When researching and considering possible Reines-de-Course, we sometimes have to remind ourselves to not overlook the American families. The A13 (Lady Robin) family has been on our list for quite awhile, and we amended our original idea of starting with Broodmare of the Year Smartaire, expanding the family line to her fourth dam, Delicacy.
While looking at the names of her descendents, one tends to hear his stomach growl. Delicacy was out of Pandowdy, a cobbler/pie-like fruit dessert. Add names like Hash and Sunday Supper and Monday Lunch and you pretty much get the idea. Pandowdy, by the way, was a stakes winner. Never mind that it happened to be something called the Kentucky Selling Stakes.
We could have gone even further back in the Delicacy clan to the mare Lindora (1856 by Lexington). That would have given credit to two Kentucky Derby winners that will not appear under Delicacy, Vagrant (1876) and Lieut. Gibson (1900). Since neither is important in modern pedigrees, however, we elected to stick with Delicacy.
In The Great Breeders And Their Methods, author Abram Hewitt tells us that the history of Greentree Stud is divided into three separate parts: From 1920-1944 when the establishment was owned by Mrs. Payne Whitney; then the period when her son, John Hay Whitney took over as Mare’s Nest Stud, and finally Greentree, the farm, as we knew it ended in 1982. Today, it exists only as a memory.
Part of the property was sold to Gainesway, and sires like Stage Door Johnny and Stop The Music, some of Greentree’s giants, joined that major farm’s stallion roster until their deaths or retirements. Yet part of the history certainly remains, as next to Gainesway is Payson Stud, owned by Virginia Kraft Payson. Mrs. Payson married the late Charles S. Payson, whose first wife was Joan Whitney Payson.
Where our current subject is concerned, we look to the early years of Greentree, when a filly named Delicacy was bred. The filly was a daughter of *Chicle, who was bred by Harry Payne Whitney. A winner of the Champagne Stakes, he sired 38 stakes winners.
*Chicle worked well with Whitney’s American-line mares by Broomstick and his Domino blood, and it was the latter (via Peter Pan) that produced Delicacy. By no means a champion, Delicacy did have enough class to place in two stakes: the Selima and Lady Baltimore.
Delicacy’s three most important foals, Hash, Monday Lunch, and Sunday Supper were all by Questionnaire and all added more Domino-line blood to the mix. Since Questionnaire’s tail-male line was Himyar, just like Domino, Himyar was linebred to x4 with these matings via Plaudit/Domino x3.
In addition, the mare Cinderella was doubled via Fairy Slipper, fourth dam of Questionnaire, and Peter Pan, who was sire of Delicacy’s dam, Pandowdy. The placement of the inbreeding was 5 x 3.
Then Sting, sire of Questionnaire, had parents who were both tail-female to the mare Sandiway. His sire Spur had Adderly as the second dam and his own third dam was Sandfly.
Hash won the Lawrence Realization and became a decent sire. Today, he is most often found in the pedigrees of horses carrying a line of Explodent. Hash’s son, Mel Hash, was broodmare sire of that Nearctic sire.
Monday Lunch, the Champagne winner, was a gelding. He died as a four-year-old.
Finally, the winner Sunday Supper, sister to these two top colts, found her way to the stud of one Fred Hooper, who liked to do things his own way – and who was very good at it.
Fred Hooper lived past his 100th birthday, but unlike the old soldier he was, he refused to just fade away. That he left an indelible mark on Thoroughbred breeding doing things according to his own lights is undeniable. From his roots as a farmer in the South, Hooper won a Kentucky Derby with his first ‘real’ racehorse, Hoop Jr. and using common sense and an impeccable horseman’s eye, he bred such wonderful horses as Susan’s Girl and the sadly infertile Precisionist.
Hooper’s breeding operation is part and parcel of the history of Florida breeding, and it is a story written in speed. One of his first acquisitions was the colt Education. By Ariel, who also sired Planetoid, dam of Grey Flight, Education carried American lines like Ben Brush and Domino along with Swynford, the great mare Popinjay, and the stallion Adam, a full brother to Ajax, sire of Teddy.
