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Stonestreet Farms weighing up their options as Lady Aurelia heads to sales

Michele MacDonald catches up with connections of the flying Scat Daddy filly

Lady Aurelia strikes a pose at Stonestreet Farm
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Not many horses are feted with their own garden party or their own website, but when it comes to Lady Aurelia, everything changes, to paraphrase the current advertising campaign of her breeder and co-owner, Stonestreet Farms, in advance of the filly’s appearance at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale.

Yet Stonestreet owner Barbara Banke does not really want to sell the powerfully made bay daughter of Scat Daddy, who demolished her competition in the 2016 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and returned the following year to show her heels to 16 rivals in the King's Stand Stakes.

“Because I have partners,” Banke explained of the auction plans as Stonestreet offered media guests a chance to visit with Lady Aurelia and trainer Wesley Ward over wine, macaroons and mini bundt cakes on Friday. “I’ve had partners all throughout her career and I can’t just say, 'Sorry. Bye. See you'.

“We’re doing the right thing by putting her in the sale and seeing what happens.”

But Banke may not have to tell the filly goodbye, either. She has not ruled out bidding on Lady Aurelia and bringing her back to her birthplace to join her dam and, eventually, her half-sister in Stonestreet’s illustrious broodmare band.

“It depends. I think people have to be aware of that,” she said of the possibility of bidding. “I’m not saying no. It is what it is. We’ll see how it goes, but I always try to be fair to my partners.” 

Lady Aurelia lands the 2017 King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot

Publicising Lady Aurelia’s entry in the Fasig-Tipton sale is part of her effort to be fair to partners George Bolton and Peter Leidel, both of whom are investment management specialists, she said. 

Bolton has been a partner with Stonestreet on other horses, including 2011 champion juvenile filly My Miss Aurelia. Both My Miss Aurelia and Lady Aurelia carry the name of Bolton’s mother.

Lady Aurelia has proved to be “super special” to Stonestreet, Banke said, pointing to her Royal Ascot performances as exceptional.

“She’s meant a whole lot of fun, and she’s a great product of our breeding programme. We bought the mare and we had high hopes for her, but she was sort of always knocking on the door until she had this one. Then she blew right through it,” Banke said.

“[Lady Aurelia] is a great filly, super fast. I think she’ll make a great broodmare.”

“You’re looking at speed,” Ward said, pointing to Lady Aurelia before giving her a pat and a peppermint.

Foaled on January 27, 2014, Lady Aurelia is the sixth foal to live from her dam, D’ Wildcat Speed, a now 18-year-old daughter of Forest Wildcat. Stonestreet paid $1 million for D’ Wildcat Speed at the 2005 Keeneland November breeding stock sale after she had won 16 races, reigned as Puerto Rico’s Horse of the Year and validated her quality by winning a Grade 2 event in the US.

Barbara Banke: "We?re doing the right thing by putting her in the sale and seeing what happens"

Stonestreet offered Lady Aurelia at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale and she was listed as sold to Bolton and Leidel for $350,000. But, as also happened with 2017 champion juvenile Good Magic, who was bred by the farm and sold at Keeneland to e5 Racing, Stonestreet stayed in as a partner for her racing career.

In addition to her Royal Ascot victories, Lady Aurelia also won the Prix Morny and finished third in the Cheveley Park Stakes in 2016, and she finished second by a nose to Marsha in the 2017 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes. Overall, including her triumph in the 2017 Giant’s Causeway Stakes at Keeneland, Lady Aurelia won half of her ten starts and banked $834,945 for her owners.

No doubt all parties involved with Lady Aurelia have noted that Coolmore’s MV Magnier paid 6,000,000gns for Marsha at the 2017 Tattersalls December sale. There are parallels with their racing talents as both are two-time Group 1 winners, although Lady Aurelia is by the hugely popular Scat Daddy, which could boost her profile with potential buyers, while Marsha is by Acclamation.

Banke opted to keep Lady Aurelia’s yearling half-sister by Munnings this year rather than offer her at auction, and she said that the chestnut filly has a build similar to Lady Aurelia’s physique.

Meanwhile, as Stonestreet announced Lady Aurelia’s date at Fasig-Tipton and launched a website with the address to promote her, D’ Wildcat Speed is living a leisurely life at the farm while in foal to Medaglia D’Oro. She is carrying a filly.

“Medaglia D’Oro is a great international sire of fillies so we’re tickled with that one,” Banke said.

Stonestreet has much to celebrate these days as the farm is enjoying its best sale of yearlings at the Keeneland September auction at least since prior to the global economic crisis, Banke said, and perhaps ever.

Offering its yearlings through a variety of consignors with the designation of those horses being “Stonestreet Bred & Raised” on the catalogue pages, Stonestreet has sold 31 yearlings through the first six of 13 sale sessions for a total of $16.565m (£12,640,500/€14,201,175) and an average price of $534,355.

In 2007, the first year Stonestreet used that designation in the Keeneland catalogue, the farm sold 68 yearlings for a total of $10,637,500.

The farm maintains one of the best broodmare bands in America with residents including My Miss Aurelia, who has produced fillies by Medaglia D’Oro and Tapit in 2017 and 2018 and was bred back to Medaglia D’Oro; the farm has so far retained the fillies.

Other mares owned by Stonestreet include 2014 American champion turf mare Dayatthespa, a $2.1m auction purchase by City Zip whose yearling colt by Medaglia D’Oro was bought last week at Keeneland by Godolphin for $1.6m; Rachel’s Valentina, the Grade 1 winner by Bernardini out of champion Rachel Alexandra who delivered her first foal, a Curlin colt, this year and was bred back to Pioneerof the Nile.

Also, Grade 1 winner Molly Morgan, a daughter of Ghostzapper whose yearling Curlin colt brought a final bid of $1.8m last week from Larry Best of OXO Equine; Exotic Bloom, by Montbrook and dam of multiple Grade 1 winner Stopchargingmaria and a yearling colt by Medaglia D’Oro sold last week for $2.1m to Phoenix Thoroughbreds, and Fiftyshadesofhay, a $1.3m acquisition in 2014 whose yearling colt by Speightstown sold for $750,000 to China Horse Club and WinStar Farm’s Maverick Racing.

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I?ve had partners all throughout her career and I can?t just say, 'Sorry. Bye. See you'
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