03/20/2008 11:00PM

One broodmare, lots of success


Morris E. Balser, a Towson, Md., attorney, may never become famous as a breeder of Thoroughbreds. But his modest 13-year run in the breeding business has brought a success rate that even the great Federico Tesio would have been proud to call his own.

In his entire career, Balser has owned only one broodmare - the now 16-year-old Slew the Dragoness, by Slew City Slew.

Claimed by Balser for $10,500 at Delaware Park in July 1995, in what would be her final start, Slew the Dragoness has produced three stakes horses.

Balser has sold five of her offspring at auction for a total of $513,500 - with likely more hefty figures to come.

The latest, and best, of her star racing performers is All Giving, a 4-year-old Allen's Prospect filly who joined the ranks of stakes winners with a 5 1/2-length romp in the Conniver Stakes against statebred rivals last weekend at Laurel Park.

All Giving is the leading Maryland-bred money earner in 2008, with $72,520 amassed from four starts, including a strong runner-up performance to Silmaril in the What a Summer Stakes on Jan. 12 at Laurel.

She races for the Concepts Unlimited Stable and Catherine J. Smith. Concepts Unlimited is the stable name of Tony Smith, his wife, and his two children, who live near Richmond, Va.; Catherine Smith is Tony's sister.

Trained throughout her career by Flint Stites, All Giving has won 7 of her 16 starts and earned $176,500.

Stites is aiming her next for Laurel's open-company Primonetta Stakes on April 5.

Balser sold All Giving for $19,000 at the 2005 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale. She was pinhooked to the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May sale of 2-year-olds in training, where the Smiths bought her for $75,000.

Breeding for the commercial market was Balser's game plan from the day he acquired Slew the Dragoness.

He had owned racehorses since 1980, and was an avid fan of the game, but still something was missing.

"They won races, but I lost money," he said. "I decided to try a different approach and breed horses to make money."

Balser studied pedigrees and searched long and hard for a broodmare prospect before finding what he wanted in Slew the Dragoness (out of the unraced Roberto mare Sad Song), who is inbred 5x3 to both Bold Ruler and Hail to Reason.

He has bred her each year to a different stallion. All but two of her offspring are Kentucky-sired, with All Giving an obvious break from the pattern.

All Giving is from the final crop of all-time leading Maryland sire Allen's Prospect, who stood at the Pons family's Country Life Farm in Bel Air, Md., until his death in September 2003. She is Allen's Prospect's 69th stakes winner.

Balser had good timing with Slew the Dragoness's first mate, Belong to Me, a leading sire who was then launching his career with a $5,000 stud fee. The resulting foal, a filly named Belong to Slew, brought $30,000 at the 1998 Keeneland September yearling sale.

But when Slew the Dragoness's second foal, Sea Dragoness (a 1998 daughter of Sea Hero), placed in two stakes at 2, Balser was off and running.

In 2000, he sold her Cherokee Run son War Native for $80,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale. War Native won the Rollicking Stakes and placed third in the Maryland Juvenile Championship Stakes at 2, then stoked his record with two more stakes placings, for total earnings of $96,890.

The high mark came at the 2004 Saratoga select yearling sale, when Slew the Dragoness's Grand Slam colt Moon Dragon brought $275,000 on a bid by John Ferguson. That colt has never raced. At last year's Keeneland September yearling sale, Zayat Stables paid $130,000 for Slew the Dragoness's Johannesburg colt Little Mordi.

Balser hopes to sell a Strong Hope filly out of Slew the Dragoness at this year's Keeneland September yearling sale.

As Slew the Dragoness began to get up in age, Balser became concerned about shipping her back and forth to Kentucky. Since 2006, he has boarded her at Edmond and Karen Hogan's Gaulstown Stud in Harrodsburg, Ky. She is due to produce her 10th foal, by Roman Ruler, at that farm in early April, and is booked to Macho Uno.