Craig Bandoroff has been caring for and overseeing the second career (and now retirement) of superstar racemare Serena's Song for 20 years now. The 25-year-old mare lives at Bandoroff's Denali Stud, and her family keeps blossoming and following in her hoof prints. There has been no skipping generations as far as Serena's Song and her daughters producing stakes winners. She has six stakes winners (so far) to her credit.
Serena's Song became the first champion for California-based owners Bob and Beverly Lewis, before they gained further fame winning the Kentucky Derby (G1) with Silver Charm and Charismatic. The daughter of Rahy—Imagining (by Northfields) won 11 grade 1 events and nearly $3.3 million in her brilliant career, and every time Bob Lewis broached the topic of selling her to restock the Lewis stable with colts, his wife wouldn't hear of it.
Serena's Song's name popped up again when her grandson Made You Look, out of her daughter Night and Day, took the Jan. 7 Dania Beach Stakes (G3T) at Gulfstream Park. Made You Look was bred by the Robert and Beverly Lewis Trust, which keeps Night and Day and her half-sister Serene Melody boarded at Denali.
"The daughters and granddaughters of Serena's Song are all producing," Bandoroff said. "It's gratifying to look at a family you played a role in starting, and she's been incredible. Every once in a while you come across an oil well that keeps producing."
Another beneficiary of the Serena's Song dynasty is trainer Charlie LoPresti, who gained fame as the trainer of the great turf runner Wise Dan. Although the Lewises are better known for their association with their Derby-winning trainers D. Wayne Lukas and Bob Baffert, Bob Lewis was giving horses to LoPresti from the time he got into the Thoroughbred game. The Lewises' oldest son, Jeff, runs the family's small breeding and racing operation today, with LoPresti handling the racetrack training.
Serene Melody won the Wintergreen Stakes for Lewis and LoPresti before heading off to broodmare duty last year. She is a daughter of Serena's Song and is about to foal her first offspring, by War Front . LoPresti also has Miner's Cat, a granddaughter of Serena's Song by Mineshaft , who has run out $121,000 in earnings thus far; and Gold Serenade, a 3-year-old out of Serena's Song by Medaglia d'Oro .
"I love Charlie and (his wife) Amy and respect them, and they do great with our horses," Jeff Lewis said. "We couldn't sell Miner's Cat, and she's been running well for us, so it's better to be lucky than good.
"If not for Serena, we might not be in the business anymore."
Night and Day produced a Speightstown colt that Denali sold for the Lewis Trust for $625,000 last year as a yearling, so business is looking up. "She is a big, beautiful mare," Bandoroff said. "It's always exciting to get a mare off to a good start, especially one like her, with her pedigree.
"Although Jeff has cut back from the numbers his parents had, he's very committed to the legacy his parents started, and the main focus of that legacy is carrying on through the daughters and granddaughters of Serena's Song. Night and Day is a mare we could sell for a lot of money, but he doesn't have any interest in doing that. He wants to stick with the family."
From Lenny Shulman for Bloodhorse.com