Stonestreet and Bolton fired late at the Spa, with the session nearing its end, John Moynihan, bidding on behalf of Barbara Banke's Stonestreet Stable and George Bolton, fired the final shot of $1.1 million
to secure hip 91, a colt by Empire Maker. The main competition during the fast and furious duel came from a pair of Japanese clients of John McCormick who were seated near the back of the pavilion. Consigned by Craig and Holly Bandoroff's Denali Stud, the Mar. 19 foal is out of stakes winner Sluice (Seeking the Gold), a daughter of triple Grade I winner Lakeway (Seattle Slew). The 14-year-old mare, who is a half-sister to GI Kentucky Oaks third-place finisher Flying Spur (Giant's Causeway), is already the dam of this colt's full sister, GI Spinster S. winner Mushka.
"He is a beautiful horse and he is by a great stallion," said Moynihan. "He is a full-brother to a really good horse. The matings worked. He is just really nice and he looks like he could be fast and go far. And if he does those things, he certainly has a lot of stallion potential. Especially with Bodemiester [Empire Maker] just selling [privately] the way he did."
Despite Monday's subdued final statistics, Craig Bandoroff felt rewarded for a good horse.
"It's a lot of a money, so how can you not be happy?" asked Bandoroff. "He's a beautiful horse and he's
getting a good home, so we are thrilled. I would have been disappointed with anything less for that kind of horse. It was past the reserve, but those animals are really hard to come by and when you get one like that, it is certainly in the ballpark that you are hoping for."
And how did the buying team feel about spending the session's second highest price for the youngster? "When John says that this is the best one, we listen," admitted Banke. "I think a lot of people might just wait for [Keeneland] September, but if you see a really good one here, you buy it. This colt was nice enough that the people we love [Denali] said we couldn't wait for Keeneland, because there weren't going to be that many that are that good at Keeneland, so it is fun that we got him."
In partnership, Bolton and Stonestreet have campaigned Horse of the Year Curlin (Smart Strike), GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies' heroine My Miss Aurelia (Smart Strike), Grade III winner Astrology (A.P. Indy) and GII Dwyer S. hero Dominus (Smart Strike), winner of a Saratoga allowance for trainer Todd Pletcher Aug. 4.
"We've had so much fun and have had some good luck together," said Bolton of the Stonestreet/Bolton
partnership. "With the colts, it's always smart to split them up a bit. I'd rather own a half a horse with Barbara as opposed to owning the whole horse by myself, for all the reasons. I've done better with Barbara than apart. So it's all good." Banke echoed the sentiment. "I really enjoy having partners, because it spreads the risk and you get twice the horses out of the partnership," said Banke. Stonestreet has enjoyed overflowing success with its juvenile division, with the likes of “TDN Rising Stars” Kauai Katie (Malibu Moon), Dreaming of Julia (A.P. Indy) and Teen Pauline (Tapit). "You don't really have to go to far out of that division to see that Stonestreet is dominating," offered Bolton.
Despite its excess of homegrown talent, Banke pointed out the decision to go to visit the sales' arena. "We like to bring in other bloodlines and good stallion pedigrees," explained Banke. "I have some stallion pedigrees that I bred, but this is one I don't have. This is a really good one. This is really a live pedigree, on both the stallion's and mare's side. This is a stallion pedigree with a great physical to go with it." Diane and Guy Snowden raced Sluice, herself a $1.5-million Keeneland July yearling, and were pleased with the mare's produce. "He was a beautiful colt and beautifully prepared and we are very pleased with that," stated Diane Snowden. "That was about the range we were looking at, judging by the family and the wonderful record of Mushka, we thought he would be around there." To date, Sluice has only produced a single filly, Mushka; however, the Snowden's indicated they might keep one in the future. "I've been waiting and waiting [for a filly] because normally we sell the colts and keep the fillies," explained Snowden. "We sold Mushka [a sale-topping $1.6 million FTSAUG buy by Zayat Stables in 2006], because she was the first foal and we wanted to make some sense out of buying the mare." the sale all weekend, and Bandoroff summed up his overall experience on opening day of the sale. "He's not only one of the best horses I've had this year, he is one of the nicest horses I've ever had my hands on," admitted Bandoroff. "I would put him up there with Royal Academy, Harlington and Grand Reward. Those types of horses are hard to come by and they're special. With John Moynihan buying him, I'd be very surprised if we don't read about him in acouple of years." --CBoss for TDN