05/11/2006 11:00PM

Houghtons go way back with Barbaro's family

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Binnie and Eddie Houghton have a long history with the female side of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro's family, going back to Barbaro's great-great-granddam, Silver Abbey. Binnie Houghton's family can count even more generations. "We've been going on [with this family] for something like 70 years," she said.

Binnie Houghton's grandfather, James Cox Brady, purchased a Man o' War yearling filly in 1925 at the Saratoga sales from the estate of Admiral Cary T. Grayson for a record $50,500. That filly, described by historian John Hervey as "one of the most beautiful individuals ever seen," was War Feathers, the eighth dam of Barbaro.

The Houghtons, who own and operate Buckingham Farm on Maryland's Eastern Shore near Chestertown, have had a direct connection to the brood since they established their farm in the early-1960's.

"We broke them all and raised them," said Binnie Houghton.

The scope of that statement may be lost if one doesn't note the number of offspring that have descended from Silver Abbey.

Binnie Houghton's father, well-known sportsman Anderson Fowler, purchased a mare named Goldarette from Houghton's uncle, James Cox Brady Jr., in the 1950's. Silver Abbey, a daughter of Djeddah, was born in 1958, the second of five foals produced by Golderette.

A winner of 2 of 13 starts, Silver Abbey was given by Fowler to trainer Joe Kulina upon her retirement from the track. She produced her first four foals for Kulina, and when Kulina decided to give up the breeding business, Fowler took Silver Abbey back.

The Houghtons and Fowler had been a bit hesitant to breed Silver Abbey. Binnie Houghton recalled that Silver Abbey was extremely swaybacked.

"Since then, we've learned it is not hereditary, but at the time, we didn't want to make more like her," said Houghton.

Luckily, all seven of Silver Abbey's foals were normal, and six were winners. Silver Abbey's best runner was Fowler's stakes winner Silver Doctor ($211,913). Silver Abbey's final foal was Silver Betsy (by Nearctic), who campaigned for four years and won seven races. Silver Betsy's race record, however, pales in comparison to her produce record. She was the dam of five named foals, all fillies, and all were either stakes campaigners or major stakes producers.

The most prominent of the fillies were the four by the Round Table stallion King's Bishop, in whom the Houghtons and Fowler, along with Mrs. Allaire duPont, owned a major interest. King's Bishop entered stud at duPont's Woodstock Farm in Chesapeake City in 1974, one year after the death of Woodstock's leading sire, Nearctic. King's Bishop rose to prominence quickly, eventually standing at Windfields Farm for $25,000, but he died at age 12 in 1981.

The King's Bishop-Silver Betsy cross produced the streak of "La Reines" for Fowler. The first "La Reine" ("the queen" in French), was La Reine Rouge, the second dam of Barbaro.

La Reine Rouge was a stakes winner in an abbreviated career, taking the Toddler Stakes at Bowie in 1980, her second win in only two starts. Fowler retired La Reine Rouge to Buckingham Farm, where she produced three foals, but then sold her during the process of cutting back his horse holdings in 1984.

Fowler reassociated with the offspring of La Reine Rouge, however, purchasing her Florida-bred colt Green Alligator privately as a yearling in 1989. Green Alligator would go on to win the Grade 3 California Derby and finish a fast-closing fourth to Strike the Gold in the 1991 Kentucky Derby under Fowler's colors.

Fowler also purchased Elsoma, La Reine Rouge's 1990 Tri Jet filly, and from her bred graded stakes-winning 2-year-old filly Annie Cake (by Gate Dancer, the sire of Green Alligator). Annie Cake is still owned by the Houghtons and gave birth in March to a colt by During, who, interestingly, is a grandson of Silver Betsy's first foal, Marlodge.

After producing the stakes-placed runner La Reine Noir, Silver Betsy had La Reine Blanche. A minor winner, La Reine Blanche was the dam of the Houghton-bred and raced stakes winner Crumpton (by Horatius).

The best of Silver Betsy's runners was the 1981 mare La Reine Elaine. Campaigned by Fowler to win the Grade 3 Gallorette Stakes at Pimlico, she was sold late in her racing career to Howard and Sondra Bender. Retired to Glade Valley Farm near Frederick, Md., La Reine Elaine had seven foals for the Benders, her final being the amazing La Reine's Terms.

A winner of 16 races and $804,591, La Reine's Terms (by Private Terms) came back after a one-year layoff last fall to capture the Maryland Million Turf at age 10. Trainer Larry Murray, who also manages Glade Valley, reported that La Reine's Terms has now been retired and was bred to a test mare this spring who has been confirmed in foal. Future stud plans have yet to be finalized.