Mating Plans, Presented by Spendthrift: Denali Stud

Flag Day, dam of 'TDN Rising Star' Hall of Fame,
and Nickel enjoy the snow at Denali Stud | Grace Clark

The TDN's popular annual series 'Mating Plans, presented by Spendthrift,' continues today in a conversation with Denali Stud's Conrad Bandoroff.

FLAG DAY (8, Giant's Causeway–Sense  to Compete, by Street Sense) to be bred to Good Magic.

This mare's first foal, Hall of Fame, broke his maiden in very impressive fashion and was tabbed a 'TDN Rising Star' for his effort. The son of Gun Runner and Flag Day's first foal has been a special horse from the day he was born. He was just one of those foals that, when they stand for the first time, you find yourself saying, “We might have something here.” He was nice from day one and turned into a $1.4-million Saratoga yearling.

Flag Day is a fourth-generation homebred for Ambassador Earle Mack. She is a big, scopey daughter of Giant's Causeway that imparts a lot of size, bone and leg into her foals. This year she goes to a stallion that is rapidly rising through the ranks and looks to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come in Good Magic. I love the balance and athleticism Good Magic imparts in his progeny and this is a mating that works really well physically with the mare. The Smart Strike-Giant's Causeway cross is a good one, producing the likes of Grade I-winning Tom's d'Etat.

FLOWERING PEACH (8, Galileo {Ire}–Naples Bay, by Giant's Causeway) to be bred to Justify.

This is a young mare that has gotten off to a great start in her broodmare career. Her first foal, Buchu (Justify), won the GII Jessamine S. at two and we hope she will have a big year for owner/breeder Richard Rigney and trainer Phil Bauer.

Flowering Peach has an Uncle Mo yearling colt this year that we like a lot. This was as easy a mating as it comes and unsurprisingly Flowering Peach returns to Justify this year–the magic Justify/Galileo cross! Justify's two Breeders' Cup-winning 2-year-olds, as well as City of Troy in Europe and Storm Boy in Australia, capitalized his sensational run and what an important stallion he looks to be.

 LIAM'S PROMENADE (5, Liam's Map–Promenade Girl, by Carson City) to be bred to Nyquist.

Liam's Promenade is a young mare that we have high hopes for. She is a half-sister to the MGISW Cavorting (Bernardini), who is the dam of over $3 million-earning MGISW Clairiere (Curlin). She is currently in foal to Curlin and we cannot wait to see the foal that is produced as it is a cross that has proven to be so prolific in the family.

We have chosen to breed her to Nyquist, who we think was tremendous value this year. Nyquist was on a tear at the end of the year and has some seriously talented horses working for him for this year. He has a loaded pipeline and a lot of momentum behind him. It is a cross that has worked well in the family before, producing GII Penn Mile S. winner Moon Colony (Uncle Mo).

HARD NOT TO LIKE (15, Hard Spun–Like a Gem, by Tactical Cat) to be bred to Cody's Wish.

Hard Not to Like is awaiting the arrival of a Life Is Good foal any day now–a mating that we highlighted last year. The multiple Grade I-winning mare will visit Cody's Wish this year. Hard Not to Like's 4-year-old son Faustin (Curlin) has returned to the worktab for Bob Baffert and Michael Lund Peterson. He was second in the GII San Vincente S. and we hope to see him back competing at the graded stakes level this year.

Cody's Wish is a horse we are so excited to breed to for many reasons, but he just pulls on your heartstrings in so many ways with his fantastic, fairytale-esque story. He also happens to be a very good physical match for Hard Not to Like, who benefits from some size and scope which Cody should provide. It repeats the Curlin cross that produced Faustin as well as the Curlin-Hard Spun cross that is responsible for the likes of Good Magic. We also love that it inbreeds back to Ruby Slippers (Nijinsky II) deeper in the pedigree.

PLAYED HARD (6, Into Mischief–Well Lived, by Tiznow) to be bred to Gun Runner.

We are very excited to welcome Played Hard to Denali Stud to begin the next chapter of her career. It was an incredible Oaks Day watching her hold off Secret Oath (Arrogate) to win the GI La Troienne S. and become the first Grade I winner for trainer Phil Bauer in the Rigney Racing colors.

Played Hard is a gorgeous mare with a deep family. She has all the credentials to become a foundation mare. We will start her off strongly by sending her to Gun Runner. It's a great physical match and we love the pedigree blend. Gun Runner over Storm Cat-line mares has proven to be one of his most productive crosses. Gun Runner over Tiznow has produced the likes of Early Voting, and you also have MGISW Cyberknife under the second dam.

LOVE THEWAY YOUARE (16, Arch–Diversa, by Tabasco Cat) to be bred to Elite Power.

Love Theway Youare is a Grade I-winning, graded-stakes producing mare that we own with our good friend Lincoln Collins. This mating goes by the old adage of breed your proven mare to an unproven stallion and your unproven mare to a proven stallion. Love Theway Youare is the dam of Grade III winner Summer in Saratoga (Hard Spun). She is a big, pretty Arch mare who throws nice, leggy, good-looking foals. She goes to one of the most visually impressive stallions retiring to stud this year in Elite Power. He looks like what a $900,000 yearling should look like and we thought that at $50,000, he still was one of the best values in town for this year.

DREAM TREE (9, Uncle Mo–Afleet Maggi, by Afleet Alex) to be bred to Constitution.

Dream Tree is a young, Grade I-winning mare that we have high hopes for. Her first three foals have been striking individuals that have all looked the part. Her newly turned 3-year-old first foal, Wimberly (Curlin), was a $700,000 yearling purchase by David Ingordo and is in training with John Sadler out in California. Her 2-year-old son of Into Mischief is doing very well in his early paces at Payton Training Center in Ocala, and she has a very promising Gun Runner yearling filly that has been nice since day one.

Dream Tree will go to a stallion we are big believers in: Constitution. We think you will be reading his name a lot this year and he is currently represented by three colts in the TDN's Top 12 Derby List. Tapit over Indian Charlie is the cross that produced generational talent Flightline.

NICKEL (11, Unbridled's Song–Consider It Done, by Green Dancer) to be bred to Twirling Candy.

This mare is a favorite of ours–I know we aren't supposed to say that but she is just one of those mares that you have a soft spot for. She is a gorgeous Unbridled's Song mare and the expression black cats throw black kittens could not be more appropriate when it comes to her foals. All of them are big, pretty and athletic.

She visits Twirling Candy this year–a horse we feel is great value and such a solid, consistent, proven stallion. This is such a good cross. Candy Ride and Twirling Candy over Unbridled's Song have produced seven stakes winners including Gift Box, Leofric, and Fore Left.

Interested in sharing your own mating plans? Email [email protected].

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