Updated on 09/15/2011 1:35PM

Mares at Denlea no longer lonely

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One of the heavy hitters at last week's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale in Maryland was Kurt Butenhoff, who recently entered the business as a commercial breeder in New York.

Butenhoff spent a total of $153,000 for five mares who will become residents of Denlea Park, the 300-acre farm he purchased last year in Hillsdale, N.Y., approximately one hour south of Saratoga Springs in Columbia County.

Butenhoff chose the name Denlea Park because 70 years ago the property featured a stadium by the same name for a semi-professional baseball team.

Butenhoff, a senior managing director at the New York City investing firm Bear, Stearns & Co., originally bought the farm as a second home and as a place to board the two pleasure horses he and his wife, Kim, own.

"We poured a ton of money into the place and we wanted to take advantage of the facilities we had," Butenhoff, 41, said. "With only two horses in the 16-stall barn, it looked lonely."

Butenhoff asked a friend, Chris Gaisunas, for suggestions on what could be done commercially "to put more life into the place without getting carried away."

Last year, Butenhoff hired Gaisunas as his farm manager and began boarding outside mares at Denlea Park. This year, he decided to buy some mares of his own and embark on a commercial breeding business.

"I did research on the New York-bred program and knew all about its benefits," Butenhoff said. "I have the feeling there will be a big upswing in the program."

Butenhoff currently owns seven mares and plans to acquire three to five more in the near future through the claiming box or at sales. He said his plan of attack is to place a premium on quality when arranging his matings.

"We want to be known in the market place as a really high-end boutique, focusing on quality, rather than quantity," Butenhoff said. "I want buyers to know that time, energy, thought, and money were spent in the whole process of getting a horse to the sales. Our number one goal will be to qualify horses to the select sales."

At the Midlantic sale, Butenhoff paid $70,000 for a Carnivalay mare, Polar Capp, who is in foal to Two Punch. Another Butenhoff acquisition, Criminal Princess, in foal to New York sire Regal Classic, was bought for $28,000.

Butenhoff's buying spree also netted him a Forty Niner mare, Saramah, in foal to Regal Classic. Saramah's Silver Deputy weanling sold for $70,000, the top price for a New York-bred weanling at the Midlantic sale. A Colonial Affair mare in foal to Rubiyat ($7,000) and a Relaunch mare in foal to Partner's Hero ($12,000) completed Butenhoff's broodmare purchases.

Also this year, Butenhoff bought a barren Green Dancer mare, Dazzling Dancer, and a Housebuster mare in foal to Cherokee Run at Keeneland last month for $107,000.

Butenhoff recently purchased a share in Radio Star, a half-brother to Dynaformer, who will stand as a first-year sire in New York in 2002 at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Although Butenhoff hasn't settled on all his matings for the upcoming breeding season, he anticipates sending many of his mares to Kentucky stallions.

"As the [New York] market place develops further, I'll look at New York stallions," Butenhoff said. "The market isn't quite there yet."