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Belmont Stakes Builds on Smart Strike's Sterling Legacy

Smart Strike is the broodmare sire of three Belmont Stakes (G1) starters.

Seize the Grey is one of three Belmont Stakes starters with Smart Strike as his broodmare sire

Seize the Grey is one of three Belmont Stakes starters with Smart Strike as his broodmare sire

Coglianese Photos

Already a powerful influence in the pedigrees of elite 3-year-olds, Smart Strike will add to his legacy in the June 8 Belmont Stakes (G1) as the broodmare sire of three starters.

The late grade 1-winning son of Mr. Prospector will be represented in this year's Saratoga Race Course edition of the New York classic, to be run at 1 1/4 miles, by Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Seize the Grey, Wood Memorial Stakes (G2) winner Resilience, and Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up Honor Marie.

Seize the Grey, a son of Arrogate, is out of the stakes-placed winner Smart Shopping, an 11-year-old daughter of Smart Strike and a homebred for JAMM, the breeding and racing entity founded by the late Audrey "Tolie" Otto and now run by her daughter Audie. JAMM is an acronym derived from the names of Audrey Otto's four children, John, Audie, Michael, and Matthew.

Resilience, a son of five-time leading sire Into Mischief , was bred by Pam and Marty Wygod out of their homebred winner Meadowsweet. The Smart Strike mare is the last foal and only filly produced by the Wygods' multiple grade 1 winner and millionaire Tranquility Lake. Resilience is now co-owned by the Wygods' daughter Emily Bushnell and longtime friend and bloodstock adviser Ric Waldman. 

Resilience wins the 2024 Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct
Photo: Coglianese Photos/Angelo Lieto
Resilience wins the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack

Honor Marie, by Honor Code, was bred in Kentucky by Royce Pulliam out of the grade 2-placed winner Dame Marie. Ben Sangster bred Dame Marie and then sold her for $140,000 during the 2010 Keeneland September Yearling Sale to Summerplace Farm. The mare was raced from 3 to 5 by Lally Stable and became graded-placed with a second in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes (G2T). Out of the English stakes winner Crystal Crossing, Dame Marie was offered after her racing career at the 2015 Tattersalls December Mares Sale where agent Marette Farrell bought her for Mt. Brilliant Stables for $790,440 and sent her back to Kentucky. A Mt. Brilliant broodmare partnership bred the first two foals out of Dame Marie and then Pulliam bred her third foal, Honor Marie.

Honor Marie, 150th Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky,  4-30-24, Mathea Kelley
Photo: Mathea Kelley
Honor Marie trains ahead of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs

Smart Strike, who stood his entire stud career at Lane's End, has shown exceptional versatility as a sire with his 136 black-type winners nearly evenly divided between stakes winners on dirt (77) versus turf (71). Among his sons and daughters, the females have the edge among stakes winners, representing 4.5% from the stallion's foals of racing age compared to 4% for his male runners.

With such strong representation by his daughters in elite races, it is little wonder Smart Strike has already surpassed as a broodmare sire what he has accomplished as a sire in black-type stakes. As a broodmare sire, he has been represented to date by 190 stakes winners worldwide that include 82 graded/group winners and 14 champions. As a sire, he has 136 stakes winners that include 69 graded/group winners and 14 champions.

Smart Strike at Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Ky. on Dec. 17, 2007. SmartStrike image3455 Photo by Anne M. Eberhardt
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Smart Strike in 2007 at Lane's End Farm

Smart Strike as a broodmare sire has had particularly strong success with 3-year-olds. His daughters have already produced two Kentucky Derby (G1) winners with Mine That Bird (Birdstone) in 2009 and Rich Strike (Keen Ice ) in 2022. Mine That Bird was also second in the Preakness Stakes (G1) and third in the Belmont.

Dullahan, an Even the Score half brother to Mine That Bird, would win the 2012 Blue Grass Stakes (G1) and finish third in the Kentucky Derby.

Smart Strike's most successful runner as a broodmare sire by earnings is Japan's 2022 champion 3-year-old filly Stars on Earth, who has $6,331,230 in career earnings. The daughter of Duramente earned more than $3 million at 3 when she won the Oka Sho (Japanese One Thousand Guineas, G1) and Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, G1). 

A homebred for leading Ontario breeder Sam-Son Farm, it is no surprise to see Smart Strike's influence in Canada's Triple Crown races as well. As a broodmare sire, he has been represented by 2009 Canadian champion 3-year-old colt Eye of the Leopard (A.P. Indy), who won the Queen's Plate Stakes and was third in the Prince of Wales Stakes; '11 Canadian champion 3-year-old filly Inglorious (Hennessy), who won the Queen's Plate and Woodbine Oaks; Dixie Strike (Dixie Union), who the '12 Prince of Wales and was third in the Queen's Plate; Cool Catomine (Spring At Last), who won the '17 Prince of Wales Stakes; and, most recently Elysian Field (Hard Spun ), won '23 Woodbine Oaks and was second in both the King's Plate Stakes (formerly the Queen's Plate) and the Breeders' Stakes.

Smart Strike topped the BloodHorse general leading sire list in 2007 and 2008, when his son Curlin  won such races as the 2007 Preakness Stakes, 2007 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1), 2008 Dubai World Cup (G1), 2008 Stephen Foster Handicap (G1), 2008 Woodward Stakes (G1), and consecutive editions of the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1). As a broodmare sire, he's come close to the top—finishing second to Bernardini in 2022 by around $352,000. 

During Friday and Saturday of the Belmont Stakes Festival weekend, Smart Strike will be represented as a broodmare sire by eight other starters besides the three Belmont entries. These starters include Mission of Joy (Kitten's Joy) in the Just a Game Stakes (G1T), Sparkle Blue (Hard Spun) in the New York Stakes (G1T), and Gun Pilot (Gun Runner ) in the True North Stakes (G2). With such strong representation during a big racing weekend and plenty of rich purses ahead in the summer and fall, maybe this is the year Smart Strike adds a leading broodmare sire title to his résumé.