-courtesy of The Daily Racing Form
V. E. Day’s dramatic stretch run to nip Wicked Strong at the wire in the Travers Stakes on Saturday at Saratoga gave the colt his first graded stakes win, and put his name among the list of Grade 1 winners consigned by Denali Stud.
The 3-year-old son of English Channel was sent through the ring by Craig and Holly Bandoroff’s Paris, Ky.-based consignment operation as Hip No. 1260 at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale, selling to Bradley Thoroughbreds for $105,000.
After both graduating from the University of Kentucky and marrying, the Bandoroffs moved to New York when Craig took a job with Fasig-Tipton. He worked at the auction company for five years before joining Holly at Barry Weisbord’s Executive Bloodstock.
They moved back to Kentucky when Craig was offered a job directing sales operations for the newly-founded Crystal Springs, from which they would eventually lease the first barns that launched Denali Stud in 1990. The Bandoroffs now own the land, along with about 700 acres surrounding those barns.
From there, Denali Stud grew into one of the industry’s most notable birthplaces and sellers of successful racehorses. Champions and Grade 1 winners born or raised at Denali, or sold by the farm as agent, include Animal Kingdom, Uncle Mo, David Junior, Ipi Tombe, Stravinsky, Royal Academy, Spring in the Air, Left Bank, Real Quiet, Haynesfield, Deputy Commander, A Shin Forward, and King’s Best.
Denali Stud also consigned Mushka, who topped the 2006 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale at $1.5 million, then went on to become a Grade 1 winner. Santa Catarina’s $4.8-million price tag was the highest at the 2004 Keeneland November breeding stock sale, following a Grade 2-winning career.
V. E. Day was purchased as a pinhooking prospect at the 2012 Keeneland September sale, and was sold again for $135,000 at the 2013 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March selected 2-year-olds in training sale.
The colt’s Travers victory improved his lifetime record to four wins in six starts for earnings of $829,010. He races for owner Magalen Bryant and trainer Jimmy Jerkens.
Craig Bandoroff took a moment to reflect on V. E. Day leading up to the 2012 Keeneland September sale and his placement in the catalog.
“He shipped into the sale to us from [Brad Kelley’s] Bluegrass Hall. We weren’t around him a long time, but we were fortunate that he came through our hands.
“He was a nice horse. I remember we liked him enough to put him in Book 2. Book 2 is a good book. It takes a good, physical horse to get in there and be good enough to be well-accepted. The competition in Book 2 is pretty strong.
“He had plenty of scope and he had some quality. I don’t think English Channel was quite as commercial or proven at that point as he is now. We stretched a little bit, bur we knew he was a good physical horse. Eddie [Kane, Calumet Farm’s general manager] and I put our heads together and just decided that’s where he should be.”
On V. E. Day’s $105,000 sale price…
“I think the reserve was probably a little less than that. I don’t remember exactly, but I do remember that we were all happy with the sale. We thought it was a good price for an English Channel at that time.
“Pete Bradley and Eddie Woods, who bought him, are good judges. It takes a good horse for those guys to buy one, so we knew that he was being well-received by the right people and it turned out to be a good story.”