- ON SMARTY'S PEDIGREE: Of Blue Hens, Mrs. Genter and Slew
With the Belmont Stakes looming as a final hurdle for Smarty Jones in his quest for the Triple Crown, talk of his breeding requires closer examination with the topic sure to be covered extensively over the next two weeks by the media. The colt is so obviously special, the type that enters the galaxy of racing on timetables like comets, with a multitude of contributions in his pedigree to account for his speed, tenacity and seemingly endless stamina. Though not a breeding expert, there are a number of things to impart in a discussion of his lineage on the dam side that may help everyone understand "how" Smarty Jones is able to do what he's doing so effortlessly.
Should he fulfill everyone's dreams for a new TC champion June 5, Smarty Jones' pedigree will be closely examined for years to come. It is a chart that is loaded with top quality products of many of the game's greatest breeding benefactors, especially that omnipresent petite doyen Francis A. Genter, who continues to extend her influence on racing a decade after her passing. Purple-blooded products of Genter (owner-breeder of Unbridled), Ogden Phipps, Meadow Farm, Col. Bradley and James Keene all weigh heavily as progenitors of Smarty, in an outrageous group of Hall of Fame horses and "Blue Hen" mares, including the queen mother herself LA TROIENNE, Smarty's seventh dam. In fact, it is the mothers in Smarty Jones' family tree that stand out above even the top sires dotting his pedigree.
Smarty is also be a lasting tribute to the race business savvy of Roy Chapman's late friend, trainer and breeding advisor, the slain Bobby Camac. It was Camac who found and raced Smarty's dam I'll Get Along, a Genter-bred bay daughter of the brilliant Breeders Cup Sprint and Eclipse champion Smile (27/14-4-3, $1,664,000) and modest winner Don't Worry Bout Me. A cantankerous race mare who won 12 races from 39 starts, I'll Get Along was in the money another 22 times and banked more than $270,000 after being purchased by the Chapmans at Keeneland for $40,000. Upon her retirement, Camac paired the mare with the vicious temperament first with Formal Gold and next with Elusive Quality. The Formal Gold filly, Be Happy My Love, has won once. The Elusive Quality colt is Smarty Jones.
Mrs. Genter was likely drawn to Smile as the top racing get of her own outstanding runner In Reality who produced 81 stakes winners in his second career. Like Smile, In Reality met one of racing's standards for excellence winning more than he lost (27/14, $800,000), while missing the board only twice in his career. In Reality, second to Damascus in the '67 Preakness, won the Pimlico Futurity, Cowdin and Sapling at two, the Florida Derby and Fountain Of Youth at three and the Metropolitan and Carter at four, a record immediately noteworthy for its precociousness and tractability. Smile too met with early success winning sprint stakes at two, before stretching out with aplomb at distances up to 9f in the Arlington Classic and Fairmount Park Derby where he set a new track record (1.49.0).
In Reality and Elusive Quality's grandsire Mr. Prospector are the two "Chefs de Race" closest up in Smarty's pedigree, both exerting "Brilliant" and "Classic" influence on the Triple Crown hopeful. In Reality was a product of Mrs. Genter's famed Frizette winner and Blue Hen mare My Dear Girl. The two-year old Champion of 1959, My Dear Girl was sired by 1951 Santa Anita Derby hero and Brilliant-Classic Chef Rough'n Tumble, honored forever by history as the sire of Dr. Fager. My Dear Girl dropped Flamingo winner Superbity (11/8-1-0, $297,000) and Gentle Touch (dam of Dr. Carter) before meeting up with Tartan Stables' Champion sprinter Intentionally to create In Reality. Intentionally (Intent) was yet another 50%+ winner among Smarty's ancestors, going 18-7-2 in 34 starts for $652,000 in four years. He took the Belmont and Pimlico Futurities as a juvenile, the Withers, Jerome and Wright Memorial as a sophomore (equaling the world record for 8f of 1:33.1), the Equipoise Mile and Toboggan at four and the Aqueduct and Palm Beach Handicaps at five.
