10/28/2007 11:00PM

Smart Strike smashes earnings record

EmailLEXINGTON, Ky. - The Breeders' Cup results gave Lane's End stallion Smart Strike a new accolade: a single-season progeny earnings record of $13,830,841.

A hefty portion of that total has come courtesy of Curlin, whose BC Classic victory brought his 2007 earnings to $5,102,800. English Channel, the BC Turf winner who retired to stud Monday at Lexington's Hurricane Hall, also poured money in Smart Strike's coffers this year with his season total of $2,640,000.

With the help of those two Breeders' Cup wins, Smart Strike's 2007 progeny earnings easily passed the previous single-season record of $10,700,039 that Elusive Quality set in 2004, the year his son Smarty Jones won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

The record caps an outstanding season for Smart Strike, a 15-year-old Mr. Prospector horse. Smart Strike, a Grade 1 winner himself, was already the sire of five Canadian champions, including that country's 2004 Horse of the Year, Soaring Free, before the 2007 season even started. But this was his breakout year in the States, with a host of other good stakes winners in addition to headliners Curlin and English Channel. His other graded or group winners this year include Fabulous Strike, Strike Softly, Bel Air Beauty, Super Freaky, Pleasant Strike, and Tungsten Strike. So it came as little surprise when Lane's End raised Smart Strike's fee from $75,000 to $150,000 for the 2008 breeding season.

Smart Strike's progeny this year even pushed him past his venerable colleague on the Lane's End roster, A.P. Indy, whose $8,886,368 in earnings now place him second on the earnings list.

"It's been exciting the way he's gotten better and better every year," said Bill Farish, son of Lane's End founder Will Farish. "Sure, he's gotten a better book of mares every year, but could that account for this meteoric uptick? I don't know, but every year he has gotten better."

Farish attributed Smart Strike's success to his versatility as a sire.

"That all came to light very clearly this year at Belmont," said Farish, pointing out that Smart Strike had horses there that won a Grade 1 sprint (Fabulous Strike in the Vosburgh), a Grade 1 at 1 1/2 miles (English Channel in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational), and a Grade 1 at 1 1/4 miles (Curlin in the Jockey Club Gold Cup). "He gets dirt, turf, and Polytrack horses. He gets them all."

Smart Strike isn't the only Lane's End stallion having a good year in 2007. A.P. Indy is ranked second by progeny earnings, and Langfuhr, a son of Danzig, is ranked fifth behind those two, Distorted Humor (WinStar Farm), and Giant's Causeway (Ashford Stud).

BC winners mostly bargain buys

Of the Breeders' Cup winners who went through the public auction ring, the most expensive at sale was Dirt Mile winner Corinthian, who cost $385,000 - well below the million-dollar price tags seen topping yearling auctions in recent seasons.

In fact, most of the 2007 Breeders' Cup winners were available at bargain prices at some stage. The least expensive was Mile winner Kip Deville, who was a $20,000 Fasig-Tipton Texas yearling in 2004, followed by Turf winner English Channel, who brought $50,000 at the 2003 Keeneland September sale. Classic winner Curlin cost just $57,000 at Keeneland's September sale in 2005. Sprint victor Midnight Lute first sold as a $70,000 yearling at Keeneland in 2004, two years after Filly and Mare Sprint winner Maryfield brought $80,000 at the auction. Just two of the Breeders' Cup winners initially cost six figures when they appeared at auction: Corinthian and Juvenile winner War Pass, a $180,000 Keeneland September purchase in 2006.

Ginger Punch failed to reach her reserve on a $27,000 hammer price at the Adena Springs juvenile auction two years ago, and now she's the homebred winner of the Distaff for Frank Stronach.

Maryfield, Octave up for auction

The Fasig-Tipton November mixed sale, set for Sunday in Lexington, got a big boost when Hip No. 37 in the catalog, Maryfield, captured the BC Filly and Mare Sprint on Saturday.

A 6-year-old Elusive Quality mare, Maryfield will sell as a broodmare prospect in the Taylor Made agency's consignment. That consignment also will include Octave, third in the BC Distaff. A 3-year-old Unbridled's Song filly, Octave will enter the sale ring as a two-time Grade 1 winner by virtue of her scores in the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Mother Goose this year; she also finished second in last year's BC Juvenile.

The catalog also will feature Gradeo1 winners Dream Rush and Irish Smoke, both consigned by Hill 'n' Dale. But West Point Thoroughbreds principal Terry Finley, part of the fillies' ownership group, said he and his partners have decided to withdraw another Gradeo1-winning filly, Lear's Princess, and race her in 2008.

Finley said the partners planned all along to keep one of the illustrious females and cash out on the others.

"We're not in the breeding business, and we focus almost entirely on racing," Finley said. "A good number of the partners are in all three of the fillies, so it's not as if they're going to be left with no action. But then again, they're going to have the capital to go back into the sales market and look to get back in other horses."