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The following post was published earlier this week at Paulick Report.

Shackleford’s victory in the Preakness Stakes affirmed that Storm Cat’s son Forestry could sire a classic horse, and once more showed us the important classic influence of Kentucky Derby winner and Horse of the Year Unbridled.

The latter sired winners of each Triple Crown race. His son Grindstone won the Kentucky Derby; Red Bullet won the Preakness; and Empire Maker won the Belmont Stakes. More recently, Grindstone’s son Birdstone won the Belmont Stakes and has sired Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and Belmont winner Summer Bird.

The massive bay son of Fappiano, however, was lost to complications of colic surgery far too young, but his sons and daughters are continuing to produce successful racehorses. Unbridled’s daughter Oatsee is the dam of Shackleford and two other important stakes winners, Lady Joanne and Baghdaria.

And to a great degree, the story of Shackleford is also the story of Bentley Smith’s involvement in breeding and racing Thoroughbreds. Gainesway Farm’s Michael Hernon said, “Bentley Smith made a great move years ago to buy Unbridled as a foal out of the Tartan dispersal.”

Smith purchased Unbridled for the stable of his mother-in-law Frances Genter, who raced the classic winner and champion. He purchased both the weanling and his dam, the Le Fabuleux mare Gana Facil, at the dispersal for the Genter Stable.

Those actions had monumental importance for the stable, as well as for Smith himself. Unbridled became a classic winner and champion, his dam produced Wood Memorial winner Cahill Road the following year, and Smith became ever more deeply involved in breeding.

Hernon recalled that Smith “was a great intuitive breeder and worked hard on his matings. He was a real good horseman who was very low key about it but bred and developed successful families. He wasn’t led by the market but rather by his knowledge of the horses and the gene pools. He bred to stallions who weren’t always the most commercial, and they realized considerable rewards over the years. He gravitated toward soundness in his selections and racing class.

“As he was developing families, he took great pleasure at looking at his foals and was always willing to give a horse a chance, and I did feel he wasn’t too perturbed if a horse wasn’t an ideal specimen early in life. He would often say, ‘Oh, he’ll come right in time,’ and in many cases he was right.’

He was a breeder who put himself in the way of good luck by having good, athletic racehorses. And when Smith sold off his bloodstock, the buyers put themselves in the same position, especially those who purchased Smith’s Unbridled mare Oatsee.

In the early phase of dispersing his Thoroughbred holdings, Smith sold Shackleford’s dam Oatsee at the 2006 Keeneland January sale for $135,000 to Belvedere Farm, agent for Mike Lauffer and Bill Cubbedge. The big, rangy stakes-placed mare was well-bought at that price, and when her then-2-year-old daughter Lady Joanne (by Orientate) became a Grade 1 winner, Oatsee became a precious commodity indeed.

Marty Takacs, owner of Belvedere Farm, said that he and the purchasing partners “got real lucky, bought her on Tuesday, and on Saturday Baghdaria (the mare’s stakes winner by Royal Academy) won the Silverbulletday. When Lady Joanne came along, it got serious. She’s really a good mare, but she’s not a mare who throws what they want at the sales. Shackleford was the best foal we had out of her,” and he RNAed for $275,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Shackleford was born in 2008, and after Lady Joanne proved her G1 mettle at the races, Lauffer and Cubbedge resold Oatsee at the Keeneland November sale in 2008 for $1,550,000 in foal to A.P. Indy to Leonard Reggio’s My Meadowview Farm.

Lincoln Collins oversees Reggio’s bloodstock and said that the practical decision at the November sales had been whether to purchase Lady Joanne or her dam. He said, “Our choice was between buying the product (Lady Joanne) or the factory (Oatsee); so we bought the factory.”

They were immediately rewarded with a good A.P. Indy colt in 2009 and another colt by Johannesburg in 2010. Oatsee is one of 15 premium mares that Reggio has spread over different Bluegrass boarding farms. Collins said, “Oatsee is at Darby Dan.

Unfortunately, she was barren to Dixie Union for this year but is in foal on an early April cover to Indian Charlie,” best known as the sire of last year’s champion juvenile colt Uncle Mo.

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