07/03/2006 11:00PM

Yet another good Phipps filly

Adam Coglianese / NYRA
Country Hideaway was the first foal of Our Country Place, the granddam of the promising Pine Island.

LAS VEGAS - Bushfire, who had won the Acorn and Ashland stakes and Florida Oaks, moved to the head of the 3-year-old filly division with her victory in the Mother Goose Stakes last weekend. But her reign may be short-lived.

Pine Island, who was making just her third start, finished gamely up the rail to be second, beaten three-quarters of a length, in the Mother Goose and may very well be the filly they all have to watch the second half of the year.

A daughter of Arch, Pine Island made her debut at Gulfstream Park on March 9 in a maiden turf race at 1 1/16 miles and rallied to win by a neck at $59.80. Off three months, she returned at Belmont on June 8 to win an off-the-turf allowance at nine furlongs by 5 1/2 lengths, this time paying $18.20.

Pine Island's effort in the Mother Goose was admirable considering she was making her first start in a stakes, let alone a Grade 1, and conceding racing experience and foundation to Bushfire and the rest of the field. Is there any doubt which 3-year-old filly in that field has the most upside?

Owned and bred by the Phipps Stable, Pine Island is beginning a new chapter in what seems to be a never-ending success story for her female family, in general, and for the Phipps family in particular.

Pine Island's heritage

At Saratoga in 1993, the Phippses privately bought Our Country Place, a yearling filly by Pleasant Colony out of Maplejinsky, before she was scheduled to be sold at the Fasig-Tipton yearling sale. She went on to become the granddam of Pine Island.

There were many things that made Our Country Place so attractive to the Phippses. For starters, the Phippses did not breed to her sire, Pleasant Colony (His Majesty), and they were getting a filly from the stout Ribot sire line. Of more importance, however, was Our Country Place's female family. Her dam, Maplejinsky (Nijinsky II), won the Alabama Stakes and Monmouth Oaks, and was a half-sister to Dayjur (Danzig), European Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old in England and France. Maplejinsky produced champion Sky Beauty (Blushing Groom). Maplejinsky's dam, Gold Beauty (Mr. Prospector), was the 1982 champion sprinter. In addition to Dayjur and Maplejinsky, Gold Beauty also produced the unraced Gold Legend (Seattle Slew), the sire of Heritage of Gold.

Unraced, Our Country Place became a valued member of the Phipps broodmare band, exceeding expectations.

Her first foal, Country Hideaway (Seeking the Gold), was a multiple stakes winner, and last year, Country Hideaway's full sister Pleasant Home won the Breeders' Cup Distaff. A third full sister by Seeking the Gold, Matlacha Pass, may have been the best of all them, but injury forced her early retirement after she won 2 of 3 races.

Matlacha Pass's first foal, Chili Cat (Storm Cat), has been a disappointment after showing promise in her first two starts, and Pine Island is her second foal.

Pine Island may turn out to be better on turf, but with prestigious stakes on dirt such as the Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama looming - both at 1 1/4 miles, a distance she was bred to relish - and her promising effort in the Mother Goose, it appears she will remain on dirt for now.

Like the majority of the Phipps broodmares, Country Hideaway, Matlacha Pass, and Pleasant Home are all boarded at Claiborne Farm. Country Hideaway is the dam of recent winner El Coyote (A.P. Indy), an unraced 2-year-old filly by A.P. Indy named Boca Grande, and a yearling colt by Dynaformer, named Vacation.

Matlacha Pass is the dam of a 2-year-old filly by Rahy named Voyage, and has a yearling colt by Giant's Causeway named Offshore. Recently retired Pleasant Home was scheduled to be bred to Awesome Again this year.

Our Country Place died earlier this year due to laminitis, but she leaves a powerful legacy through these three daughters.

Two key purchases

A great deal of the Phippses' longevity at the highest level of the sport is due to their program of acquiring young fillies from superior female families every few years to add new blood to their elite group of broodmares.

Two private purchases by patriarch Ogden Phipps in the late 1960's and early 1970's paid huge dividends. The first was Lady Pitt (by Sword Dancer), the 1966 3-year-old filly champion, who was bought from Golden Triangle Stables after her racing career was over, and the second was Dorine, the South American filly champion.

Lady Pitt produced Bank of England (Buckpasser), the dam of Peter Pan Stakes winner Comptroller; Queen Pot (Buckpasser), the dam of Italian champion King of Clubs, who also finished fourth in the Arlington Million; and Brooklyn Handicap winner The Liberal Member (Bold Reason). But Lady Pitt's most important foal was Blitey (Riva Ridge).

Blitey won 8 of 23 starts, including the Maskette (now Go for Wand) Handicap and the Test, Ballerina, and Twilight Tear stakes, and placed in the Ruffian, Hempstead, Shuvee, Top Flight, and Delaware handicaps.

As a broodmare, Blitey produced Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Dancing Spree (Nijinsky II); Long Island Handicap winner Dancing All Night (Nijinsky II); Grade 1 winner Fantastic Find (Mr. Prospector), who is the dam of Grade 1 winner Finder's Fee; and Grade 1 winner Furlough (Easy Goer), who is the dam of Grade 3 winner Happy Hunting.

Oh What a Dance, an unraced full sister to Dancing Spree and Dancing All Night, produced champion Heavenly Prize (the dam of stakes winners Pure Prize and Good Reward), Matron winner Oh What a Windfall, and Dancinginmydreams, who was second in the Matron.

Dorine's first foal for Phipps was the stakes winner Our Hero (Bold Ruler). Her next foal was Grecian Banner (Hoist the Flag), a modest winner of 1 of 6 starts. In 1983, Grecian Banner produced stakes winner Personal Flag (Private Account), and the following year, she produced his full sister Personal Ensign, the undefeated champion who was also a special broodmare, producing the Grade 1 stakes winners My Flag (Easy Goer), Miner's Mark (Mr. Prospector), and Traditionally (Mr. Prospector), and the stakes-placed Our Emblem (Mr. Prospector), Proud and True (Mr. Prospector), and Salute (Unbridled).