A top sire after his racing days, lntentionally got many excellent racers forgotten by time besides In Reality. Tentam, a son of Blue Hen Tamarett (by Tim Tam, and Elusive Quality sire Gone West's second dam), was by Intentionally and demonstrated versatile class in an 11 win career ($459,109) that featured victories in the Jim Dandy, United Nations, Metropolitan, Toboggan and Bernard Baruch. Intentionally is one of the Chefs that helps bolster Smarty's sustained speed as a "Brilliant-Intermediate" influence. Those traits come through Intentionally from one of the most significant sources of "Solid" aptitude (stamina) available in breeding, a mare (My Recipe) by A. G. Vanderbilt's immortal Hall of Famer and Broodmare sire legend Discovery. (If unfamiliar with Discovery, please see the copy/paste address to his Hall of Fame page below)
My Recipe is hardly the only daughter of a major Broodmare Sire buried among Smarty's ancestors. Alanesian, sire of 1966 Santa Anita Derby winner Boldnesian (Bold Ruler), was a daughter of Blue Larkspur mare Alablue and Intermediate influence Polynesian, thereby inbred 5x4 to Col. Bradley's history-making stud Black Toney. Black Toney, a product of the Keene Family, produced a litany of classic champions for Idle Hour including Bimelech, Black Gold, Black Helen and Broker's Tip, winner in the famed 1933 "Fighting Finish" Derby with Head Play, and the only horse in history whose lone career victory came in the Run for the Roses.
The very special Meadow Stud foundation mare Hildene, daughter of 1926 Derby winner Bubbling Over, appears in Smarty as well as First Landing's dam. The Champion juvenile of 1958, First Landing was a winner of 19 races including the Champagne, Hopeful, Great American Stakes, Derby Trial and Saratoga Special. He was Hildene's biggest money winner, but she may be better known for producing two-year old Champion and 1950 Horse of the Year, Hill Prince. His Hall of Fame career included wins in 17 of 30 starts (again 50%+) with victories in the Preakness, American Derby, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Wood Memorial, Withers Stakes, Jerome and Cowdin to his credit, as well as placements in the Kentucky Derby, Dwyer, Sapling Stakes and Suburban.
Still unimpressed? Well not every foal from Hildene was a winner. In 1949 she came up with Satsuma by Bossuet. Satsuma was able to hit the board just once in eight tries, a maiden win worth $2,800. However she more than made up for her shortcomings as a runner for Meadow when paired with their own Bryan G. to produce a filly in 1959. Chris Chenery named her CICADA, and the rest was history.
While dam I'll Get Along's sire line adds speed and class to Smarty Jones' already brilliant Raise A Native line topside, it is her bottom that balances his chart perfectly with stout influences and unmitigated class. One need not look much further than her dam Don't Worry Bout Me for a source of Smarty's endurance. She won five times in 22 starts for Mrs. Genter, including the appropriate My Dear Girl, and as a daughter of Foolish Pleasure and Stolen Base, was in bred 4x4 to Classic-Professional imparter and French Derby winner Tourbillon.
The mating of 1975 Derby winner Foolish Pleasure with Stolen Base (Herbager) represented a classic speed over stamina marriage. Herbager, the French Champion sophomore in 1959, was a top 10 sire in the U.S. between 1970-1975 delivering Classic-Solid attributes to his progeny. Stolen Base, a Phipps-Wheatley mare, was in the money 20 times in a 32 race career and produced a top runner in Grade I winner Basie (Delaware H.) for Mrs. Genter in a "nicking" match with In Reality (!). Her dam, Bases Full, was nothing special on the track, but hit paydirt as a mom producing Bold and Brave (Jerome, Hutcheson, Royal Palm) with Bold Ruler in 1963. Bold and Brave is remembered as the sire of the outstanding filly Bold'n Determined, a multiple Gr. I winner who won 16 of 20 and defeated Genuine Risk in the unforgettable 1980 Maskette.
The quality of Smarty Jones' dam line intensifies behind Bases Full with three straight Blue Hens, her dam Striking, grand dam Baby League and great grand dame of them all, La Troienne. The appearance of Striking in Smarty is an indication of how far regal blood reaches in lineage and the directions it can take. A typically modest winner as a runner, the daughter of Baby League and "Classic" plus WAR ADMIRAL became one of the immortal broodmares when she delivered Glamour from Nasrullah in 1953. Matched with Hall of Famer Round Table, Glamour got Poker, the Broodmare Sire of My Charmer, dam of Seattle Slew, and Bonnie's Poker, dam of Silver Charm. 11 years later, she was put to Swaps to produce Intriguing, a chestnut filly who again proved that the best dams are often not great runners.
