07/26/2005 11:00PM

Smuggler gives her dam a big boost

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LAS VEGAS - Every decade since the 1950's, the Phipps family has bred champion fillies, and most of them became valuable broodmares. After Smuggler's authoritative victory in the Coaching Club American Oaks and prior win in the Mother Goose Stakes, she is the pro-tem leader of the 3-year-old filly division, and could be the first champion for the Phippses this century.

The Phipps-bred High Voltage, the 1954 champion 2-year-old filly, produced champion sprinter Impressive, as well as stakes winners Bold Commander, Great Power, and Irradiate, the dam of stakes winners Majestic Light, Fluorescent Light, and Celestial Lights.

Misty Morn, the 1955 champion 3-year-old filly and handicap mare, was 1963 Broodmare of the Year and dam of five major stakes winners - the juvenile champion colts Bold Lad and Successor, Sunrise Flight (damsire of Pleasant Colony), Beautiful Day, and Bold Consort. Misty Morn was also the dam of the unraced Lovely Morning, who went on to produce Resolver, the dam of Time for a Change, Dispute and Adjudicating. Another daughter, In the Clouds, is the third dam of stakes winner La Spia, second in the 1991 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Castle Forbes, the 1963 co-champion 2-year-old filly, produced Hopeful Stakes winner Irish Castle (sire of Bold Forbes), Irish Stronghold, and Alpine Lass. Queen Empress, the 1964 champion 2-year-old filly, is the fourth dam of champion Jewel Princess. Queen of the Stage, the 1967 champion 2-year-old filly, is the dam of Fabulous Time, third dam of stakes winners Hattiesburg, Lyphard's Ridge, and Montreal Marty, and fourth dam of stakes winner Smoked Em.

Numbered Account, the 1971 champion 2-year-old filly, was as brilliant as a broodmare as she was at age 2, producing Private Account, Dance Number, and Polish Numbers.

Relaxing, 1981 top older mare and 1989 Broodmare of the Year, produced champion Easy Goer and stakes winners Cadillacing and Easy Now, and stakes-placed Comfy. Christmas Past, the 1982 champion 3-year-old filly, did not replicate her talent in the breeding shed, but 1988 champion handicap mare Personal Ensign has been remarkable, producing Miner's Mark, My Flag, Traditionally, and Our Emblem, and earning Broodmare of the Year in 1996.

Heavenly Prize, the 1994 champion 3-year-old filly, is the dam of Good Reward and Pure Prize, and Inside Information, the top handicap mare of 1995, is the dam of Smuggler.

From the same foal crop, Inside Information and Heavenly Prize debuted on the same day, and both won their maiden at Belmont Park by open lengths. Each was a champion, but Heavenly Prize developed earlier than Inside Information. By the end of their careers, Inside Information had blossomed into the better racehorse. As broodmares, their careers took different paths. Heavenly Prize has had success, but Inside Information had nothing but problems, making Smuggler's emergence that much sweeter.

Inside Information's first foal, Illicit (filly by Mr. Prospector) was unraced. Her second foal, an unnamed colt by Seeking the Gold, died as a weanling and her third foal, Scheming, another son of Seeking the Gold, died as a yearling. Her fourth foal, Devious, a colt by Danzig, was unraced, and while her fifth foal, Manipulator (Unbridled) - a full brother to Smuggler - was a winner, he did not develop like his sister. Inside Information's most recent foal is a yearling filly by Broad Brush named Collusion.

The 3-year-old filly division has been up for grabs since the sudden departure of last year's champion juvenile filly, Sweet Catomine. A handful of fillies have looked brilliant on occasion, such as Splendid Blended, Sis City, Spun Sugar, and Summerly. West Coast-based Splendid Blended flopped badly in her only foray against the Eastern fillies, but rebounded to an impressive victory over older fillies and mares in the Vanity Handicap. Sis City cruised to a 10 1/2-length score in the Ashland Stakes. Spun Sugar won the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes but has now been defeated by Smuggler in the Mother Goose and Coaching Club, as has Summerly, who earlier captured the Silverbulletday Stakes, Fair Grounds Oaks, and Kentucky Oaks.

Round Pond, who won the Fantasy Stakes and defeated Smuggler by 1 1/2 lengths in the Acorn Stakes, may have been Smuggler's biggest threat to win the divisional title, but an injury in the Delaware Oaks, where she finished second over a sloppy surface, put her on the sidelines for the remainder of the year.

By Awesome Again, Round Pond had the pedigree to suggest she would be the equal of Smuggler at the classic distance of 1 1/4 miles. Round Pond is out of the Trempolino mare Gift of Dance, a half-sister to four prominent stakes winners: Pennekamp, a French 2-year-old champion; Black Minnaloushe, an Irish 3-year-old champion; Nasr El Arab, a Group 2 winner in France and a Grade 1 winner on dirt and turf in the U.S.; and Shaal, a listed stakes winner in France. Round Pond's third dam is a half-sister to multiple group winner Carvin II, who finished second in the 1965 Washington D.C. International behind Diatome, ahead of Roman Brother, who was co-Horse of the Year along with undefeated 2-year-old filly champion Moccasin.

A lukewarm favorite in the Coaching Club, Smuggler is certain to be the clear choice in Saratoga's Alabama Stakes in her next start, especially at the same 1 1/4-mile distance. A victory in that historic race would cement her claim as best 3-year-old filly and send her against older fillies and mares in the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Belmont, the same race over the same surface that defined her mother's championship year.