08/02/2009 11:00PM

Partners proved to have Grade 1 eye


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Vision Sales no longer owns Seventh Street, but it still has a big rooting interest in Godolphin's filly. When she scored a decisive victory in the Go for Wand Handicap on Sunday, her second Grade 1 win this year, Vision Sales partners Diannah and Brandon Perry and Jill and John Stephens took pride in the fact that they knew her when she was just a yearling, and took a winning gamble on her back then.

The Perrys and the Stephenses put together both racing and pinhooking (reselling) partnerships, and when they spotted Seventh Street at the 2006 Keeneland September yearling sale, they thought she would make a good resale prospect.

"At the time, Street Cry hadn't done anything and wasn't like he is now. Everyone wants a Street Cry now," said Brandon Perry. "But we liked this filly's pedigree, and she was very balanced and attractive."

Seventh Street's sire, Street Cry, might have been an unknown quantity - his first crop had only just reached the races - but the fact that he was owned by Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's Darley Stud was a plus, because Darley strongly supports high-quality sales horses by its stallions. Her dam, Holiday Runner, had a record that impressed the Vision Sales team. At 2, she beat males in Churchill's Juvenile Stakes, defeating a field that included future graded winners Zavata and Posse.

"We liked that," Perry said. "And because we intended to pinhook her, we liked that there was speed and class in the family."

The plan nearly came undone moments before Seventh Street headed into the auction ring. As the partners stood watching her in the Keeneland sale pavilion's back walking ring, Seventh Street suddenly reared and flipped over backwards, Perry recalled.

"We were like, 'Oh my God,' " Perry said. "But she was on the rubber pavers, and she wasn't any worse for the wear, so we went in and bid on her."

They got her for $100,000.

"At the time, that was a lot of money for a Street Cry," he said. "It was a little more than we had expected to pay. We were all there for the bidding, and we just decided that it looked like one more bid would do it, so we did it. If they had bid one more time we probably wouldn't have gone on."

It proved a lucky and profitable buy. When Vision sent her to Fasig-Tipton's Calder select 2-year-old auction, Seventh Street brought a $1 million bid from Maktoum's representative, John Ferguson. "Our reserve was nowhere near that," Perry said.

But even that triumph didn't come off without an unlucky hitch.

"During the breaking and training process when she was down at Stephens Thoroughbreds with our partners, John and Jill Stephens, about 30 days before the sale John called and said, 'I think this filly's pretty special,' " Perry said. "So we were excited. At the time, the Calder sale still had two breeze shows. We shipped her down there, and she got a little sick when she got there. We had to miss the first breeze show, which is a disaster."

The partners sought out potential buyers to explain that they liked their filly and that she had scratched from the under-tack preview because of minor illness. But they were concerned that by the time the next breeze show rolled around, buyers would already have filled their shortlists with horses they had seen perform.

"Fortunately, she came back, was perfect, and went an eighth in 10 seconds flat," Perry said. "And she looked unbelievably well doing it. We knew she had all the ability, but she only had one chance to prove it."

She has proven it emphatically since taking to the racetrack for Darley, even though bad luck has sometimes stalked her even there. After finishing third in her debut at Gulfstream in January 2008, Seventh Street injured her withers and required nearly a year off. She returned at Aqueduct in November with a four-length win and hasn't looked back.

Perry recalled that trainer Kiaran McLaughlin had said, 'I've had a few other horses do similar things, and two of them have come back and won Grade 1's.' "

Make that three.

Farms expand stallion schedules

Two central Kentucky breeding farms have announced recently that they will make stallions available to cover mares in Kentucky on Southern Hemisphere breeding time. The Southern Hemisphere breeding season usually opens around Sept. 1.

Walmac Farm will stand Successful Appeal and Songandaprayer for $8,500 to breeders wanting covers this summer for Southern Hemisphere timing.

Adena Springs will offer all its sires, both at the Paris, Ky., farm and at the Williston, Fla., operation, on Southern Hemisphere time.

Offering stallions for Southern Hemisphere-timed coverings is one way stud farms can attempt to maximize a breeding market while reducing risks and costs associated with shipping horses overseas.