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Friday, November 9, 2012

Unlikely trio depends on teamwork to help Paris’ Siena Farm break out of starting gate

The 220-acre Siena Farm is located just outside Paris.


By Anne Doolin
KyForward contributor

At first glance Siena Farm’s ownership group seems, well, a bit unlikely. The trio consists of a businessman, a finance man and a hands-on horseman. The breeding and racing operation in Paris is relatively new on the Central Kentucky Thoroughbred scene, having been in operation just four years.

They appear to be off to a tremendous start. Siena was represented by not one, but two horses in last week’s Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita. Summit County, who was a longshot at odds of 30-1, ran in the farm’s colors in the Juvenile Turf Saturday. South Floyd, whom they bred, was to run in the Juvenile Sprint Friday but was scratched.

In addition, the Siena Farm team kept a close eye on To Honor and Serve, a 12-1 shot in the granddaddy of them all, the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. The farm owns To Honor and Serve’s dam Pilfer, who is carrying a full sibling to the multiple graded stakes winner. To Honor and Serve had lifetime earnings of $1,778,840 heading into the Classic.

“Pilfer is one of the first horses we bought,” said Siena’s president David Pope. “She’s entered in the Fasig-Tipton sale November 5. It’s definitely the right time to sell her.”

Pope says Siena horses are always for sale, either privately or through public auction.

Anthony Manganaro

Siena Farm came to be when Anthony Manganaro, who lives in Annapolis, Md., was seguing out of a business career. He had built Siena Corp. into a successful real estate venture in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., area, and also founded ezStorage Corp. and the Boston Medical Corp.

“Anthony had dabbled a bit with a few racehorses, and he always looked at the equine business as a challenge, which it is,” said Pope. “And he was at the point his son was taking over the real estate business, and he likes staying busy.”

David Pope

Manganaro found a 220-acre property outside Paris, once part of the Clay Charolais Farm, located in the neighborhood of Claiborne Farm, Darley-Stonerside Farm and Hidden Brook Farm. He then brought in Pope, who received his degree in accounting from the University of Akron. Pope was already well-versed in the thoroughbred industry, after spending more than a decade as controller at Brereton and Libby Jones’ Airdrie Stud in Midway.

Ignacio Patino

The third owner and also general manager, Ignacio “Nacho” Patino, came to the United States at age 16 from his native Mexico. He started his thoroughbred career as a groom, then started his own boarding and sales prep business. Prior to joining Siena, he was assistant farm manager at neighboring Stonerside Farm.

“We’re all equal partners,” said Pope. “And we’re very tight. We all have our own roles, and we’re all comfortable in them.”

The entire farm staff is close and all work closely together. “We try to focus on the people here,” said Pope. “There are no individuals – we all work as a team. If a horse makes a good racehorse, it’s not just the mating that produced him. It’s the person that foaled him, the person that handled him as a yearling, the person that broke him. We use the team system and implement the best procedures we can.”

The farm was purchased in September of 2007, and they moved into the office in July of 2008. The first broodmares arrived on the property later that fall.

“We took down all the barns and all the fencing,” said Pope. “It took about a year to put in roads, redo all the fencing and build new barns. We were still constructing barns when we moved into the office.”

They have two large barns, one for the yearlings and the other for foaling, as well as a five-stall isolation barn. The farm is home to 19 mares at the moment, with four entered in the November sales. “That will put us at 15, plus whatever we buy,” said Pope.

Summit County as a foal

The racing stable, based at Churchill with trainer Dale Romans, numbers 10 horses, the majority of which failed to meet their reserve when offered for sale. Summit County is one of them.

The son of Any Given Saturday broke his maiden at Ellis Park with a six-length romp going a mile. Making his graded stakes debut on the G3 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland Oct. 7, the colt was making a big run in the stretch when Really Sharp veered out and caused interference with several other horses. Really Sharp was disqualified from second, and Summit County was moved up to fourth. He went off at 60-1.

“Summit County really started to show us something in Bourbon,” said Pope.

South Floyd came close to racing for Siena as well, as it took three times through the auction ring to get him sold. “He was a RNA at the Keeneland September Sale, then again at an early 2-year-old in training sale,” Pope said. “We finally sold him at the June OBS in training sale. Maybe we shouldn’t have tried so hard!”

Both colts are from the just the second crop foaled at Siena Farm.

“Our primary goal is to become a world-class horse farm,” said Pope. “To have horses in the Breeder’s Cup is pretty amazing, and we’re all thrilled about it. We really feel like this is the beginning of something special.”

(Photos by David Stephenson, courtesy of Siena Farm)



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