Hooper also purchased his great speed sire, Olympia, at auction. Inbred to half siblings Santa Cruz and Bridge of Sighs as well as to Canterbury Pilgrim via Chaucer and Swynford, Olympio had a superb pedigree. His blood is important to most of Hooper’s stock, and he is the sire of Greek Game, one of Delicacy’s best grandsons.
Hooper went to South America to acquire Fairway-line *Quibu. With limited opportunities, he got the dams of Susan’s Girl and Quaze Quilt, and of course, Smartaire, Delicacy’s Broodmare of the Year descendent which is a large part of this story.
Smartaire’s Background and Siblings
Smartaire, foaled in 1962, carried most of the so-called “Hooper lines” discussed above. She also had a double of the previously-discussed *Chicle, this contribution from Teaching via the two *Chicle daughters Talented and Delicacy. All things being equal, Hooper was lucky to get Smartaire, for her dam was a problem mare.
Art Teacher, an unplaced Olympia daughter, produced only four foals. She was bred no less than 13 other times, with dead foals, barren years and slipped seasons making her something of a cross to bear. However, when she did produce something, it was generally something good.
Stakes winner Teacher’s Art by *Quibu (and thus a full sister to Smartaire), won the Majorette and Alcibiades Stakes and placed in the Arlington-Washington Lassie. She foaled the good sprinter Beat Inflation at stud, but no notable daughers.
Another of Art Teacher’s foals was a gelding by Maribeau named Teacher’s Beau who placed in the minor Sophomore H.
Art Teacher’s last foal, the winning *Daryl’s Joy filly Teacher’s Joy, was bred to sires like Nureyev, Vaguely Noble, Riverman and other good ones. She got G3 stakes placed Savoureaux by Nureyev and the listed stakes winner Dramatic Joy by Riverman but the family is not in the same league as Smartaire’s.
Smartaire was hardly a brilliant runner, it might even be a reach to call her hard-knocking, but she was sound. The bay mare made 35 starts and won four races and close to $14,000. In one of those many starts, Hooper lost her for a $5,000 claiming tag.
Leaving the Fold
Smartaire’s new owner was Mrs. A. T. Williams – but not for long. The filly was soon claimed again, this time for $3,500 by Seymour Cohen. Cohen didn’t keep her long, either, but consigned her to the 1966 Keeneland Breeding Stock sale. She was bought for $25,000 by Jay Swindler who bred her first five foals in partnership with Spendthrift Farm. Four of the five won, but none earned any black type.
As a result, Smartaire was back in a sale in 1972 in foal to Crème Dela Crème, to whose cover she had produced her only loser. Mr. and Mrs. James Ryan of Ryehill Farm in Maryland, bought her for $36,000. For the Ryans, she proved to be a remarkable producer and she extended the Delicacy influence from Florida to Kentucky to Maryland.
The foal she was carrying at the time of her purchase was named Miss Cream Puff and she ran 19 times and won two races. She produced a couple of stakes horses, including Min Allah, a Roberto colt who won a Group 3 in Italy.
Her next foal was Quadratic, by Quadrangle, who was bred on the same Quadrangle-*Quibu-Olympia nexus that gave us Susan’s Girl. Quadratic was an excellent performer. At two, he won the G2 Cowdin, as well as the Nashua and Playpen Stakes. He placed in three other stakes including the G2 Remsen and Saratoga Special.
He returned at three to try his luck with the classics. His preps were promising, with wins in the Everglades (G3) and Bahamas, and seconds in the Tropical Park and Louisiana Derbies. It was not a good year to be a Derby horse for most three-year-olds, however. This was the year of Alydar and Affirmed.
Trained by Woody Stephens and racing for the partnership of Jim Ryan and August Belmont IV, Quadratic later proved popular with small breeders at stud and he sired 25 stakes winners. Some of his best offspring were Monmouth Oaks winner Quixotic Lady; Super Derby winner Home At Last, himself a useful sire; and Affirmed Stakes winner Speedratic.
Quadratic’s year-younger brother Smarten by Cyane was even better as a racehorse, but he faced just as big a problem as Quadratic had with Alydar and Affirmed. A good but not superior two-year-old, Smarten won the minor Senatorial Stakes and the City of Miami Handicap. At three he improved enormously, but Smarten’s sophomore campaign was waged in the year of Spectacular Bid.
