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.
The 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.
The 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.