Smart Strike and His Sons

Last Wednesday Mr Prospector’s son Smart Strike was euthanized at Lane’s End Farm, U.S., aged 23. He was a Gr.1 winner and two-time champion sire in Northern America. The death of a stallion, who, despite his age, belonged with the fee of USD 100,000 among the most expensive sires in the United States, is a great loss not just for Lane’s End but the breeding in Northern America as such. Will some of his sons fill the gap?

photo Lane's End Farm

Smart Strike belonged among the most versatile sires in the United States, his progeny triumphed on dirt, turf and all-weather. He has produced 107 black-type winners so far, including the two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and Turf Champion English Channel. These two of his sons are – judged by the number of black-type winners among their progeny – his most successful progeny at stud.

Smart Strike’s sons - sires of black type winners

Stallion, YOB To Stud Number of BT winners
  English Channel, 2002 2008 17
  Curlin, 2004 2009 16
  Until Sundown, 1998 2003 9
  Tenpins, 1998 2005 7
  Added Edge, 2000 2007 6
  Lookin At Lucky, 2007 2011 4
  Papa Clem, 2006 2010 3
  Square Eddie, 2006 2010 2
  Pleasant Strike,2004 2011 1
  Sedgefield, 2004 2009 1
  Drinkwiththedevil, 2004 2007 1

English Channel, the winner of six Gr.1 races, launched his stud career at Hurricane Hall Farm near Lexington, after to years moved to join his sire at Lane’s End Farm and is at Calumet Farm this year. The stallion of a successful European family has produced seventeen black-type winners, of whom most won their black-type status on turf. English Channel’s progeny, however, can be successful on dirt too, as is proved by the winner of the Travers Stakes and one of two Gr.1 winners by English Channel V. E. Day.

While English Channel launched his stud career with the fee of USD 25,000 which he has maintained to this day, the two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, whose seven Gr. 1 triumphs include victories in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Preakness Stakes and Dubai World Cup, launched his stud career in 2009 with the fee of USD 75,000. His initial performance was behind expectations of a horse who had earned over USD 10 million, so in the fifth season the fee dropped to one third. Before this season, however, the fee grew again, to USD 35,000, namely thanks to the last year’s winner of the Metropolitan Handicap, Palace Malice, the winner of the Belmont Stakes two years ago, who is so far the only Gr.1 winner in Curlin’s production. Curlin himself raced on dirt and it is where his progeny is most successful. However, he inherited something of flexibility of his sire and his progeny can succeed on turf too. Two of his three black-type winners out of dams by Storm Cat, including the Gr.2 winner and second in the American Oaks, Diversy Harbour, are cases in point. Besides connection with the daughters of Storm Cat (this connection has also produced the second in the Preakness Stakes Ride On Curlin) Curlin is successful with mares who have their pedigrees influenced by his damsire Deputy Minister and are thus inbred to Deputy Minister. This inbreeding can be found in the pedigrees of black-type winners La Grange and Blue Violet, as well as in the pedigrees of black-type placed Keen Ice and Socialbug.

The third most successful son of Smart Strike by the number of black-type winners is Gr.3 winner Until Sundown, the sire of nine black-type winners. The sire produced in the first crop of Smart Strike scored mainly in Chile, where he produced five Gr.1 winners including the winner of the Premio El Derby Quick Casablanca. The stallion was originally based in the U.S., shuffled to Chile and stayed also at stud in France. Now he is available to breeders in Italy.

Seven black-type winners have been, so-far, produced by the Gr.2 winner and Michigan 2002 Horse of the Year Tenpins. The stallion, out of a dam by Deputy Minister, same as Curlin, belongs among average stallions and his fee at Elite Thoroughbreds in Lousiana is just USD 3,000. Among his progeny, Summer Line, the winner of the Classico Ano Nuevo, a Gr.1 race in Puerto Rico, was the best.

The Preakness Stakes winner Lookin At Lucky, whose fee at Ashford Stud is USD 25,000, had a good. He had his first three-year-olds on the racecourse last year and he has already four black-type winners including the Gr.3 winner Lucky Player and Gr.1 placed Maybellene who won the Sunland Park Oaks a few days ago.

Smart Strike’s sons are currently active in a number of countries around the world. In Venezuela, the Florida-based Pleasant Strike had the Gr.2 winner Graciela Mia, the Gr.2 placed Sedgefield, the full brother to English Channel, found home in India and his three black-type products include the Indian Gr.2 winner Turf Striker. A total of ten of his sons managed to produce a black-type winner, many others are about to do so. Just in Northern America there are twenty of his sons and in the last breeding season they covered over 670 mares.

Miloslav Vlček

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