Is This a Broodmare? -- Smoking Kay Has Strong Family, Multiple Wins

It's been a long while since we asked "Is this a broodmare?"  So, here's the deal:  I introduce a Thoroughbred mare that I've found offered for sale, point out a few reasons why a breeder might want to take a shot on her, and spend equal time considering her negatives.  Then I ask you -- breeders, horse fans, or pedigree buffs -- what you think of the mare's value.  Would you want her in your broodmare band?  What sold you on her -- or what was the deal-killer? If you were advising her new owners, which stallion would you send her to?

Here in central Kentucky, I expect to see the best broodmares go through a sales ring rather than a classified ad. But while the majority of Craigslist offerings aren't worth a second look, once in a while a bargain can be had.  This morning I came across an example of a mare that I believe would not be out of place in Keeneland's or Fasig-Tipton's bloodstock sales this coming fall and winter.  But it's been a down market for a couple of years now, and many breeders are eschewing anything short of the best mares. Would she inspire several bids in today's market -- enough to justify her private sale asking price?  Let's see what you think.

Thoroughbred broodmare pedigree reviewThe mare we're going to discuss today is Smoking Kay (pedigree). She's a 5-year-old daughter of 1997 champion sprinter Smoke Glacken (SRO). With a sire who won the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I), it's a fair assumption that Smoking Kay would be a precocious type.  Not so -- she ran her first race in July of her 3-year-old season, and didn't win until turning 4. Once she made it to the winner's circle the first time, though, she must have decided it was a fine place to be. She returned there her next four outings. (For the record, she racked up five wins in 39 days.)  

Smoking Kay finished out her 2009 campaign with six wins and a third from nine starts. That's the impressive part. The flip side of the coin is that the quality of races was rock-bottom. Her paycheck even with six wins was only $13,794 in 2009, a good indication of the low-level claiming races that she competed in. Her 18 starts exhibit a fair amount of durability, but is there any class to pass on to future generations?

I have a special fondness for Two Punch, and have been thrilled by his son's accomplishments at Gainesway. Smoke Glacken has 66% winners (foals aged 3+) and he tops 7.0% stakes winners from foals. 22.5% of his juveniles win -- more than half are starters at 2 -- and he's one of a minority of stallions whose AEI (1.57 lifetime) is greater than his CI (1.37 lifetime). Smoke Glacken clearly appeals to breeders, as he has sire sons already standing in seven states as well as in Canada. Smoke Glacken entered stud only 12 years ago; still, from his first producing daughters, he already averages 5.5% stakes winners as a broodmare sire.

Smoke Glacken's merits are enough to put some shine on his daughter's catalog page.  What of the bottom half of the pedigree?

Glad you asked.  This is the 16-a female family of Cequillo and Plucky Liege, through the important mare Grand Splendor. It would be difficult to identify a more successful American family. From Cequillo through Quiet Charm and Demure came Quiet American (SRO); through Grand Splendor came Honour and Glory and Ogygian and Fappiano -- influential stallions all.  And Smoking Kay shares pedigree patterns with each of them.

  • Smoking Kay's granddam, Katie Love, was bred on the same cross as Honour and Glory's dam:  both were by sons of Lyphard out of Grand Splendor's daughter Gonfalon.
  • Smoking Kay's dam, Timeless Love, was bred on the same Damascus/Gonfalon cross as Ogygian, albeit a couple of generations removed (Timeless Love was by a grandson of Damascus over a daughter of Gonfalon).
  • Smoking Kay herself is bred on a simlar pattern as Fappiano and Quiet American. Fappiano was by Mr. Prospector out of a daughter of Grand Splendor; Quiet American was by Fappiano out of Cequillo's granddaughter Demure; while Smoking Kay is by a speedy son of Mr. P. and from Grand Splendor's Gonfalon line.

Timeless Love ran 28 times, winning five times including two stakes, with career earnings of $179,448. Smoking Kay was her first foal, followed by the Congaree filly Con Lover (a current runner whose record to date includes four wins and nine additional placings from 29 starts). Two younger half sisters in the wings would seem to indicate the catalog page has expansion in its near future: the 2008 filly is by supersire Medaglia d'Oro (SRO) and the yearling filly is by another Hopeful Stakes winner in the Turkish export Yonaguska.

