One of the very possible outcomes for Lady Aurelia's time at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Selected Mixed Sale is that she arrives, sells for one of the auction's highest prices, and goes back home on the same trailer.
Lady Aurelia took an ownership group including breeder Stonestreet Farm on an international itinerary that included stakes wins in the U.S., England, and France. Her wins in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at the Royal Ascot meet and the G1 Prix Morny at Deauville earned her the Cartier Award as Europe's champion 2-year-old filly of 2016. She returned to Royal Ascot the following year to take the G1 King's Stand Stakes.
Stonestreet is well recognized for the curation of its broodmare band, either through the purchase of prospects at auction or retiring its runners to the farm. Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, champion My Miss Aurelia, and Grade 1 winners Cavorting, Dreaming of Julia, and Rachel's Valentina all entered the Stonestreet broodmare program after racing under its colors, just to name a few.
So, why will Lady Aurelia be going through the sale ring on Nov. 4?
“Because I have partners,” said Stonestreet owner Barbara Banke. “I've had partners all through her career and I can't just say, 'Sorry, bye, see ya. She's mine.' We're doing the right thing [by the partners] to put her in the sale and see what happens.”
Lady Aurelia sold to Peter Leidel and George Bolton for $350,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale, and Banke bought back into the Scat Daddy filly prior to her first race. Bolton later left the partnership.
Though she will be part of the ownership group offering Lady Aurelia through consignor Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, Banke said the option of bidding to buy out her partners and take the horse home herself was very much on the table.
“It depends,” she said. “I think people have to be aware of that. I think people would expect it, knowing the partnership situation. It is what it is. I try to always be very fair to my partners, and this is part of that.”
The auction ring is often used to dissolve partnerships when one or more in the group want to stay in on the horse, with the departing members receiving their share of the sale price. This establishes a valuation on the horse based on the open market's reception in lieu of setting a buyout price privately, and allows all parties to sell the horse if they choose.
The most lucrative example of a partnership dissolving in the auction ring comes from 2007 Broodmare of the Year Better Than Honour, who was offered at the 2008 Fasig-Tipton November Sale when co-owners Southern Equine and Hill 'n' Dale Farms were dispersing their joint interests.
Mike Moreno of Southern Equine previously owned a 70 percent stake in the mare, and walked away with full ownership after the fall of the hammer for a world-record $14 million. However, Moreno's actual cost was significantly less than the hammer price because of his status as both the buyer and co-seller.
Lady Aurelia is out of the Forest Wildcat mare D'Wildcat Speed, a Group 1 winner in Puerto Rico and Grade 2 winner in the U.S. who was purchased by Stonestreet as a broodmare prospect for $1 million at the 2005 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. Prior to Lady Aurelia, D'Wildcat Speed's most notable runner was the stakes-placed Tiznow horse Titletown Five, who ran in the 2013 Preakness Stakes.
“We bought the mare and we had high hopes for her, but she was sort of knocking on the door until she had [Lady Aurelia], then she blew right through it,” Banke said.
Even if Banke decides not go back in on Lady Aurelia, she will have plenty of options to extend the female family. D'Wildcat Speed still resides in the Stonestreet broodmare band, carrying a Medaglia d'Oro filly due in 2019. She also has a yearling Munnings filly who Banke said bore a resemblance to her big sister.
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