pilfer to Bernardini for the 2011 breeding season.

The preceding fall, To Honor and Serve had stamped himself as the early favorite for the Kentucky Derby by winning a maiden race, the Grade 2 Nashua, and the Grade 2 Remsen in succession by daylight margins. Although Siena Farm didn’t have an interest in him, it owned the next-best thing – his dam.

To Honor and Serve was the second foal out of Pilfer, a stakes-winning daughter of Deputy Minister. He was sired by Bernardini, the champion 3-year-old male of 2006.

“It was one of the easiest matings we have ever planned,” said David T. Pope, president of Siena Farm.

The resulting foal, a filly, ultimately would be named Angela Renee. She is the first Grade 1 winner bred and raced by Siena Farm. She is the early favorite for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita. And on a more personal level for everyone at the farm, she has done a marvelous job of honoring the memory of the person for whom she is named.

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Located in Paris, Ky., Siena Farm was founded in 2008 by Anthony Manganaro, its chairman; Pope; and general manager Nacho Patino, who all hold ownership interests. The 220-acre farm is not a large operation by Kentucky standards and since its inception has produced between 11 and 22 horses per year, according to Pope.

Remarkably, Siena will have a second homebred in this year’s Breeders’ Cup, as Isabella Sings is being readied for the $1 million BC Juvenile Fillies Turf on Oct. 31.

Among Siena’s first purchases in 2008 was the 7-year-old Pilfer, who earlier that year had foaled To Honor and Serve. Siena paid $650,000 for her at the Keeneland November sale.

As To Honor and Serve racked up stakes wins at 3 and 4 – including the Cigar Mile, Woodward, and Pennsylvania Derby – Pilfer’s value continued to grow.

“Pilfer was part of our first batch of horses,” Pope said, “but she had become maybe a little too valuable to keep.”

The young farm hit a home run by selling her, in foal to Bernardini yet again, at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton November sale for $1.95 million.

At the time, Angela Renee was a weanling.

“Because of everything To Honor and Serve accomplished, she was the most anticipated foal we’d ever had,” Pope said. “And then she was foaled, and she was beautiful. From Day 1, she had a lot of class.”

But business is business, and Angela Renee, still unnamed at the time, was entered in the 2013 Keeneland September sale.

“We had been going back and forth about whether to keep her or sell her,” Pope said. “We shipped her to Keeneland but had second thoughts almost immediately after the van left, and before the driver left the sales grounds, we called him and told him to bring her back. We liked her a lot and knew if we sold her, we would be losing our presence in the family.”

Because of Angela Renee’s name, the family connection between her and the people at Siena cuts deep. When the farm was starting out, Angela Renee Roe was hired to clean the farm’s office and house. It was soon learned that she had cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

“Angie was a very brave woman,” Pope said. “Even when she was sick, she was always looking for extra jobs to do. She fought the disease as hard as she could and continued to live her life the best she could. She eventually lost her battle, and it affected all of us. She was more than someone who worked here, she was part of our family.”

Manganaro, Patino, and Pope wanted to honor Roe’s memory by naming a horse after her. A lot of pressure comes with that, as so many horses either don’t pan out or have short, nondescript careers. The Siena Farm team chose well.

Angela Renee has started four times, all for trainer Todd Pletcher, who also trains Isabella Sings. She won her maiden, was second in the Adirondack, third in the Spinaway, and on Sept. 27 had a breakout race, winning the Grade 1 Chandelier at Santa Anita. The BC Juvenile Fillies will be run over the same track and 1 1/16-mile distance.

In 2013, just before the Siena yearlings were to be sent to Florida, the Roe family was invited to the farm to see Angela Renee. The family was presented with a copy of her pedigree as a gift. After the get-together broke up, Pope received a phone call from Roe’s family.

“They asked what the date March 14, 2012, on the pedigree meant,” he said. “I explained it was the date when she was foaled, and they asked me if I knew that was Angie’s birthday. I had no clue. It was very emotional.”

Call it a coincidence, or call it karma. One thing for sure is the folks at Siena have a lot of reasons to cheer hard for Angela Renee.

Fausto Tavarez Betances More than 1 year ago
wao beatiful story God bless
Daniel Garcia More than 1 year ago
Good story.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Not a good horse. She got destroyed in her first couple races along wih terrible workout but when shipped to Santa Anita, since they have now connections to Belmont, they allow ny trainers to slip the drug epo so that he can win. This is how I know, expample, if a person runs a mile in 9 minutes and out of breath and then 3 weeks later runs a mile in 5 minutes and is not out of breath. Not enough time for improvement in training adaptions to occur. Santa Anita favors baffert, pletcher, miller, Mandela, and ward free use of the epo drug. Doug Oneil was in that group until he pissed them off and now he's banned. Angela Renee will not win the breeders cup because there are far more better horses
AndyIntheDesert More than 1 year ago
Way to be a class act "Tommy". You need to look up the word "empathy" though, given this posts' tone, I doubt it will matter to your lacking soul, should you have one. It is said that there is a time and a place for everything. But certainly not this. Please take you abysmal trolling life elsewhere; we will not bite. _____________________________________________________________________ Great inspiring post Jim. Excellent ability to tell a story with true sensitivity to the subject matter.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Andy I disagree. You tell me I need empathy and I have plenty for the horses!! The horses are abused with the whips and drugged up!!! Andy you need empathy for the horses being abused and not your wallet!! It's only a matter of time before animal activists close down these businesses or at least take away the whips and the drugs!!!!
AndyIntheDesert More than 1 year ago
I will not bite tommy with a lower case "t".
Howard Schwartz More than 1 year ago
The lab has zero info on the race horse or trainer. It is a triple blind test. So they cannot favor anyone.
Pete Sundar More than 1 year ago
Tommy, even if you have concerns about the sport and is jaded by the characters in it, doesn't the beauty and the humanity of the person - Angela Renee ...makes you glad to be in the fraternity of horse lovers ?
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
Are you sure tommy is a true horse lover? I have my doubts....
the Big D More than 1 year ago
Tommy! GET A LIFE!!!!
mike More than 1 year ago
What happened Tommy? Did you lose the money you took from your moms purse on a bad bet?