Champion Lady Aurelia due to visit Curlin for a star-studded first date
The Hill ?n? Dale Farms sire is standing the 2019 season at a fee of $175,000
After flirting with the idea of sending Cartier champion Lady Aurelia back to Europe to be bred this season, Stonestreet Stables owner Barbara Banke has decided to keep the daughter of Scat Daddy in Kentucky and mate her with Stonestreet stallion Curlin
“I considered every leading sire standing throughout the world. In all respects, I feel Curlin is the perfect choice to get Lady Aurelia off to a great start,” Banke said in a statement released via social media.
Immediately after prevailing in bidding for Lady Aurelia at the Fasig-Tipton November auction at a sale-topping $7.5 million while in effect buying out a partner, Banke mentioned Curlin when asked about possible matings for the broodmare prospect. However, she also indicated that European stallions were on her radar for the now five-year-old homebred mare.
“What we really like is (her) speed. We hope she passes that on. We’re trying to figure out whether we go American or European first,” Banke said at the time.
The mating between Curlin and Lady Aurelia, who won the Queen Mary Stakes and Prix Morny in her 2016 championship juvenile season and returned to Royal Ascot the following year to capture the King’s Stand Stakes, will result in a foal who will be inbred 3x4 to Mr Prospector. The match rates highly on some nicking services.
Curlin, who is standing this season for a fee of $175,000 at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms, has sired 697 foals in eight crops racing age, not including his 109 juveniles of 2019, none of which have started.
To date, Curlin has 52 black-type winners, or 7.5 per cent from his racing age crops other than this year's two-year-olds, and his offspring include champions Good Magic and Stellar Wind, Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator, Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice and Travers Stakes winner Keen Ice.
Stonestreet bred Lady Aurelia from the Grade 2-winning Forest Wildcat mare D’ Wildcat Speed, a $1m acquisition in 2005 who remains in the farm’s broodmare band. D’ Wildcat Speed delivered a Munnings half-sister to Lady Aurelia in May 2017 and was not bred back that season; she visited Medaglia D’Oro last year and conceived a filly, Banke said.
Lady Aurelia’s victorious forays to Royal Ascot provided Banke with the most fun she has enjoyed in racing, she said while discussing why she decided to buy the muscular bay back at Fasig-Tipton. At sale time, the mare had been co-owned with Peter Leidel after Stonestreet had previously acquired the interest that had been owned by another partner, George Bolton.
Leidel and Bolton were reported as buyers of Lady Aurelia when she was listed as sold for $350,000 by Stonestreet as a yearling through consignor James Herbener Jr at the Keeneland September yearling sale.
Stonestreet joined them in racing Lady Aurelia, a partnering tactic employed with other highly-regarded homebreds – such as champion Good Magic, campaigned with e5 Racing Thoroughbreds – after they were offered at auction.
Lady Aurelia rose to such a rare stature, as a stakes winner in the US and a champion in Europe, that Banke once again did not want to part with her, hence the bidding at Fasig-Tipton.
“It’s hard to come up with something that good,” Banke reflected after Lady Aurelia left the Fasig-Tipton sale ring. “In the horse business, we’re all about hope, we’re all about the future, we’re all about breeding future champions. If we can do that again [with Lady Aurelia’s foals], it would be really awesome.”
Curlin’s 2019 book of mares looks set to include a stellar line-up, after the Racing Post this week revealed that Stage Magic, dam of Triple Crown hero Justify, was also being sent to the Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms resident by breeders John and Tanya Gunther.
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