Barry Ostrager’s Questroyal Stud announced Feb. 13 it has signed a contract to purchase Sez Who North, a 265-acre farm near Stillwater, N.Y., outside of Saratoga Springs. Gus Schoenborn Jr., former owner of Contemporary Stallions near Coxsackie, will be a 25% minority owner of the property.
Owned from 2001 to 2009 by Richard Simon, Sez Who North was named leading New York breeder from 2005 to 2007 and led the state’s breeders in both earnings and stakes winners from 2005 to 2009 (with a tie for stakes winners in 2009). At one time the farm was home to nearly 1,000 Thoroughbreds.
Ostrager acquired Sez Who North from the Bank of New York Mellon, which has owned the property since 2010. The transaction is scheduled to close Feb. 21.
“Questroyal and Gus Schoenborn have managed some of the most outstanding stallions ever to stand in New York, most notably, City Zip, Belong to Me, Hansel, and Gold Token,” said Ostrager. Located near Claverack, N.Y., Questroyal presently stands Marsh Side , Roaring Fever , and Patriot Act.
Ostrager said one of the most appealing aspects of Sez Who is the quality of its soil.
“The land is very suitable for raising horses,” he explained. “I think that’s one of the reasons why Sez Who was the leading breeder in New York for three consecutive years. It’s a very good place to breed and raise horses, and of course the New York program is skyrocketing right now.”
Ostrager said he doesn’t yet know how he will use the Sez Who facility. The farm is about a 45-minute drive from Questroyal.
“It has a full stallion barn and 120 stalls and I haven’t decided precisely what use I’m going to put it to, but historically, it has been a full-service operation,” he said. “It’s got 200 acres of fenced paddock. Questroyal may add to the stallion population we have…we may be doing a joint venture with a Kentucky farm.”
If that deal goes through, it won’t be the first Kentucky operation to try a breeding venture in the Empire State. Two other recent examples include B. Wayne Hughes’ Lexington-based Spendthrift Farm, which will stand Dublin at Keane Stud near Amenia in 2012; and Tom Simon’s Vinery, which expanded its stallion operation to New York in early 2011, starting a division at Empire Stud near Hudson. Soon afterward, Vinery took over the management of Sugar Maple Farm near Poughquag.
While New York’s state-bred awards program has been strong for many years, a new incentive to bring stallions to the state came with Aqueduct’s 5,000 new slot machines, which are expected to generate nearly $45 million per year in purse money for the New York Racing Association and nearly $7 million for the state’s breeding program.
"It's really great to see one of the largest most important Thoroughbred farms in the state being revitalized and reintroduced into our newly enhanced program,” said Jeffrey Cannizzo, executive director of NYTB, of Sez Who. “For another large commercial farm to reopen its doors is yet another vote of confidence in the bright future of New York breeding and racing."