Updated on 09/16/2011 7:34AM

Entenmanns cook up a winner

William Entenmann bought Rhythm of Life in 1998 when she was in foal to Wild Again. The foal turned out to be Belmont winner Sarava (above, with exercise rider Hanne Jorgensen).

LEXINGTON, Ky. - There weren't many people who cashed a ticket on Sarava's 70-1 victory in the Belmont Stakes last Saturday. But two who did were William and Christina Entenmann of Islip, N.Y.

The Entenmanns, who breed horses in the name of Timber Bay Farm, are probably best known for their family connection to the Entenmann's baked goods company, which sells cakes and pastries nationwide. In sporting circles, they are well recognized as the owners of successful steeplechasers, including 2000 Colonial Cup winner Romantic and two-time New York Turf Writers Cup victor Yaw. But on Saturday, in front of a record crowd of about 103,000 in the Entenmanns' home state of New York, Sarava gave the couple their biggest win yet as Thoroughbred breeders.

"We had a small across-the-board wager," William Entenmann, 70, said. "But, yes, I'm very surprised. How many breeders get to breed a Grade 1 winner, and a classic winner at that? Someone like Mr. Phipps" - the late Ogden Phipps - "could, but he'd been doing it for 100 years. But not the Entenmanns."

Entenmann, descended from Entenmann's bakery founder William Entenmann, has been involved in racing since 1978, when he bought a filly named Inlet after Warner-Lambert Company bought Entenmann's.

"We had sold the Entenmann's business, and I wanted to have something to look forward to," Entenmann said. Some of his friends, one of whom was the famed show jumping and steeplechase horseman Mickey Walsh, suggested he try the jump-racing game. Entenmann and his wife were hooked on horses from the start. Most of the family followed suit: Son Billy trains some of his father's horses at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, and daughter Denise, now married to one of the Walsh clan, campaigns Never Better Stable from her base in Southern Pines, N.C. A second daughter, Jaime, is not involved in racing.

William and Christina Entenmann have a broodmare band of about 10 horses. Most board in Kentucky at Jeffry Morris's Highclere farm; others are at Country Life Farm in Maryland and Victory Lane Farm in New York.

In the late 1990's, the Entenmanns decided to upgrade their mare band and asked Morris to represent them at the 1998 Keeneland November sale. It was a lucky shopping trip. When they bought the Deputy Minister mare Rhythm of Life for $180,000, she was carrying the Wild Again foal that would turn out to be Sarava.

"I loved Wild Again," Entenmann said. "I liked his record. He clicks on the leaders' list constantly, year in and year out. And I'd seen him when he was running at Belmont."

Then there was Rhythm of Life's family. She is unraced, but she's a half-sister to Canadian champion Wilderness Song, a Wild Again filly. Another half-sister, stakes winner Sound the Fanfare, was the dam of stakes winners Crucible and Quiet Cheer.

"I went through the sale catalog, and this mare's catalog page was great," Entenmann said. "I mean, we don't go buying million-dollar mares, and for us, the page was great and it was a fair price."

The decision to upgrade their stock gave the Entenmanns their first classic winner as breeders. But another business decision - to sell a small number of the Timber Bay Farm foals each year - took Sarava out of their racing stable.

"Our intent is to breed to run, and then, hopefully, to use our fillies to breed to," Entenmann said. "We don't sell very often, maybe a couple a year at the most. Sarava certainly is the best horse I ever had, but at the time we had to pick something to sell. We thought he would bring a fair price, and that kind of thing evens things out. You can't keep buying mares without having some money coming in."

Morris said the Entenmanns wait until late in the foals' yearling season to determine which ones they'll sell.

Sent to Fasig-Tipton's October yearling sale at Timonium, Md., Sarava brought $190,000 from agent Buzz Chace. Pinhooked to Fasig-Tipton's Calder juvenile sale in 2001, he brought $250,000 from England-based owners Paul and Susan Roy. The Roys later sold a half-interest in Sarava to Gary Drake's New Phoenix Stable.

Entenmann doesn't regret selling Sarava. "It was just a decision we made," he said. "He's still the best horse we've ever bred."

Sarava's Belmont win certainly has increased his dam's value. Currently at Highclere near Lexington, Ky., Rhythm of Life is in foal to Tactical Cat this year and has a Dynaformer yearling filly.

Morris said the phone has been ringing with offers since the Belmont, but Rhythm of Life, a heavyset mare Morris describes as "a little tank," probably will stay at Highclere for the foreseeable future.

"Oh, no, I'm not planning to sell her," Entenmann laughed.

Morris, for one, understands that decision.

"This is the kind of mare everybody wants," Morris said. "And now they have one."