06/17/2004 11:00PM

Another bargain: Smarty's half-sister


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Smarty party is not over. Although there is no longer the level of Triple Crown publicity surrounding Smarty Jones, breeders continue to have interest in the colt who has become the darling of the general public. The attention on Smarty Jones as a stallion prospect will intesnify in the next week or so with the announcement of plans for hisretirement to stud.

In the meantime, interest in Smarty Jones's dam and half-sister, who is a year older than Smarty, has grown as well. Smarty Jones's dam is I'll Get Along, by champion sprinter Smile, and she probably will be sold this fall in the Keeneland November sale.

The only half-sister to Smarty Jones is Be Happy My Love (by Formal Gold). A 4-year-old, she, likewise, is expected to go through the country's premier auction for broodmares, and when she does, she will represent a major success story for her owners, Carrie and Craig Brogden of Machmer Hall Farm and Brereton C. Jones of Airdrie Stud.

The story of how Be Happy My Love came to her present owners is nearly as interesting as that of her half-brother. Be Happy My Love changed hands three times during the latter part of last year and early this year. First, she was inexpensively claimed from Pat and Roy Chapman, the owners of Smarty Jones, by a trainer at Philadelphia Park. After injuring a sesamoid in her next start, she was sold for even less money - she was no longer a racing prospect - to the Winged Foot Stables of Dennis Barbierri.

Then Smarty Jones came on the scene.

"Right after Smarty Jones broke his maiden, she was boarding on our farm," said Carrie Brogden. "They weren't in the breeding business, and we weren't in the racing business. So we traded a Meadowlake yearling colt to Winged Foot Stables for half of the filly, and we had about $40,000 in him. We don't race colts. So he had more value to Dennis than to us."

As a result of that transaction, the Brogdens acquired their half-interest in a nice broodmare prospect and started to consider their options for a mate in 2004. With the success that Smarty Jones was beginning to have, the Brogdens wanted to repeat the mating that had produced him, but Elusive Quality, already standing for $50,000, was out of the question.

"Proud Citizen [by Gone West, like Elusive Quality and second in 2002 Kentucky Derby] was our first thought for a stallion, and Brerie took a gamble because of the 105 Beyer that Smarty Jones ran that made the colt look like a serious prospect," said Carrie Brogden. "He accepted the mare even before he bought into her."

As for Be Happy My Love, Brereton Jones said, "Airdrie acquired a half-interest in her after Smarty Jones had won the Count Fleet, as I recall, but before he had gotten on the larger radar screen."

The co-owners of Be Happy My Love plan to put her in the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, where "she will sell as part of the Airdrie consignment," Jones said. "She obviously has great broodmare potential, and she is in foal on one cover to Proud Citizen. So in terms of pedigree, we are coming back with the Gone West cross that produced Smarty Jones."

Mating Be Happy My Love back to another son of Gone West will have served to increase her value, since it emulates the mating that produced Smarty Jones and makes the foal she is carrying more appealing for the sales.

Between now and the November sale, Be Happy My Love will continue at the Brogdens' farm outside Paris, Ky. In foal to Proud Citizen on a February cover, she will represent a positive opportunity for some breeder.

As a half-sister to an elite classic winner and potential champion, Be Happy My Love could be a mare for a commercial breeder, or she could become an important producer for someone wanting to breed and race his own stock. Brogden described Be Happy My Love as standing about 15.3 hands. "She looks very much like Smarty, has the same expression, but she's a bay," he said. "And she has a big body and hip."

Those are physical qualities that are most attractive to commercial breeders, and Brogden is emboldened with financial optimism.

"Horse racing and breeding are wonderful," she said. "I don't know of any other business with the same economic return where you could claim her for $5,000 in October and then be able to sell her for a great deal more in a year."