02/09/2007 12:00AM

Small farm's program yields two top mares


Stephen and Sue Quick are living the dream of every small-scale breeder.

The Quicks maintain about 10 broodmares at their St. Omer's Farm in Forest Hill, Md., and their racing stable consists of four homebreds with trainer Chris Grove at Laurel Park. But they own two of the top older racemares currently in competition in Maryland.

The Quicks' duo won unrestricted stakes races at Laurel on two successive weekends in late January.

Silmaril, by former Maryland stallion Diamond, captured the $100,000 What a Summer Stakes on Jan. 20 for her eighth career stakes win, boosting her career earnings to $639,153.

The 6-year-old Silmaril, owned and bred by the Quicks in partnership with Christopher Feifarek, a Towson, Md., radiologist, is headed for Laurel's Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap on Feb. 17.

On Jan. 27, the Quicks' 5-year-old Lexi Star furthered her burgeoning career with a victory in the $100,000 Nellie Morse Stakes.

Lexi Star, whose sire, Crypto Star, stands at Murmur Farm in Darlington, Md., is a talented mare who had been compromised by poor racing luck in some of her earlier races, according to Grove.

"If the rail was fast, she was stuck on the outside," Grove said. "If it was a five-horse field, she'd be five wide."

But "something changed about Lexi before that last race," Grove added. "She's traveling differently - she's got a different glow about her."

Lexi Star still had managed a creditable record leading up to the Nellie Morse. She won the Justakiss Stakes at Delaware Park in her next-to-last start, and had two earlier stakes placings. At 3, she finished a close second to Sticky in the Maryland Million Oaks and also was third (behind Trickle of Gold and Sticky) in the Anne Arundel Stakes.

In the Nellie Morse, Lexi Star, the second choice at 2-1, closed with determination to score by 1 3/4 lengths over It's True Love, leaving the odds-on favorite, Yolanda B. Too, to settle for third.

Remarkably, Silmaril and Lexi Star are not just stablemates, but also close relatives. They come from a family that many years ago brought the Quicks their first major racing success.

It all began with the first broodmare the Quicks owned, Pilgrim's Pride (a foal of 1965, sired by First Landing), whom they purchased for $5,400 at a Timonium auction in 1977.

Pilgrim's Pride was barren when the Quicks bought her. The next season they sent her to Alfred G. Vanderbilt's Sagamore Farm for a mating with North Sea, a son of Nearctic.

The result of that union was Kattegat's Pride, one of the finest Maryland-bred racemares of all time. A statebred champion at 3, 4, and 5, Kattegat's Pride won or placed in 18 stakes, earning $511,812.

Kattegat's Pride jump-started the Quicks' career in the horse business. Stephen Quick, a prominent local home-builder, remodeled the couple's farm into a showplace - and a fitting home for Kattegat's Pride's future offspring.

Unfortunately, Kattegat's Pride was a complete bust as a broodmare. She produced four foals, only one of whom won a single race. That was Kattebuck, a 1988 daughter of Spend a Buck, who won 1 of 16 starts and earned $14,419.

The Quicks had bred and raced outside the limelight for nearly two decades when Kattebuck produced Silmaril as her fifth foal.

Lexi Star, meanwhile, descends from Kattegat's Pride's half-sister Reykjavik's Pride (1984, by Akureyri). Herself a modest winner, Reykjavik's Pride produced as her first foal stakes-placed Frozen Lock (1990, Corridor Key), who won 13 of 43 starts over five seasons of competition, placed second in the Gold Digger Stakes at 6, and earned $102,620. Lexi Star is Frozen Lock's first foal to race.

Reykjavik's Pride died several years ago, but Frozen Lock remains in production at the Quicks' farm. She has a 3-year-old daughter, Gentlemen's Locket (by the Argentine-bred Gentlemen), who is expected to make her first start for the Quicks and Grove in the near future; a 2-year-old Not for Love colt; and a yearling colt by Crypto Star. She is due to foal in early March to the cover of Dance With Ravens.

Kattegat's Pride, now 28, is living out her life as a pensioner at the Quicks' farm. Kattebuck, still an active member of the Quicks' broodmare band, has a 2-year-old full sister to Silmaril named Another Jewel, who is progressing toward her first start. Kattebuck had a Not for Love colt in 2006 and was not bred back for 2007. Breeding plans for her this season are still undecided.