01/27/2006 1:00AM

Daughter of two champions makes own mark


Smuggler upheld the family tradition. The daughter of two champions - Unbridled, who earned 3-year-old honors in 1990, and Inside Information, champion older mare in 1995 - she captured the Eclipse Award for champion 3-year-old filly of 2005.

Smuggler won the award by becoming her division's only two-time Grade 1 winner in 2005, capturing both the $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes and the $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont over the summer.

"We have been looking for a really nice horse for a while," Shug McGaughey, who trains Smuggler, said after the Coaching Club Oaks. "It looks like we have one now."

was bred to excel at distance races like the 1 1/4-mile Coaching Club. Her sire, Unbridled, won the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic in 1990, and Smuggler is from his last crop. Inside Information won seven Grade 1 races during her career and earned $1,641,806.

Ogden Mills Phipps bred and raced Inside Information and is the breeder of Smuggler, who races for Phipps Stable. McGaughey has been the trainer of both fillies, with Smuggler giving the Hall of Fame horseman his first win in the Mother Goose, a race in which Inside Information finished third as the favorite in 1994.

"This is pretty exciting for me, having never won this race before," McGaughey said in June. "We've run in it a half a dozen times and been second and third."

The Mother Goose was the first matchup of Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly and Black-Eyed Susan winner Spun Sugar. But at the wire, both bowed to a determined Smuggler. She stalked the pace en route to a neck win in the June 25 race. Edgar Prado rode Smuggler for the first time in the Mother Goose, and had the mount a month later when Smuggler took on Summerly and Spun Sugar again, this time in the Coaching Club July 23.

The race's additional distance agreed with Smuggler, and she swept to a 3 1/2-length win in the race. With the powerful victory, Smuggler had a favorite's chance to sweep New York's richest races for 3-year-old fillies. But her preparation for the last of those races, the Grade 1, $750,000 Alabama at Saratoga in August, was disrupted by a fever.

Smuggler was taken out of consideration for the race, and after some time on the farm, she returned to training last month at Gulfstream Park. In December, McGaughey said he was hopeful that Smuggler would make her return to the races during the Gulfstream meet in Florida.

Aside from the Mother Goose and Coaching Club, Smuggler made two other starts in 2005. A late May foal, she opened up her 3-year-old season on May 1, winning a two-other-than allowance at Belmont. A month later, she ran second in the Grade 1, $250,000 Acorn, a race her dam won in 1994.