Intriguing is the dam of Numbered Account, the Phipps Stable foundation mare whose production in the shed was mind boggling. In addition to delivering the important Dance Number and Polish Numbers, in 1976 she brought forth Private Account from a meeting with Damascus. Though solid on the track, Private Account was a font in the shed with sons like Brunswick and Corporate Report and an even more remarkable record as a Broodmare Sire. Daughters Chains of Freedom (dam of Aldebaran and Good Journey), Classy Cathy (Ashland, Alabama and Gazelle winner), East of the Moon (European Champion Miler) and Inside Information (BC Distaff, 6 other Gr. I's) all have made their mark.
But when Ogden Phipps settled on him as a breeding partner for his one-time winning mare Grecian Banner, Private Account made history. While Phipps had no complaints with the second foal produced by the pair in Suburban winner Personal Flag (24/8-4-4, $1,259,000), he was slightly more tickled when they came back a year later and delivered one of the greatest fair-sexed racehorses of all time: Personal Ensign.
Getting back to Striking, she was one of five siblings of Baby League's unions with War Admiral, the fourth Triple Crown winner (and one of the four TC heroes to appear in Smarty's pedigree along with Gallant Fox, Omaha and Secretariat). Four of the five were winners, but the first was BUSHER. Bred and initially raced by Col. Bradley and then by Louis B. Meyer (MGM), the exceptional chestnut filly went 15-3-1 in 21 starts in a career that saw her swipe the Adirondack, Matron, San Vicente, Santa Margarita, Washington Park H., Hollywood Derby and Vanity and then birth the good Jet Action after retiring. Baby League was by Bubbling Over making this his second appearance in Smarty's chart (Hildene sire, above).
Bubbling Over's reappearance brings us back to where we started, the discussion of "how" Smarty Jones is able to win the way he has, remaining undefeated through his first eight career starts. Bubbling Over and Baby League themselves likely have a lot to do with it given that the father-daughter have been down this same road before as they coursed through the blood of Seattle Slew 27 years ago in his undefeated march towards the first Saturday in June.
The above sidebar mention of Glamour as a daughter of Striking was germane because she was the dam of Slew's Broodmare Sire Poker. The consideration of Busher son Jet Action figures in the plot by way of Slew's grand dam, Jet Action's daughter Fair Charmer. It was the union of Poker and Fair Charmer that produced Slew's dam My Charmer, hence inbreeding her to the War Admiral-Baby League family of siblings through two different daughters, Striking and Busher!
In addition to the similarity in damside breeding, Slew and Smarty share the Blue Larkspur-Black Toney influence from Alablue through Boldnesian's presence in their pedigrees. As a topper, the pair also have an equal number of dosage points (22) to their credit, with Slew's (7-6-4-5-0, DI 2.14) being slightly more stamina bent than Smarty's (10-3-8-1-0, DI 3.40), but not by much.
Though Smarty Jones still has to get through the next week and a half, and then through Belmont's treacherous mile and a half, it appears from a class standpoint he is an able candidate to follow in Seattle Slew's hoofprints as the second undefeated Triple Crown winner. In addition, with the realization that he carries the desirable R-A-N line top and such distinguished bottom blood, it may be just as likely that Smarty Jones adequately steps in for the departed Slew in the breeding shed as well.
You can read more about the careers of these great Hall of Famers mentioned above through these "copy & paste" links to the Racing Hall of Fame here is Saratoga:
Black Gold: http://hall.racingmuseum.org/horse.asp?ID=31
Black Helen: http://hall.racingmuseum.org/horse.asp?ID=32
Hill Prince: http://hall.racingmuseum.org/horse.asp?ID=89
Foolish Pleasure: http://hall.racingmuseum.org/horse.asp?ID=73
Bold'n Determined: http://hall.racingmuseum.org/horse.asp?ID=46
Round Table: http://hall.racingmuseum.org/horse.asp?ID=127
Personal Ensign: http://hall.racingmuseum.org/horse.asp?ID=117