Numbered Account – Phipps Family Favourite
In the world of Thoroughbred racing there have been certain individuals who have been so remarkable that they are remembered with great affection and awe. Numbered Account was a champion on the track, a producer of grade one stakes winners, and is a very influential mare in the pedigrees of some of today’s champions. She was also one of the sweetest and loveliest horses to have ever roamed the earth.
Numbered Account was bred in 1969 by turf legend Ogden Phipps at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky, where his family has traditionally boarded their breeding stock. She is from the first crop of foals by her sire Buckpasser, one of the greatest champions bred and raced by Phipps. The well conformed Buckpasser only lived to the age of fifteen and stood at Claiborne during his entire stud career. The legendary champion sired thirty-six stakes winners from only three hundred and thirteen foals. He is regarded today as one of the all time greatest sires of broodmares in the past one hundred years.
The dam of Numbered Account is Intriguing, a daughter of Swaps who is another champion legend in American racing. The female family of Numbered Account is one of the grandest in turf history. Her second dam is Glamour by Nasrullah, and her third dam is Striking by War Admiral. Within this elite family are the likes of Horse of the Year multi champion Busher, a full sister to Striking, as well as major stakes winners Harmonizing, Hitting Away, Batter Up, Boucher and major sire influence Poker.
The combination of Buckpasser and Intriguing creates a 4×5 inbreed to the seminal broodmare La Trioenne, who is the fifth dam of Numbered Account. Both of the parents of our heroine descend in direct tail female line from La Trioenne. Buckpasser comes from the Businesslike branch while Intriguing comes from the Baby League branch in this most regal of families.
So with a grand heritage to live up to, Numbered Account was definitely born with a silver bit in her mouth. She became one of the best racers and producers in the family and has been a major contributor to extending the storied success of the family to today.
Numbered Account was almost completely devoid of any white, with the exception of a small star on her forehead. She resembled her father in many ways, including her rich bay colouring, and was an attractive but imposing filly of 16.1 hands tall with a girth of seventy-three and one half inches. Numbered Account was “leggy and lengthy” according to the great turf writer Charles Hatton and had a masculine look about her limbs. Her stride was big and open and she was always a game lass when she raced.
The first race for this young specimen of equine beauty came in a maiden allowance race at Aqueduct on May 14, 1971. Numbered Account smoked the field by ten lengths in the five furlong affair. She then proceeded to take the following race five days later, the Fashion Stakes, by three lengths in 57:2/5 setting a new stakes record. The new star of the Phipps Stable was off and running.
Unfortunately, her trainer Eddie Neloy suffered a fatal heart attack only six days after Numbered Account’s Fashion Stakes victory. The forty-seven year old Neloy was the contract trainer to the Phipps Stable and the sudden and unexpected loss of this very astute horseman was a major blow to not only his family but to racing in general. Eddie Neloy is a member of the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame.
Roger Laurin was hired to take over the Phipps’ horses. Born in Montréal in 1936, Laurin is the son of Lucien Laurin of Secretariat fame, and would go on to become a highly regarded trainer in his own right. He is now a member of the Canadian Racing Hall of Fame and trained for not only the Phipps family but also for E.P. Taylor, Harry Guggenheim, Reginald Webster, James Mosley and Carl Rosen for whom he trained champion Chief’s Crown, later in his career.
The first race Laurin entered Numbered Account in was the Schuylerville Stakes on August 4, 1971 at Saratoga. The filly took the race handily on a muddy surface by one length in a come from behind manner. Twelve days later, Numbered Account suffered her first loss in the Adirondack Stakes when she had a wide trip around the Saratoga final turn and could not overcome her disadvantage. She finished third to Debby Deb and Dance Partner giving each opponent an eight pound weight advantage.
Still at Saratoga, Numbered Account was back in the winner’s circle following a splendid come from behind two and one half lengths win in the Spinaway Stakes. The time for the six furlongs was a quick 1:09 4/5, and Debby Deb was among the vanquished in the race. The turf writers were now beginning to regard the lovely daughter of Buckpasser as a potential champion two year old. Numbered Account would live up to her press clippings.
Laurin had the big girl ready for the important fall stakes races beginning with the six furlong Matron Stakes on September 25. Taking the lead midway through the far turn, Numbered Account dominated a good field to win by a commanding six and one half lengths. She came back two weeks later at Belmont to win the one mile Frizette Stakes by a wider margin of seven lengths over the highly regarded Susan’s Girl.
