Q-Racing Blog: Iconic

Strawberry Silk did everything asked of her.

Quarter Racing Journal

Strawberry Silk did everything asked of her.

It was a different world back in 1987. President Ronald Reagan challenged Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. The Dow Jones Industrial Average peaked at 2,722 in August and then crashed to 1,738 on October 19, called Black Monday. Curtis Strange led PGA money earners with $925,941. Dorothy and Pamela Scharbauer’s Alysheba (TB) won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

Strawberry Silk was born on March 1, 1987.

The grand mare died on May 14, 2017, Mother’s Day. During three decades of life, all she did was everything asked of her. The legacy she built will continue in the pedigrees of champions.

The final owners/stewards of Strawberry Silk were David and Susan Mackie. They boarded her at Lazy E Ranch in Guthrie, Oklahoma. She was the reigning queen at Lazy E.

“(Lazy E manager) Matt Witman called Susie (Mackie) and told her that she had died,” said David Mackie. “Matt said that she had eaten her dinner (in her stall) and was sleeping fine at 1:30 a.m. and that at 3:30 she was gone. There was no sign of trouble. She just laid down and went to sleep.”

Strawberry Silk always had the heart of a champion. She spent her nights in her stall and was turned out every day in a two-acre paddock with one pasture mate and two hayracks filled with alfalfa. She dozed and slept under her tree. The Lazy E crew does an exceptional hands-on job with each one of the horses in their care. It’s the equine royal life.

“Matt said that recently they were turning her out in her paddock and he said ‘She just looks horrible.’ Her right knee is bowed and her back is swayed,” said David. “Then they put her in her paddock and she runs and kicks all the way around the paddock. She does it because she wants to do it. That and the care she received at Lazy E are why she lived so long.”

Trained by eight-time All American Futurity winner Jack Brooks, Strawberry Silk won the All American Futurity (G1) and Sun Country Futurity (G1). She was second in the Rainbow Futurity (G1) and the Kansas (now Ruidoso) Futurity (G1). She earned $1,266,263 and won 11 of 17 career starts. As a 2-year-old, she started 11 times with nine wins and those two seconds in Grade 1 futurities. She earned champion 2-year-old honors for owner Jacqueline Spencer.

As a broodmare, Strawberry Silk cemented her place in the breed’s history. She produced four graded stakes winners from her five total stakes winners. Leading her produce is the First Down Dash-sired champion Stoli. He won the West Texas Futurity (G1) at 2 and came back at 3 to take the All American Derby (G1). He was named champion 3-year-old.

In the stud, Stoli has sired world champion and All American Futurity (G1) winner Stolis Winner, two-time champion Ketel Won and multiple Grade 1-winner Dont Let Down. He also sired Grade 1 winners Sure Shot B, A Stoli Mate, Vodka With Ice and Trendi.

“As long as (Strawberry Silk’s descendants) are around, there will be runners,” said Brooks.

Hez Our Boy, produced by Strawberry Silk’s daughter Strawberry Cartel, is a qualifier to the $1,154,700 Heritage Place Futurity (G1) on June 3 at Remington Park.

Brooks found Strawberry Silk at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale for Spencer and she bought her for $100,000.

“Strawberry Silk looked the part,” said Brooks. “She was one of a kind. You could pick her out of the bunch.”

A daughter of Beduino (TB), Strawberry Silk was out of a mare that Brooks knew well, Painted Bug.

“I saw her and she ran everywhere. She ran against (the Brooks trained) Mr Master Bug. She ran hard and looked like a stud,” said Brooks. The Shawne Bug-sired Painted Bug earned $274,569, won 17 races and won or placed in nine stakes races. She won or placed in stakes in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona.

“Strawberry Silk was really easy to train. She was a runner from the word go,” said Brooks. “We skipped the West Texas Futurity and then won the Sun Country Futurity.

“She was the only horse that I’ve had in the All American (Futurity) that (jockey) Jacky (Martin) and I each thought would win the race. We were so sure she would win. She had no problems and that’s what you want that time of year.

“She was just a perfect gate horse and would run until you said ‘Whoa’.”

The Mackies were in the right place at the right time to acquire Strawberry Silk.

“We were at the beginning of the (Ruidoso Downs) meet in 2001 and (their All American Futurity winner) Falling In Loveagain had died in 2000,” said David. “I told Susie that I’m going to talk to Jackie (Spencer) about buying Strawberry Silk.

“She said, ‘I can’t keep all these horses; make me an offer.’ I said we need to think about it. She said, ‘No, right now. I think she’s in foal to First Down Dash.’ I said we’d offer $50,000 and take the risk of her being in foal. She said, ‘Oh, that’s great. I would have taken $10,000’.”

Spencer then called (Vessels Stallion Farm manager) Kevin Dickson and he said she was in foal. The stud fee was $50,000.

“She told Kevin that we’d take good care of her and we promised to give her good care,” said David.

Everybody took good care of Strawberry Silk and she took good care of everybody. What more can a horse do?

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