07/06/2006 11:00PM

Moore-bred duo run 1st and 3rd in Brookmeade


Colonial Downs's Brookmeade Stakes on July 1 could hardly have been more exciting for Virginia-based breeders Jill Gordon-Moore and her husband Carlos "Ned" Moore.

The Moores' hopes soared as their homebred Smart Kiss vaulted to an early lead and showed the way for her 11 rivals in the 1 1/16-mile turf race for Virginia-bred fillies and mares.

"Then, in midstretch, I saw she was getting beat," said Gordon-Moore. "I felt a whole lot better when I saw the horse coming on to win was Debbie Sue."

The Fred Greene-owned Debbie Sue, who won by 1 1/4 lengths, paying $36.20, and Smart Kiss, who held on for third, both were bred by the Moores.

The two racemares, now 5, were among the first foals born at the Moores' 46-acre Corner Farm in Berryville, Va.. "We only had four foals that year, so they were half of the crop," said Gordon-Moore.

The Moores sold Debbie Sue (by Citidancer) as a yearling for $30,000 at the 2002 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall sale, and Smart Kiss (Smart Strike) campaigns for them.

Gordon-Moore, a longtime horsewoman who from 1989 to 1997 managed Audley Farm, one of Virginia's leading commercial Thoroughbred nurseries, has a special bond with Debbie Sue.

Debbie Sue's granddam Tetrad (1978, Tentam) was the first Thoroughbred broodmare purchased by Gordon-Moore. She acquired Tetrad (who was unraced) privately, in 1986, in foal to McCann, and bred 11 foals from her before retiring her as a pensioner at Corner Farm.

"She was with me all the time I was at Audley, and she's still here," said Gordon-Moore. "It's a family of tough, tough horses who don't stop."

Tetrad made her mark as the dam of Sumerset, a 1997 Allen's Prospect gelding whom Gordon-Moore sold for $27,000 as a weanling at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale. Sumerset won or placed in five stakes, including a victory in the 2001 Maryland Million Classic, and has earned $435,021.

The story was frustratingly different for Sumerset's older full sister Privateers Bay, who came within a few inches of becoming Tetrad's first stakes winner. As a 5-year-old, Privateers Bay participated in a rare six-horse photo finish in the 1998 running of the $75,000 Lady Baltimore Stakes at Laurel Park. Officially, she was one of two horses to dead heat for fourth.

"To me, Privateers Bay will always be a stakes winner," said Gordon-Moore. "She was on the lead the whole way, and it was so close. The fourth place was such a disappointment. A third in that race would have changed her whole catalog page, and a win would have changed my life."

Privateers Bay retired to the Moores' broodmare band after finishing first or second in 6 of her 25 starts and earning $87,723 - but unfortunately for them without black type.

Her record improved when she produced Debbie Sue as her first foal. She was campaigned throughout her career by Greene, the longtime Maryland-based owner who named her after his daughter, Debbie Sue. Like many of Tetrad's descendants, Debbie Sue has improved with age.

Trainer Hamilton Smith sent out Debbie Sue to finish first or second in 3 of her 6 starts last season, then gave her a long rest. She won the Brookmeade in her first start since last November. It was her first victory on the turf as well as her first stakes win.

In 17 career starts, Debbie Sue has earned $129,190.

Privateers Bay has produced three other foals: the 3-year-old Housebuster filly Mystic Bay, whom the Moores sold for $10,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale; a Chief Seattle yearling colt whom they expect to sell either privately or at auction this year; and a 2006 Pleasant Tap filly. She is in foal to Cozzene.