On to Laurel Race Course for the eight and one half furlong Selima Stakes, where Numbered Account continued her dominance over her division with a thorough six length victory that was never in doubt. Laurin then brought her to Garden State Park for the Gardenia Stakes which was the same distance as the Laurel race. The lovely Phipps homebred added to her credentials with a wonderful come from behind win in the race and again beat Susan’s Girl in the process.
With nothing left to prove within the two year old filly division, Phipps and Laurin then decided to challenge the top colts of the year in the Garden State Futurity. Numbered Account did not fire with her customary speed and ended up fourth to two year old colt champion Riva Ridge, with another highly regarded colt Key To The Mint just in front of her in third. With a record of eight wins from ten starts, seven wins in major stakes races, Numbered Account was named as the champion two year old filly for 1971.
Numbered Account wintered in Florida and flourished. The new Phipps star made her three year old début in the Prioress Stakes at Aqueduct on April 19, 1972. The reigning champion took the six furlong race comfortable by two and one half lengths. Two weeks later she started in the seven furlong Comely Stakes, also at Aqueduct but was beaten by a nose for the win. She had come with a furious rush down the home stretch but Stacy d’Ette held on for the upset victory. Numbered Account was giving her opponent a seven pound weight advantage. During the stretch drive Numbered Account had bore in, thus signaling a possible problem.
There was a problem, but thankfully it was a minor problem. Numbered Account had a slight muscle pull. Nothing serious but it took her away from racing until July 31. She re-emerged with a driving one length victory in the seven furlong Test Stakes at Saratoga. Two weeks later Roger Laurin had Numbered Account entered in the ten furlong Delaware Handicap. She had never gone this far in a race before and it showed, as the big filly weakened deep in the stretch to finish third, beaten four lengths for the win.
Back to Belmont for the one mile Maskette Handicap seventeen days later saw Numbered Account win a hard fought victory after a troubled start to the race. She had stumbled out of the gate but took the lead by the top of the home stretch and pulled ahead by three and one half lengths, eventually holding on for a three quarter length win. Ten days later, still at Belmont, the Phipps starlet had the worst race of her grand career. She finished fifth in the historic Beldame Stakes to an old rival, eventual champion three year old filly Susan’s Girl.
Numbered Account would make two more starts before the 1972 season ended, taking the victor’s spoils in both races. The first of which was the Matchmaker Stakes at Atlantic City, but this victory came from the disqualification of the very good Northern Dancer filly Alma North who had impeded in the stretch. The final race of the year came on October 27 at Keeneland in the historic Spinster Stakes. This may have been her finest race of the year as she handily won the nine furlong event by two and one half lengths in her traditional come from behind way. Her time of 1:47 2/5 equalled the fifteen year old track record set by Round Table.
The sporting Ogden Phipps brought Numbered Account back for a four year old season, which would be an abbreviated four race campaign. She won an allowance race to begin the year and then finished second to Poker Night in the one mile Bed O’ Roses Handicap. Ten days later she was fourth in one of her least inspiring efforts in the Top Flight Handicap and then finished her career three weeks after that when beaten by a neck to Krislin in the Vagrancy Handicap. Numbered Account gave Krislin seven pounds in the Vagrancy.
Ogden Phipps retired his beloved Numbered Account to Claiborne. She became a key contributor to his world class collection of broodmares. In her breeding career, Numbered Account parleyed her great looks and powerful bloodlines to produce some memorable offspring, and set forth the continuation of the remarkable legacy she inherited from her ancestors.
The first foal from Numbered Account was a colt sired by champion Damascus, who in his day had defeated Numbered Account’s sire Buckpasser. The colt was named Private Account, and he would go on to win the Widener and Gulfstream Handicaps, as well as the Jim Dandy Stakes. Retired to stand stud at Claiborne, Private Account sired the immortal Personal Ensign. Bred by Ogden Phipps, Personal Ensign is one of a handful of undefeated champions in history. She won all thirteen races she entered. Her final victory came in thrilling fashion in the 1988 Breeder’s Cup Distaff when she came from nine lengths back to win the race by a scant nose over Kentucky Derby heroine Winning Colors. Seven of her thirteen victories came in grade one races.
Private Account sired sixty-one stakes winners, which equates to 10.1% of all his foals. Other top class stakes winners he sired are Personal Flag (Suburban Handicap, Widener Handicap), Hall of Fame member Inside Information (Breeder’s Cup Distaff, Spinster Stakes, Ruffian Handicap, Ashland Stakes), Chimes of Freedom (Coronation Stakes, Moyglare Stud Stakes), East of the Moon (Prix de Diane, Poule d’Essai des Pouliches), Corporate Report (Travers Stakes), Valley Crossing (Philip Iselin Handicap), Unaccounted For (Whitney Handicap), and Private Terms (Wood Memorial).