Rather than knocking out their horse, Ryan and partner Robert Kirkham went along with trainer Woody Stephens’ thinking and Smarten became the “Derby horse” of 1979. In fact, he was such a good Derby horse that he won four of them – the Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and American Derbies. Two were G2 events, the Ohio and American Derbies. He also placed in such major events as the Meadowlands Cup (G2), Arkansas Derby (G2), Secretariat S. (G2), and Travers (G1).
Trainer Stephens liked the horse so well he almost compared him to Bald Eagle (Woody was not known to like many horses as well as Bald Eagle). Regular rider Eddie Maple called him the nicest three-year-old he had ever ridden.
Of one thing there is no doubt, Smarten was the best sire this family has ever produced. Among his best get are Canadian champion Classy ‘N Smart, dam of Dance Smartly; and G1 winners Prenup (Jerome H.), Dance Teacher (Ladies H.) and Smart And Slick.
His daughters were just as good if not better. Major winners produced by Smarten mares include the above-mentioned Dance Smartly, General Challenge, Associate, Awful Smart, Fast Catch, Looie Capote and Notable Career.
All that, and Smartaire wasn’t even finished. Right after Smarten came his full sister Smart Angle. She was more precocious than either of her brothers and was named champion of her age and sex at two, winning the Selima, Matron, Frizette and Spinaway Stakes.
As good as she was as a runner, Smart Angle has been a little disappointing at stud. However, she does have horses under her like Elaborate, winner of the G2 Triple Bend, and Houston, the G2 Bay Shore winner and another useful sire.
Two years after Smart Angle, Smartaire dropped Smart Heiress to the cover of Vaguely Noble. This attractive filly went on to win three non-graded stakes, and placed in three G3 events. She earned $154,999.
As a producer, Smart Heiress produced the very good runner Homebuilder by Mr. Prospector as well as stakes winner Aztec Empire by Alydar. Two of her daughters have produced stakes winners, the more important of the two being Azhaar by Nijinsky II, dam of the good Canadian stakes winner, and G1 placed Caught Out. What is intriguing about Caught Out is that as a daughter of Smart Strike, she is inbred to Smartaire via Smarten and Smart Heiress on a 4 x 3 cross.
There are two more stakes producers under Smartaire. Smart Steppin by Nijinsky II was unplaced but her daughters have a handful of good runners under them including Friendly Beauty by Stalwart, who ran second in the Alabama. Then there is Smart Darlin by Alydar. She is the third dam of Puzzlement, a G2 winner.
Delicacy’s own pedigree is worthy of comment. She has five Pocahontas lines via Stockwell and King Tom, is 4 x 4 to half siblings Lady Reel and Domino (x2 Mannie Grey), 6 x 5 to half siblings Eulogy and Voltigeur (x2 Martha Lynn – and remember this is the family to which Sting, sire of Questionnarie, is inbred, and making for no les than five lines of Martha Lynn in Sunday Supper via Eulogy x3/Volley/Voltigeur). Delicacy was also 6 x 6 to half siblings Legerdemain and Flatcatcher (x2 Decoy). And she is linebred to West Australian x4 – this is the tail-male line of Matchem, of course. Then Delicacy is inbred to Herod-line Hindoo and amazingly enough she has only one St. Simon line, this via Lady Frivoles, the second dam of Chicle. Even Maggie B. B. has a say in the doings, via Sir Dixon, second dam of Delicacy.
All said, this one of the most unique and well-balanced pedigrees we have seen in a long time. With its solid Matchem anchor and linebreeding to a variety of great mares, it is much more intriguing than just an old American family that got lucky because of Fred Hooper’s love for Olympia.
With great respect for such a past, and with an eye as always to the future, we name Delicacy, Sunday Supper and Smartaire as the latest Reines-de-Course. We’re particularly interested to see how Caught Out does, since she is inbred to Smartaire, and how Smart Strike and other Dance Smartly kin figure in this family as time goes on. For instance, wouldn’t it be interesting to send a Houston mare to Smart Strike? Let us know if you try it and how the foal fares.