Updated on 09/15/2011 1:28PM

Smiths got it right the first time - twice


Stanton "Bo" Smith and his wife, Stella, never dreamed the impact one horse could have on their lives. The couple, from Millstone, N.J., found out in a hurry with Fancy Pan.

Fancy Pan is the granddam of Our Cozzette, winner for the Smiths and partners of the filly division of the New Jersey Futurity Nov. 9 at The Meadow-lands.

In 1987, the Smiths and a few relatives and friends set out to buy a race horse, believing "it would be fun to get in the horse business," said Bo Smith. With the help of trainer Mark Perlsweig and a bloodstock agent, the partnership, named Gunsmith Stables, made its first purchase - a 4-year-old filly named Fancy Pan then stabled at Belmont Park.

"She had a modest record while racing in high-priced claiming races in California, and we thought she would fit well at the higher claiming levels in New Jersey," said Smith.

They pooled their money and put up $37,000 to buy Fancy Pan.

Fancy Pan far surpassed the novice owners' expectations. Over the next three years, the daughter of Paavo captured the Omnibus Stakes at Monmouth and Lady Baltimore Handicap at Pimlico, placed in numerous other stakes, and earned nearly $220,000.

When it came time to retire Fancy Pan, the partnership was split on what to do with the mare. The Smiths wanted to keep her. But neither of the Smiths, who are in their 40's, had experience with caring for horses. What did they do? They bought a small farm, went to school to learn everything they could about the care of horses, and gave Fancy Pan a home.

Fancy Pan rewarded the Smiths with her first foal, Avie's Fancy. A daughter of Lord Avie, Avie's Fancy exceeded her dam's accomplishments.

Racing for Gunsmith Stables, which now comprises the Smiths, Bo Smith's cousin Michael Smith and their friend Jack Wilcox, Avie's Fancy was a stakes winner at 2 and a graded stakes winner at 3 and 4. She was named champion New Jersey-bred 3-year-old filly and grass horse in 1994 and champion grass horse in 1995.

From 21 starts, Avie's Fancy had 10 victories and earned $402,909. Her greatest achievements came on the turf, including victories in the Grade 2 Matchmaker Stakes at Atlantic City (for which she earned a date with Holy Bull) and the Grade 3 Boiling Springs Handicap at The Meadowlands, and a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Invitational Challenge Cup Stakes at Keeneland.

Avie's Fancy joined the Smith's broodmare band after her retirement. Our Cozzette is the third foal out of Avie's Fancy. Our Cozzette (by Cozzene) is Gunsmith Stables' only horse in training, and is conditioned by young Irish horseman Cathal Lynch. (Lynch also won the colts and geldings division of the New Jersey Futurity Nov. 9 with Parfy's Legacy.)

Our Cozzette is undefeated in two starts, both at six furlongs. She has been nominated to the 1 1/8-mile Demoiselle Stakes Saturday at Aqueduct, but may instead be sent to South Carolina for a break over the winter.

"We think with her breeding she should want to go long on the grass," said Smith.

In addition to their success with Our Cozzette, the Smiths this year sold the seventh foal out of 19-year-old Fancy Pan, a colt by Saint Ballado, for $225,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale. Smith says the Gunsmith philosophy is to sell the colts and race the fillies. Avie's Fancy's weanling son by Saint Ballado will most likely be offered at one of next year's summer sales.

Avie's Fancy is in foal to 1994 sprint champion Cherokee Run.

"We are trying to put some speed in the pedigree," said Smith. "But we'll send her back to Cozzene."