10/04/2013 1:59PM

Stonestreet helps fuel market with partnerships


Among the diverse group of buyers who helped to fuel record-setting figures at last month’s Keeneland September yearling sale, Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Farm made a notable impact by purchasing several horses in high-profile partnerships.

Stonestreet was involved in the purchase of 13 yearlings for a total of $7,940,000, ranking the operation among the leading players at a Keeneland September sale that finished with its highest gross since 2008 and established a record median. The bulk of that amount, $5,565,000, was spent on five yearlings acquired in partnership with three different entities: B. Wayne Hughes’s Spendthrift Farm, Antony Beck’s Gainesway, and Nat Rea’s Regis Farms.

Banke said buying colts in partnership allows both parties to minimize their risk in developing a racing and stud prospect.

“I’d prefer to have partners in colts,” Banke said. “That way, if it works out, it’s great for everybody, and if it doesn’t work out, then you share the pain.”

Mark Toothaker, director of sales at Spendthrift, echoed that risk reduction is the main attraction to purchasing colts in partnership.

“[Stonestreet] is certainly in a position where they could buy anything they want to buy on their own, and certainly Mr. Hughes could buy anything he wanted to buy on his own,” Toothaker said. “In both cases, [the sale yearlings] were very good horses we wanted to own, and we felt partnering up together on those horses would take some risk off the table. Hopefully, some things are going to work out – hopefully, it all works out – but the reality in the horse business is that not everything works out 100 percent of the time. But we’re very excited about what we bought.”

Campaigning horses in partnership is nothing new for Stonestreet, which frequently purchases stock in partnership with George Bolton and co-owns champion My Miss Aurelia with him. While Rea is a new player on the major auction scene this year, Banke characterized both Hughes and Beck as “old friends” and in fact has campaigned horses with both in the past.

Stonestreet and Spendthrift campaigned Grade 2 winners Dominus, Tiz Wonderful, and Wilburn together, with all three now standing at Spendthrift. The farms bought a pair of horses in partnership at Keeneland September, including one of the sale’s most anticipated offerings – a Medaglia d’Oro colt who is a half-brother to Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, from the family of Grade 1-winners Bluegrass Cat and Rhythm. The partnership landed the colt for $1.7 million, making him the fourth-most-expensive horse at the sale.

Both outfits have connections to the colt’s sire, Medaglia d’Oro, and cited pedigree as a factor in the purchase.

“If he makes a couple of good graded-stakes starts, he’ll be a wonderful stud. We had the best Medaglia d’Oro ever, and he reminded me of her,” Banke said, refering to 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra.

Spendthrift stands Warrior’s Reward, a Grade 1-winning son of Medaglia d’Oro, at stud.

“[This yearling] was such an obvious horse, and we’re so excited about Warrior’s Reward,” Toothaker said. “We hope this horse can go out and win a Grade 1 like Warrior’s Reward did, and with his female family, it’s very exciting having a horse like this.”

Stonestreet and Spendthrift also purchased a $925,000 Distorted Humor colt together.

Stonestreet’s and Gainesway’s co-purchases were highlighted by a $1.2 million Tapit colt who is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Justin Phillip and four other stakes horses. The farms also purchased a $190,000 Afleet Express colt together.

“I’m delighted to have Barbara back as my partner. We’ve had a few,” Beck said. “The progeny of Tapit are being so well-accepted by the market, and the market seems to be very, very strong.”

Gainesway stands both Tapit and Afleet Express, as well as the latter’s sire, Afleet Alex, who launched the operation’s connection with Stonestreet. Banke’s late husband, Jess Jackson, privately purchased Afleet Alex’s dam, Maggy Hawk, following the colt’s Grade 1-winning juvenile season. Afleet Alex went on to win the 2005 Preakness and Belmont Stakes to earn 3-year-old championship honors, and Stonestreet acquired an interest in him upon his retirement to Gainesway.

Banke landed another Tapit colt in partnership at the Keeneland September sale, partnering with Rea on a $1.55 million son of Gainesway’s popular commercial sire.

Stonestreet's Keeneland September purchases in partnership
$1,700,000 – c., Medaglia d’Oro – Supercharger, by A.P. Indy. Consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent; purchased in partnership with Spendthrift Farm.

This colt, the fourth-highest-priced horse at the Keeneland September sale, is a half-brother to Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, Grade 3 winner Brethren, stakes-placed Lisa T., and stakes producer Quickest. It is the family of champion Rhythm, Grade 1 winners and sires Bluegrass Cat and Girolamo, and Grade 2 winner Daydreaming.

$1,550,000 – c., Tapit – Successful Outlook, by Orientate. Consigned by Gainesway, agent; purchased in partnership with Regis Farms.
Out of Grade 3 winner Successful Outlook, this colt is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Sweet Lulu, who has been beaten just once in five career starts.

$1,200,000 – c., Tapit – Ava Knowsthecode, by Cryptoclearance. Consigned by Valkyre Stud, agent for Oakbrook Farm; purchased in partnership with Gainesway.
This colt is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Justin Phillip, Grade 2 winner Keyed Entry, Grade 3 winners Algorithms and Successful Mission, and stakes winner Alex’s Allure.

$925,000 – c., Distorted Humor – Copper State, by Jump Start. Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent; purchased in partnership with Spendthrift Farm.
This colt’s dam is a multiple stakes winner and is Grade 1-placed.

$190,000 – c., Afleet Express – Kirsche, by Defrere. Consigned by Baccari Bloodstock, agent; purchased in partnership with Gainesway.
This colt’s unraced dam had produced five winners from five foals to start. It is the family of Grade 3 winner Watchmon.