03/25/2015 6:26PM

Perennial leading sire Smart Strike dead

Barbara D. Livingston
Perennial leading sire Smart Strike was euthanized Wednesday at Lane's End Farm, following a battle with laminitis. He was 23.

Smart Strike, a Grade 1 winner and two-time leading North American sire, was euthanized Wednesday due to complications from laminitis. He was 23.

The son of Mr. Prospector was a cornerstone of the Lane’s End stallion roster, in the midst of his 18th season at the Versailles, Ky. farm. His stud fee was $100,000 in 2015.

Smart Strike was known as one of North America’s most versatile stallions, siring elite runners on all surfaces and in several countries. He was North America’s leading sire in 2007 and 2008, coinciding with the two Horse of the Year campaigns of his greatest son, Curlin.

"We are very saddened by the loss of Smart Strike,” said William S. Farish, owner of Lane’s End. “He has been one of our flagship stallions for many years. He was an exceptional sire and his influence on the breed will be felt for a long time. I want to thank Sam-Son Farm for entrusting us with his stallion career as well as the other shareholders and breeders that have supported him.”

Smart Strike raced as a homebred for the Ontario-based Sam-Son Farm, winning six of eight starts for $337,376. Trained by Mark Frostad, the horse’s on-track resume was highlighted in 1996 by a win over Eltish and Serena’s Song in the Grade 1 Philip H. Iselin Handicap, which was preceded by a victory in the Grade 3 Salvator Mile, both at Monmouth Park.

Smart Strike is represented at stud by 16 crops of racing age, with 1,047 winners and combined progeny earnings in excess of $118.6 million at the time of his death. He is the sire of 59 graded or group stakes winners and 12 champions.

In addition to his two Eclipse Awards as Horse of the Year, Curlin was a seven-time Grade or Group 1 winner, including the 2007 Preakness Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic and the following year’s Dubai World Cup. He earned more than $10 million to rank as North America's leading moneywinner.

Other Eclipse Award winners by Smart Strike include Lookin At Lucky (2-year-old and 3-year-old male), English Channel (male turf), and My Miss Aurelia (2-year-old female).

In Canada, he sired Horses of the Year Soaring Free (2004) and Never Retreat (2011), as well as champions Eye of the Sphynx (3-year-old female), Portcullis (turf male), Gold Strike (3-year-old female), and Added Edge (2-year-old male).

Other notable winners of Grade or Group 1 races by Smart Strike include Fleetstreet Dancer, Fabulous Strike, Centre Court, Shadow Cast, Furthest Land, Square Eddie, Minorette, Crown Queen, Swagger Jack, and Streaming.

Smart Strike was on his way to establishing himself as a sire of sires, sharing the Lane’s End stud barn with Curlin, who himself sired Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice. Other sons of Smart Strike at stud include Lookin At Lucky, English Channel, Dominus, Papa Clem, Square Eddie, Smart Bid, Added Edge, Swagger Jack, Tenpins, and several others.

As a broodmare sire, Smart Strike’s most prominent offspring is Mining My Own, dam of 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. His other top runners as a damsire include Canadian champions Inglorious and Eye of the Leopard, Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Shared Account, Panamanian Horse of the Year Smart D N A, Grade 1 winner First Dude, and Grade 2 winner Handsome Mike.

Smart Strike is one of the greatest products of the vaunted Sam-Son breeding program, out of the Canadian champion Classy ‘n Smart, who was named the country’s Outstanding Broodmare in 1991. All five of Classy ‘n Smart’s runners were winners, also including 1991 Canadian Horse of the Year Dance Smartly, Grade 1 winner Full of Wonder, Grade 2 winner Strike Smartly, and Canadian classic-placed Secret ‘n Classy.

His second dam is Canadian Hall of Famer No Class, who was the pivot point for a bevy of high-profile runners that also included U.S. and Canadian champion Sky Classic, Canadian champions Dancethruthedawn, Regal Classic, and Grey Classic, and Grade/Group 1 winners Always a Classic, Jackson, and Moreno.

Smart Strike will be buried at Lane's End.