Updated on 09/17/2011 6:00PM

Defer maintains Danzig legacy


LAS VEGAS - In 1983, I Pass (Buckpasser-Impish, by Majestic Prince) produced a foal by Damascus for owner-breeder Ogden Mills Phipps and he named the filly Defer. She never raced, and Phipps decided to use the name once again 19 years later for a colt he bred by Danzig out of his homebred mare Hidden Reserve. Last Saturday, Defer became a stakes winner in his third lifetime start, winning the Laurel Futurity.

Danzig, who has had a spectacular career as a stallion, was pensioned this summer at age 27. Danzig was from the prized 1977 crop of Northern Dancer, which also yielded the late Nureyev. The retirement of Danzig from study duty, like the death of Mr. Prospector and Seattle Slew, signals a changing of the guard, and there are more changes to come. Sadler's Wells will turn 24 in January, and Storm Cat will be 22.

Danzig was undefeated in only three lifetime starts, and passed his brilliance to his progeny beginning with his first crop, producing champion 2-year-old Chief's Crown. Defer became Danzig's 184th stakes winner. Danzig has sired an amazing 21 champions. Spending his entire stud career at Claiborne Farm, where the Phipps family boards their broodmares, Danzig (as well as Mr. Prospector) was one of the main reasons for the return to prominence of the Phipps empire. In addition to Defer, stakes winners by Danzig bred by the Phipps family include Versailles Treaty, Lure, Polish Navy, Dispute, Adjudicating, Strolling Along, Easy Now, Soar to the Stars, and Polish Treaty.

In 2004, four horses by Danzig have won stakes: the 2-year-olds Defer and Ad Valorem (a Group 1 winner in England) and 3-year-olds Ulfah (a stakes winner in Ireland) and Greek Sun, winner of the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby.

With three more foal crops (the last of which will be 2-year-olds of 2007), Danzig will have more opportunities to add to his imposing totals before all is said and done. His influence has been felt worldwide, led by the late Danehill, and his legacy is ensured for decades to come.

Long line from Grey Flight

Defer is the latest in a long line of stakes winners descending from Grey Flight, a swift stakes-winning daughter of Mahmoud who became a foundation mare for the Phippses. From 15 named foals, she produced nine stakes winners, and her best offspring, Misty Morn (Princequillo), was a multiple champion and Broodmare of the Year, producing five stakes winners and two champions, Bold Lad and Successor (both by Bold Ruler). Her stakes-winning son Sunrise Flight (Double Jay), is the broodmare sire of Pleasant Colony.

A foal of 1945, Grey Flight was bred to Nasrullah, Princequillo, Ambiorix, and Double Jay in the 1950's, and aside from two foals by Herbager and Ribot, was bred repeatedly to Bold Ruler in the 1960's, resulting in What a Pleasure, Bold Queen, Bold Princess, Great Era, Pleasant Flight, and Clear Ceiling. What a Pleasure became a leading stallion, and his best offspring were Foolish Pleasure and Honest Pleasure. And Bold Princess, Pleasant Flight, and Clear Ceiling were superior broodmares. Noteworthy runners descending from these three full sisters include Priolo, Kona Gold, Inside Information, Educated Risk, Intrepid Hero, Predictable, Primed, Sovereign Dancer, Brave Lady, Formal Dinner, Caller One, Prospect Bay, Waitlist, Flitalong, and Cassidy.

A foal of 1968, Clear Ceiling looked like she was going to become Grey Flight's 10th stakes winner when she won her 2-year-old debut at Belmont by 10 lengths. Although she never won a stakes, she became yet another valuable producing daughter of Grey Flight. Mating mares by Bold Ruler to Buckpasser turned out to be a genetic disaster for the Phipps, but one of the better results was Quick as Lightning (Buckpasser-Clear Ceiling), who won the English 1000 Guineas.

Bred to Majestic Light, Clear Ceiling produced Group 3 winner Stratospheric and Garden City Stakes winner Infinite. The cross with Majestic Light proved to be a winner, also resulting in How High the Moon. Although a modest winner of only $42,000, How High the Moon, like her entire female family, was at her best as a broodmare. Bred to Slew o' Gold, How High the Moon produced Double Sunrise, the dam of champion sprinter Kona Gold.

But Clear Ceiling's most important foal was Pure Profit, a daughter of Key to the Mint. Pure Profit was not a stakes winner but won 4 of 5 starts and was a golden broodmare. Pure Profit produced seven winners from nine foals, including champion Inside Information (Private Account), stakes winners Educated Risk and Diamond (both by Mr. Prospector) and stakes-placed Foreign Aid (Danzig) and Hidden Reserve (Mr. Prospector).

A full sister to current Maryland stallion Diamond, Hidden Reserve was a four-time winner and finished second in the Demoiselle Stakes, Bed o' Roses Breeders' Cup Handicap, and Monmouth Beach Stakes. Defer is her first stakes winner.

Showing a great deal of immaturity in the Laurel Futurity - he was quite rank early, fighting jockey Jerry Bailey, and then was erratic in the stretch - Defer won the Grade 3 race strictly on talent and looks to have a bright future.