11/18/2010 3:46PM

Vinery Stud will take over Empire Stud in New York

Barbara D. Livingston
The 5-year-old Justenuffhumor has been retired and will stand at Vinery New York.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – As New York Thoroughbred breeders and owners anticipate the arrival of casino-style gaming at Aqueduct, Kentucky’s Vinery Stud has announced it will take over management of Empire Stud in Hudson, N.Y., under the name of Vinery New York.

The announcement is the latest sign that Kentucky-based stud farms could renew their interest – and their investment – in New York now that the nine-year wait for slots at Aqueduct finally appears to be over. In October, Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs organization announced it would relocate five of its stallions to New York from its Kentucky and Canadian farms. Both Stronach and Vinery’s president, Tom Ludt, cited the new casino operation planned for Aqueduct next year as significant factors in their decisions.

Kentucky-based Vinery dipped a toe in the New York stallion market this year, sending Posse and Repent to Empire Stud with $10,000 and $5,000 fees, respectively, in 2010.

On Thursday, Vinery New York added Darley’s Justenuffhumor, a dual Grade 2-winning son of Distorted Humor. The 5-year-old Justenuffhumor has retired from racing and will stand for $5,000, stands and nurses. Justenuffhumor won the 2009 Bernard Baruch and Fourstardave handicaps and was third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He’s out of the Broad Brush stakes winner Justenuffheart.

“The New York breeding program is poised to become one of the most lucrative places in the country to raise a horse,” said Charlie Boden, Darley's director of sales. “We think Justenuffhumor will be well-received by New York breeders, given his race record and world-class pedigree.”

In a release announcing Vinery’s plan to take over Empire Stud, Ludt said “We have seen benefits from operating in a regional market, and with casinos boosting the New York program, we think that there will be a more lucrative market for New York-breds.”

The announcement also noted that Vinery will send a group of Vinery-owned mares to the New York farm to be bred and foaled there.

“We have seen benefits from operating in a regional market, and with casinos boosting the New York program, we think that there will be a more lucrative market for New York-breds,” Ludt said in the release announcing the plan. The announcement also noted that Vinery will send a group of Vinery-owned mares to the New York farm to be bred and foaled there.

Ludt said Wednesday night that Vinery is “aggressively pursuing our options for stallion prospects for New York” and also might relocate another stallion from its own roster to the Empire State.

Vinery’s Kentucky stallion roster features Congrats, who recently relocated from Florida, Cactus Ridge, Kodiak Kowboy, Limehouse, More Than Ready, Pioneerof the Nile, Pure Prize, Purge, Silver Train, Stormello, and Street Hero. Vinery also has a division in Ocala, Fla., where it stands Benny the Bull, D’wildcat, J Be K, Maimonides, and Pomeroy.

Empire Stud president Jamie LaMonica remains heavily invested in the operation, which he established with a partner in 2003. Empire Stud is owned by “a diverse group of industry leaders from around the country,” according to the farm’s website.

Sarava shifts to Bridlewood

Belmont Stakes winner Sarava will relocate within Florida for the 2011 breeding season, joining the Bridlewood Farm roster next year.

The 11-year-old Sarava, a son of Wild Again, doesn’t have a fee yet.

Sarava stood at Double Diamond Farm this year for a $3,000 fee. He is the sire of such runners as Sweetest Rhythm and Belo Sorte from three crops to race. A son of the Deputy Minister mare Rhythm of Life, Sarava won the Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico before beating Medaglia d’Oro and ending War Emblem’s Triple Crown bid in the 2002 Belmont.

Sarava is the only son of Wild Again at stud in Florida, noted Bridlewood manager George Isaacs.

Nownownow sells for $130,000

Weanlings, a popular commodity recently at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, remained at the top of the market again Thursday afternoon.

A $50,000 Sharp Humor-Anotherbusride colt led the session at 3 p.m. Eastern. Blandford Stud sold him to Silver Oaks Farm.

Weanlings had accounted for six of the session’s top 10 prices on Wednesday, including a $110,000 War Front-Legendary Lady colt who went to Gerald Bortolazzo from Beau Lane Bloodstock’s consignment.

But Wednesday’s session topper reflected the demand for quality racing-age stock. Nownownow, winner of the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and last year’s Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes, brought $130,000 on a session-topping bid from Richard Giacopelli. The Highclere Sales agency was the seller. The 5-year-old Nownownow, a son of Whywhywhy, sold as a racing or stallion prospect .

Through Wednesday’s 10th session, the auction had sold 2,425 horses, compared with 2,261 horses sold at the same point last season. But gross was down 7 percent, and the $59,506 average and $22,000 median were down 14 percent and 19 percent, respectively.

Wednesday’s third highest-priced horse was another racing or stallion prospect, Juddmonte Farms’s Canadian track record-setter Eagle Poise. Sean Clancy Bloodstock bought the 4-year-old Eagle Poise, a son of Empire Maker, from Mill Ridge Sales, agent, for $65,000. Eagle Poise is Grade 3-placed and has earned $258,033 from a career that so far has featured four wins in 16 starts.

The sale continues through Saturday.

Popular employee calls it quits

Wednesday’s session also marked a red-letter day for Brookdale Farm employee Kathi Barry. Barry, 60, led her final horse to the auction ring and was shocked when Keeneland’s auctioneers stopped the sale to note her retirement after 25 years with the Kentucky farm.

“She’s done everything for us,” said Brookdale sales director Joe Seitz. “She’s the first person at the barn in the morning about 3 a.m. and the last person that leaves at night when we’ve sold our last horse. She gets horses ready for the ring, she keeps them clean during the day, she keeps our staff in line as well as the horses. She knows most of the buyers, she’s friends with all the Keeneland staff and all the other consignors. She’s a conduit for the microcosm of the horse industry. Everybody knows and loves her.”

Barry, a Tampa,Fla., resident who also worked in the hunter-jumper business and at 2-year-old sales, got started at Brookdale through a friend, Sonya Kennedy, and stayed so long because she loved the people there.

“Wherever I lived, I came to the sales to work for Brookdale,” she said. “They like things done the right way, and so do I, so it was a perfect match.”

But it was time to retire, Barry added. “I don’t want to be Brett Favre,” she said. “I don’t want to throw an interception, and I’m not going out on a stretcher! That’s my reasoning. I turned 60 in September and went skydiving, and I had a blast. But you need to know when to pull up.”