11/27/2003 12:00AM

Balto Star proves pedigree isn't infallible


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The success of Balto Star in the Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct was yet another triumph for horsemanship over theory, as this gelded son of Glitterman ran the 11 furlongs on a soft turf course in 2:18.86 and won by 3 1/2 lengths.

By a horse who never won beyond seven furlongs and out of a mare by 2-year-old champion Devil's Bag, Balto Star does not have the pedigree for the realms of turf course stardom. But he wins anyway.

His victory in the Red Smith joins a Grade 1 credit for winning the United Nations Handicap this summer. Bred and owned by Anstu Stables, Balto Star has won 3 of 12 starts this year. His other win was nothing less than a 2 1/2-length victory over Mineshaft in the Whirlaway Handicap on dirt at Fair Grounds in New Orleans on Feb. 9. Overall, Balto Star has won 10 races and has earned $1,832,946.

Despite defying the most obvious elements of his pedigree - sprinting on dirt - Balto Star has ancestral influences that provided him with the raw talent and athleticism to succeed going a route, especially on turf, as he has matured. In the male line, Glitterman's sire is the Bold Ruler horse Dewan. A high-class son of a great stallion, Dewan won the Brooklyn Handicap, and after retiring to stud, he sired nearly 10 percent stakes winners from foals.

Dewan's best runners include the Grade 1 winners It's the One and Afifa, as well as Group 1 winner Abeer in England. Glitterman was a typically game and competitive son of Dewan, winning stakes each year he raced (ages 3-5). Although he never won a graded stakes, Glitterman ran second in the Frank De Francis Memorial Dash, now a Grade 1, and third in the Grade 1 Vosburgh.

Out of a stakes-winning full sister to the talented stakes winner and sire Relaunch, Glitterman took some significant elements of type and conformation from his broodmare sire In Reality. A strongly made horse through the body, Glitterman had speed and power for quick acceleration from the gate, and he even set a track record at Hialeah for 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:01.60.

As expected for a husky sprinter, Glitterman immediately sired some useful winners. What set him apart was that he also got some tough stakes winners. From his first crop came Get My Glitter and Sport d'Hiver, both of whom earned more than a half-million dollars. The stallion's second crop included millionaire J J'sdream, and the third had Glitter Woman.

Every stallion trying to make his mark needs a headline horse, and Glitter Woman was just that. A winner of 10 races, including the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland, Glitter Woman raced well in graded company from 2 through 5, was unplaced only once in 23 starts, and earned $1,256,805.

No subsequent offspring of Glitterman had reached quite the same heights of acclaim until Balto Star. After winning the Spiral Stakes and Arkansas Derby in the spring of 2001, Balto Star came to the Kentucky Derby as a serious contender, going off the fourth choice in a field of 17.

He threw away his chance by dueling with Songandaprayer through fractions of 22.25 seconds, 44.86, and 1:09.25. Although the Derby didn't destroy Balto Star, he failed to win another stakes at 3 or 4. Rehabilitated as a turf horse by trainer Todd Pletcher, Balto Star came back around to his best form and more with his trio of victories this season.

Balto Star's success on turf is dependent upon his natural speed. He prefers to race on the lead much like his maternal grandsire Devil's Bag (by Halo), and like other top-class horses from the Halo line, Balto Star can stretch out as he speeds along and still have a finish.

Balto Star is the first foal out of the unraced Miss Livi, and she is the second foal of the Stage Door Johnny mare Canticle. Miss Livi was a handsome and very quick filly who sold to Anstu Stable for $210,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's March sale of select 2-year-olds in training.

Although she never started in a race, Miss Livi had athleticism, and she has passed that along to her son Balto Star. The mare's yearling is a full sister to Balto Star.