11/29/2001 12:00AM

Smoke Glacken refutes 'sprinters only' theory


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Not every top racehorse goes on to become a top sire, but among the freshman class of 2001, such high-quality racehorses as Siphon, Pulpit, Louis Quatorze, and Smoke Glacken have begun their stallion careers with a bang. Each has at least one graded stakes winner, and all of them appear to have their best racing ahead of them. This suggests that some of these freshman sires will have classic candidates next year, and one might even follow in the path of Maria's Mon and sire a classic winner from his initial crop of racers.

Smoke Glacken, who stands at Graham Beck's Gainesway Farm, has three stakes winners this year and is in third place among the leading freshman sires. He might be the most surprising member of the group with possible classic candidates for next year, as he was champion sprinter, and most breeders expected his offspring to be good early but then find the distances getting beyond them toward the end of the season.

The stallion's runners have, however, been good early and late, and Gainesway's director of sales, Michael Hernon, said, "Honestly, I never thought of Smoke Glacken as purely a sprinter. He won around two turns and was beaten only a half-length in the Louisiana Derby after he ran off early in fractions of 22.80 and 45.60. Now in his first crop he has a daughter who wants to go long."

The filly in question, Smok'n Frolic, won the Tempted and Demoiselle Stakes in her last two starts. She has improved as the distances have increased, and earlier in the year, she had won the Fashion and run second in the Grade 1 Spinaway.

From the evidence in the charts, Smok'n Frolic will not be troubled by nine furlongs, or possibly farther, next year, and her trainer, Todd Pletcher, has indicated that she will go in the Bonnie Miss and then on to the Kentucky Oaks, her primary objective next season.

Because of his first-season results, Smoke Glacken "will have his best book yet in 2002," Hernon said. "The quality of his books has improved each year, and next year, in light of his success this year with three stakes winners, the quality of mares is in a whole different league."

Those breeders looking to use particular crosses with the stallion should note that Smoke Glacken's most successful runner, Smok'n Frolic, is inbred to Northern Dancer through Nijinsky's son, Green Dancer, and Smoke Glacken's maternal grandsire, Magesterial. Considering that the stallion's two other stakes winners are out of mares by Housebuster and Tally Ho the Fox, pedigree crosses may take second place to quality and athleticism in selecting mates.

A strongly made horse, Smoke Glacken is siring sturdy athletes and is getting winners with all sorts of pedigrees. Hernon noted that "they all seem to have some ability and are sound horses. In the majority of cases, he seems to dominate the mares and produces good-sized, rugged horses with scope."

Although Smoke Glacken covered good-sized books in each of his first four seasons, Hernon said the horse "could have 250 mares this year" because of the demand for him but will be limited to about 100. Smoke Glacken's stud fee also has risen from $10,000 to $15,000, and Hernon said, "We thought that was realistic, and the market has agreed. We're sold out at the farm at 15 live, and the open market has seasons for about $20,000 live foal."

A gray horse by the Mr. Prospector stallion Two Punch, Smoke Glacken is a big, strong stallion with immense power. Smoke Glacken has a good shoulder and deep girth, but the power in his hindquarters is amazing. Both the muscle mass and the leverage he has gave him a cruising speed that left other horses gasping.

Hernon recalled, "I really become aware of how much ability the horse had when I saw him race at Belmont in the Riva Ridge. He was always dominating his competition from the gate; the other horses in the early part of the race are under a drive, and he's on a long rein, running within himself. That was the day I was really taken by the horse."

Not long after that, Gainesway acquired an interest in the horse for the purpose of standing him at stud. A big gray, Smoke Glacken won 10 of his 14 races and was named champion sprinter in the voting for the 1997 Eclipse Awards. He stands at Gainesway as the property of a syndicate.