04/25/2005 11:00PM

Family's broodmare savvy as keen as ever

Email

LAS VEGAS - When Pleasant Home won the Bed o' Roses Breeders' Cup Handicap last Saturday, she became the latest member of her illustrious female family to garner black type. Her full sister, Our Country Hideaway, won the 2001 Bed o' Roses, and both were bred by the Phipps family.

One of the last dynasties in American racing, the Phipps Stable has been successful for more than 75 years partly because of savvy acquisitions in nearly every decade that have rejuvenated their storied band of broodmares.

Even today, most of the Phipps runners can be traced to two of the sport's greatest foundation mares, La Troienne and Grey Flight. The number of top-class stakes winners descending from these blue hens is staggering, but the Phipps clan - patriarch Ogden, his son, Ogden Mills (known as Dinny), and daughter, Cynthia - were always cognizant that they needed to infuse their stock with high-quality blood from female families they did not possess.

After her racing days were over, the 3-year-old filly champion of 1966, Lady Pitt, was private purchased by Ogden Phipps from Golden Triangle Stable, and after being bred to their homebred Horse of the Year and champion, Buckpasser, numerous times (resulting in the good producer Bank of England), Phipps bred Lady Pitt to Riva Ridge, which resulted in Blitey, a multiple stakes winner who became a prominent broodmare for Phipps. Blitey produced quality runners from a variety of stallions, but she definitely had an affinity with the great European champion Nijinsky II. The Nijinsky II-Blitey nick resulted in stakes winners Dancing Spree and Dancing All Night, as well as another winner, Dance Furlough. But the most important foal of Nijinsky II and Blitey was an unraced mare, Oh What a Dance, who produced champion Heavenly Prize (Seeking the Gold) as well as her full sisters,

graded stakes winner Oh What a Windfall and stakes-placed Dancinginmydreams.

In the early 1970's, Ogden Phipps bought a South American champion, Dorine, and her first foal for Phipps was the stakes-winning sprinter Our Hero (Bold Ruler). Bred to Hoist the Flag, Dorine produced her most important foal, Grecian Banner, the dam of undefeated champion Personal Ensign (Private Account) and her full brother, stakes winner Personal Flag.

Our Country Place (Pleasant Colony) was cataloged for the 1993 Saratoga yearling sale, but was bought privately by Ogden Phipps shortly before the sale. While Phipps rarely bred to Pleasant Colony, it was clearly Our Country Place's tail-female family he was after. Our Country Place was not only a half-sister to champion Sky Beauty (Blushing Groom), she was out of an Alabama Stakes and Monmouth Oaks winner, Maplejinsky, one of the best fillies of a special crop, which included Winning Colors and Goodbye Halo. Maplejinsky was also a half-sister to a European champion, Dayjur, as both were out of Gold Beauty, the 1982 champion sprinter.

Our Country Place was unraced, but became the kind of broodmare Phipps had hoped for. Her first foal was a multiple stakes winner, Country Hideaway (Seeking the Gold), and her second foal by Seeking the Gold, the flashy winner Matlacha Pass, was thought to have more ability than Country Hideaway, but physical problems resulted in an early retirement. Country Hideaway's first foal is an unraced 2-year-old filly by A.P. Indy, while Matlacha Pass has an unraced 3-year-old filly by Storm Cat, an unraced 2-year-old filly by Arch, and a yearling filly by Rahy.

In 2001, Our Country Place foaled Pleasant Home, a full sister to Country Hideaway and Matlacha Pass, and the 4-year-old filly is just beginning to realize her potential. Void of early speed in the one-mile Bed o' Roses Handicap, Pleasant Home was 10 lengths behind the leader after just the first quarter-mile and 9 1/2 lengths behind at the half. But she began to reach out with full strides around the far turn, and closed the gap to only 3 1/2 lengths after six furlongs in 1:09.95. Pleasant Home drew away with every stride in late stretch to win by 5 1/4 lengths, looking like a filly who would appreciate two turns.

The Phipps family now has three 4-year-old fillies who are developing with maturity: Pleasant Home, Daydreaming, and Strategy.

Daydreaming is a stakes-winning full sister to a stakes winner, Accelerator, by A.P. Indy out of another stakes winner, Get Lucky. Get Lucky is a full sister to 2-year-old champion Rhythm and a leading Maryland-based sire, Not for Love. Daydreaming's second dam is stakes winner Dance Number, and her third dam is the influential Numbered Account, a champion at 2 and dam of Private Account and Polish Numbers.

Strategy is by A.P. Indy and out of the multiple stakes winner Educated Risk, a half-sister to champion Inside Information. Two 3-year-old fillies with equally imposing pedigrees bred by the Phipps Stable, Smuggler and Salute, may yet develop into major winners. Smuggler is by Unbridled out of Inside Information, while Salute is by A.P. Indy out of Personal Ensign.

Thus, with the victory by Pleasant Home in the Bed o' Roses, the legacy of the Phipps broodmares continues.