Bloodlines: Good Timing, Quick Decisions Brought Sandstone To The Winner’s Circle

On the day that Churchill Downs ran the Street Sense Stakes, Oct. 31, a daughter of the 2006 juvenile champion and 2007 Kentucky Derby winner won the companion feature, the Rags to Riches Stakes for fillies.

Bred in Kentucky by Mark and Cindy Stansell, Sandstone won her stakes debut by 10 3/4 lengths in 1:44.18, which was faster than the colts ran in the Street Sense Stakes at the same distance.

Sandstone is the last foal out of her dam, the Seattle Slew mare Seattle Shimmer, who was 20 when she foaled this stakes winner.

Mark Stansell said, “Sandstone was one of the very best physicals out of her dam, who always threw nice babies. Seattle Shimmer had a very nice hip and would put that hip on foals, even from stallions who were a little light behind,” and due to the yearling filly’s appeal on physique and pedigree, the breeders got $165,000 for Sandstone at the 2020 Keeneland September sale.

“This was a really nice yearling,” Stansell said. “One reason she only brought $165,000 was that the foals from old mares, anything over 15, are not highly sought after [in the commercial market]. If that mare hadn’t been old, Sandstone would have brought more. She was that nice.”

Now a winner in two of her three starts, the Rags to Riches was the stakes debut for Sandstone, and she became her dam’s first stakes winner. Two earlier foals, Sway Away (Afleet Alex) and Shaken (Uncle Mo), placed in Grade 2 company. Sway Away was second in the G2 Best Pal, San Vicente, and San Carlos; Shaken was third in the G2 Rachel Alexandra.

Yet, they almost never were.

The dam of these three talented stakes horses, as well as other good winners, was one of the last foals by Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew (by Bold Reasoning), himself a foal of 1974. The near-black champion had problems with his neck vertebrae late in life that required surgery and curtailed the last years of his stud career.

A foal of 1999, Seattle Shimmer was bred in Kentucky by Albert Finney, and Mickey and Karen Taylor. She and her stakes-winning dam received the best of care, but when the filly was born, she was “severely contracted as a foal,” said Kentucky horseman Bob Sliger, who spent many years with the Eaton Farms yearling division.

Contracted tendons are not rare among Thoroughbred foals, and the condition’s name accurately describes the problem. A foal’s long tendons are tightly contracted, rather than loose and flexible, when the foal is born. This can cause considerable problems with standing and nursing, and if not addressed appropriately and as early as possible, the malady has the potential to cripple a foal for life.

Seattle Shimmer, however, was in good hands.

Sliger continued: “We used PVC pipe to help get her legs straightened out, and it helped her a lot. She was broken but never went into training. That’s when they had just lost Seattle Slew, and they went out of the horse business. When they did that, they gave the mare to me.”

For Sliger and former Eaton Farms manager Billy Tillery, Seattle Shimmer bred some very nice prospects, including Sway Away.

Sliger recalled that “Mark had bought three foals out of the mare off me and was crazy about Seattle Shimmer. She was a beautiful mare, a kind and lovely mare. Just a sweetheart, and Mark really wanted the mare.”

Stansell said he “was buying weanlings to resell as yearlings, and I got to know Bob after buying the third foal out of the mare, went and bought mare and the foal at side, who turned out to be Sway Away.

“She is buried in my back yard, he continued. “I have 87 acres, but buried her there.”

To produce Sandstone, Stansell “bred her to Street Sense, and this was one of the very best physicals out of the mare.”

In addition to the other foals out of Seattle Shimmer, Stansell sold, then repurchased and raced Shaken, and the half-sister to Sandstone “has an exceptional Vino Rosso foal in Book 2 of the November sale,” the breeder concluded.

The post Bloodlines: Good Timing, Quick Decisions Brought Sandstone To The Winner’s Circle appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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