Thoroughbred mare pedigree reviewThe pedigree gets high marks for being overall solid, with a classy sire and dam.  Smoking Kay has to be dinged for her low-level racing career, but that's tempered by multiple wins and some apparent durability. The likelihood that the mare's immediate family will add to her future catalog page is another for the "plus" column. I'd be a bit surprised -- but not shocked -- to see the hammer fall at the $4,500 asking price (listed both on Craigslist in Lexington and on Starquine's Thoroughbred bloodstock sales service)  if she were instead offered at the Keeneland November sale; a breeder who breeds to race might see opportunity here.


Leave a Comment:

Karen in Indiana

At this point, she probably would not be what buyers at an auction like Keeneland would be looking for. But I agree she has potential for someone who wants to breed to race. Unfortunately for Kentucky, it would seem to make sense to look at having the foal be a state bred in Pennsylvania or Indiana. And it would make sense to look in those states for a stallion, even if not wanting a state bred, because you will be able to find lower stud fees for good quality. Albert the Great in Pa. being an example - Ribot sire line, he has proven that he can get some top class offspring & his stud fee is only $3500.

Glad you're back!

15 Sep 2010 7:49 PM

Hmmm ... Based on the "conformation" photo included here, I'm be wary of this mare. She isn't well balanced, she has a poor shoulder and her necx is woefully short. She doesn't really exude class.

But maybe that's more the fault of the photo than the mare.

Anyway, assuming she was more conformationally appealing, she'd be an intriguing possibility for a breed-to-race owner. Her dam is being bred to excellent stallions, so with luck, one of her half-siblings will hit it big and add some quality black type to the family.

I'd think she'd do best in a good state-bred program. Not that we have one here anymore in California (more's the pity), but if she belonged to me (again, assuming her conformation is better than pictured), I'd send her to Unusual Heat, Benchmark or In Excess.

15 Sep 2010 9:04 PM
Ann in Lexington (aka Pedigree Ann)

The "conformation" picture has her standing in a field, on an angle, with her head sort of canted towards the left. Don't think they hired a pro or anything, or even read something about how to take conformation shots (on level pavement, people). Would certainly want to see her to determine if she is as heavy over the forelegs as she looks here.

That said, a regional program looks best for her.

16 Sep 2010 10:52 AM

If you could get this mare to Quiet American, I would love the additional crosses back to the female line this mare and Q.A. share.  Other than that, I agree her neck seems short so I would be looking for some stretch and a bigger hip.  I think she would cross well with His Majesty's line (Pleasant Tap) and even a son of A.P. Indy (Flatter, Stephen Got Even), with Mr P in the broodmare pedigree if possible.  You will have to have a set limit on what to spend and this mare might throw some nice foals.  I am going on the fact that the picture is a little out of focus and that she is standing at an awkward angle.  If she is not, then I would not touch her.  Maybe if I got her extremely cheap....less than $2500.00, but otherwise I would stay away.

16 Sep 2010 12:54 PM

I agree with previous comments about the "conformation" photo not being a fair judge of what this mare looks like and would certainly want to see a better photo or the mare in the flesh to make a better assessment.  Would also be nice to see a short video of how she moves over level ground )walk/trot).

Given that was OK, her race record and caliber of races she ran in may have been what her owner(s) had to spend.  Not every Thoroughbred owner and breeder has a bottomless bank account on which to enjoy their hobby/business.  There are some small (one or two foals a year) breeders out there that enjoy regional success and perhaps one of their "babies" gets noticed by a "big name" trainer or sales agent.

Cnderella horses do happen. Part of the magic of racing.

16 Sep 2010 12:57 PM
Charmed By Silver

A mare doesnt have to be a shining star to throw a star quality baby. She may not be what a high end breeder would be looking for, not at least until one of her babies is also track proven,  but for a breed to race owner - shes worth a shot. She has a good pedigree and if bred to the right sire, perhaps Elusive Quality - she may throw a foal who wants to run. She has a race record that solidifies her durability - and though the races were not all allowance or stakes quality - not every thoroughbred owner can afford the high entry fees to take the mare to that level. Shes a proven race runner with a decent pedigree and with the right cross may throw a race runner.

16 Sep 2010 2:00 PM

Holy Cow Charmed by Silver!

You want to send a mare that is worth $5,000 to a $75,000 stallion?

