OZONE PARK, N.Y- Thoroughbred owner David Staudacher has found himself in the winner’s circle for many memorable occasions in the 22 years since his first starter, Storm the Net, finished fifth in an allowance at Golden Gate Fields in January 2000.
In partnership with Peter Proscia’s Paradise Farms Corp., Staudacher earned a Grade 1 victory when Aquaphobia upset the United Nations at Monmouth Park in 2020 and a Grade 2 victory in the Mac Diarmida at Gulfstream Park with Temple on March 5.
The two have teamed up again to campaign another star in the making as they send out Barese in Saturday’s Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino, a Kentucky Derby qualifier that awards 100-40-20-10 qualifying points to the top-four finishers. Dylan Davis will pilot Barese, bred in the Empire State by Sequel Thoroughbreds and Lakland Farm, from the outermost post 8.
A native of Seattle, Washington, Staudacher’s love of racing began at Longacres Racetrack in Washington state, now renamed Emerald Downs.
“I’m from Seattle and started going to races with my dad and my two brothers at a very young age,” said Staudacher. “He was a teacher so we went during the summers and went all the time.”
Staudacher claimed his first horse in 2000, the start of a more than two-decade journey to the pinnacle of success with horses like graded stakes winners Bemma’s Boy and Special Reserve.
“When I was in college, me and a couple buddies had enough money and claimed our first horse together,” said Staudacher. “I’ve been involved in the game and with claimers ever since.”
As Staudacher continued to enjoy ownership at the claiming level, he was eventually introduced to trainer Mike Maker, who Staudacher said has a proficiency for selecting promising claimers.
“I got hooked up with Mike and then Mike put Peter and I together,” said Staudacher. “We’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of success together. Mike has a great team of assistants all over and they all do such a great job. He has a great eye for picking out horses and runs a first class program.”
Barese is the first Kentucky Derby aspirant for Staudacher and will be venturing around two turns for the first time in the Wood Memorial. He won the 6 1/2 furlong Rego Park before he successfully stretched out to a one-turn mile last out in the Gander against fellow state-breds on February 12. He will also be facing open company for the first time after opting to skip the one-mile Grade 3 Gotham on March 5 at the Big A.
“We gave him extra time and didn’t go in the Gotham because we wanted to make sure he gives his best effort on Saturday,” Staudacher said. “We’re excited.”
The Laoban colt, who has remained undefeated through his three starts, was purchased for $150,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale last March.
“Barese is pretty special to us because we picked him out of the sale instead of claiming him. Mike, his assistant Nolan Ramsey, Peter and I all liked him,” Staudacher said. “Peter went to bid and we gave him a top of $110,000. Nolan and I went out to look at a couple of other horses and we came back and didn’t think we got him. Peter came running up all excited saying ‘I got him at 150.’ We have been giving him a bad time over it for a long time until he made it to the races.”
Staudacher said Barese’s breeding was a factor in his connections’ interest in him, his New York-bred status giving him a plethora of opportunity for incentives in the Empire State.
“Peter is from New York, and he really liked that he’s a New York-bred – I love racing in New York, too,” Staudacher said. “We were excited because the New York purses are so good, the tracks are great and they write a multitude of races. We bought another New York-bred 2-year-old at the Gulfstream sale [on March 30], too.”
Staudacher said Barese’s talents and the opportunity to venture down the Road to the Kentucky Derby have proven well worth the extra money.
“We’re very excited to compete at this level. He’s doing great, feeling good and ready to roll. He’s really matured,” said Staudacher. “Mike and his crew do a fantastic job.”
With his love of the game fostered by his local childhood racetrack, Staudacher said that being represented by Barese on the national stage is momentous.
“It’s absolutely a dream come true,” Staudacher said. “You dream about just having the opportunity to even be on the trail and to compete to go to the Derby.”
NYRA Press Office
PhotoL Barese (CD Photo)