So much for investing approximately 1/3 of the mare's value in a stud fee!

16 Sep 2010 4:17 PM

I am not so sure that her neck is really as short as it appears.  It looks better in the racing photo, the mane stopping at the halfway point creates an illusion of shortness.  She is a little heavy in front, but I like her apparent length of hip and her bone.  Congaree and Red Giant look interesting to me, Red Giant especially.  I like the infusion of Damascus there.  Congaree could also be interesting.  

16 Sep 2010 5:23 PM

There is a mare named Lady Whimsy up for adoption

for $800. She ran 91 times, mostly low-level claimers. She is a gorgeous 13-year-old Northern Dancer granddaughter out of an Alleged mare. Makes you wonder how & why she ended up here. I'd buy one like her ahead of the grey. Durable, good pedigree, gorgeous!

16 Sep 2010 5:46 PM
Pedigree Shelly

      I love this mare's female line ! Being from the family of Honour and Glory and Ogygian ! Her dosage index is a little high but , that is no problem . I agree with Robert, she would do well with a stallion from the AP Indy  line! Stephen Got Even would be an excellent choice ! He seems to sire Classic type horses like First Dude and I Want Revenge for a very reasonable price !

16 Sep 2010 6:27 PM
Pedigree Shelly

       To Karen in Indiana , Hello fellow Hoosier :) I'm blogging from Batesville ! I've seen you're blogs and always wondered where in Indiana you're from ? I'm so happy that Indiana has Slots !! It benefits the Breeders and the Horsemen but , most importantly  , The Horse !

16 Sep 2010 9:26 PM

Now let me see... Majesty's Crown. 5k Two Punch 4k. Smoke Glacken? Priceless....Kinda wonder if the fella holding the mare could have stood her up a little better?

17 Sep 2010 11:11 AM

It often amazes me that any horse with a pedigree as fine as Smoking Kay's could be relegated to the claiming ranks.  If I owned such a mare and couldn't afford to race her in the company she deserves, I'd probably offer her at any price to a farm with a solid broodmare band, unraced.

Personally, I like the bottom half of her pedigree better than the top, but it's all good.

I look at the pedigree of every horse that catches my attention - iow, LOTS of them, but don't often see the uber-stamina turfer Manila - probably because he was sent to Turkey midway in his stud career.  But there he is, 'Kay's second dam's sire.  Not to mention *two* daughters of Princequillo at 4x & 5x.  I also love to see the grand Damascus/Sword Dancer line here.

Do I think she's a broodmare candidate? IMHO, definitely.  Don't even bother to look at her "conformation" picture.  It's terrible.  You get a better sense of her conformation from the racing picture, though still not good.  In any case, she has the genes to pass along (if properly mated) whether she possesses perfect conformation or not.  I like her and wish she will find a good owner who will value her appropriately.  She's earned it.

Now I'll go to work to find the right stallion for her...

p.s. - good "homework" assignment! Thanks, Scott!

18 Sep 2010 11:45 PM

Hi Scott,

So which stallion would you recc. for her, in the Mid-Atlantic area?

Thanks for your positive opinions... I like her too!

22 Sep 2010 1:10 AM

Well Scot, I've made a selection for Kay's mate.  I set certain criteria: 1)under $10,000 stud fee (which automatically rules out most of the "name" stallions); 2) TrueNicks rating C or better; 3) a reasonably good race record; 4) dosage profile strong on Classic and preferably some Professional as well.  Of course, I had to like the looks of him, too. ;-)

Every evening, I opened my BH Stallion Register and tried a few Horses at random in TrueNicks with Kay to find the ones who met my criteria.  

And the winner is: Senor Swinger! (El Prado-Smooth Swinger by Kris S)

$4000 s&n. Regal Heir Farm, Grantville, PA.

TN rated B, 1.95 Variant, Dosage profile 2-1-7-2-0 (DI 1.18).  Best horses bred on the same cross: Rachel Alexandra, Warrior's Reward, Passion for Gold, etc.

SS was best on Turf, Kay seems to have raced on Dirt, so that gives their pretty gray filly/colt more options.  

I'm sure the experienced pedigree folks here are laughing out loud at my choice; nevertheless, I'd like to have their opinions (and yours) of this mating!

02 Oct 2010 3:17 PM

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