The second foal from Numbered Account was the unraced daughter of Graustark named Secret Asset. She is the dam of ten foals. Of which seven became winners and two of those won stakes races. Secret Asset’s son Razeen by Northern Dancer won the Predominate Stakes, beating Elmaamul, and later became a sire of top stakes winners in India. Another son of Secret Asset was Assatis by Topsider, who is a son of Northern Dancer. Assatis won the del Jockey Club Coppa d’Oro in Italy and the Hardwicke Stakes twice in England.
The third foal produced by Numbered Account would be another memorable one. Dance Number was sired by Northern Dancer and came into the world in 1979. She won four stakes races including the Beldame Stakes and the Shuvee Handicap. Later as a broodmare Dance Number produced the 1989 champion two year old colt Rhythm by Mr. Prospector, and that one’s full brother Not For Love. The latter has become a successful regional sire in Maryland and is very well known as the dam sire of the very popular California Chrome.
Dance Number is also the dam of Affectionately Handicap winner Get Lucky. This full sister to Rhythm and Not For Love formed an enduring bond with A.P. Indy with five stakes winners and or stakes producers from their liaisons. Get Lucky is the dam of Daydreaming (dam of Imagining), Accelerator and current hot sire Girolamo (Vosburgh Handicap). Get Lucky’s daughter Supercharger is the dam of Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, who is the sire of Breeder’s Cup Sprint winner Runhappy and is a current popular stallion at WinStar in Kentucky. Another daughter of Get Lucky named She’s A Winner produced Haskell Invitational winner Bluegrass Cat by Storm Cat.
Get Lucky was bred once to Deputy Minister and the resulting daughter named Malka was bred to A.P. Indy. The result of this union produced 2015 Spinster Stakes winner Got Lucky.
One more foal to speak of from Dance Number is Oscillate by Seattle Slew. Oscillate won only one race but later produced stakes winners Mutakddim by Seeking The Gold, Jet Around by Mr. Prospector and Quaestio by Seeking The Gold. The latter is the dam of Golden Horseshoe winner Kavanagh.
Returning to Numbered Account, her fourth foal was Confidentiality by Lyphard. She won one race from two starts and then produced Confidential Talk by Damascus. This grandson of Numbered Account won the grade two Jamaica Handicap and later became a very successful sire of stakes winners in Argentina.
The ninth foal produced by Numbered Account was sired by Danzig. Named Polish Numbers, the colt was stakes placed as a two year old, but did win four of his eleven starts. Retired to stud due to injury, Polish Numbers became an excellent regional sire in Maryland standing at the Northview Stallion Station. The breeding centre is the location of the former Windfields Farm Maryland site and Polish Numbers had the honour of occupying the stall once used by his illustrious grandfather Northern Dancer. Polish Numbers sired thirty-eight foals during his ten years as a sire.
Numbered Account produced ten foals in total, seven sons and three daughters. Two sons have been excellent sires with champions to their credit, but her three daughters have extended the family fortunes grandly. As mentioned earlier, California Chrome has Numbered Account in his pedigree. His dam Love the Chase is by Not For Love and is out a mare named Chase It Down, a daughter of Polish Numbers. Thus the dam of California Chrome is inbred to Numbered Account 3×3.
So far I have gone on about Numbered Account’s great family history, her wonderful championship racing career and her exceptional record as a broodmare. However, the most telling aspect of her life was as a tremendously easy going and kind horse toward her human friends and associates. She was so kind and engagingly co-operative that she could have been a wonderful companion to anyone. Her sweet soul is what most people, especially those who knew her personally, remember her most by.
I spoke to long time Claiborne broodmare manager Gus Koch about Numbered Account and here is what he had to say. “She was by far the sweetest mare we ever had. Numbered Account was quiet, sociable and did whatever was asked of her. I never remember her being ill mannered and she was a devoted mother to her foals. Yes she was a special mare, perhaps my all time favourite.”
Gus is not the only person to echo these sentiments toward Numbered Account. I never have heard nor read anything remotely negative toward her personality. In my mind, she was the dream horse. A champion on the track, a great broodmare after her racing days concluded, and a wonderful soul to be around. You can’t ask for any more than what Numbered Account did for her human friends.
Numbered Account died in her paddock at Claiborne on August 3, 1996 at the age of twenty-seven. Gus remembers the day as one of the saddest he ever had during his great career working with horses. It was a sad day for all who got to know her. She is buried in her entirety at Claiborne and rightfully so.
There are many more accomplished racers than Numbered Account and many more accomplished broodmares than her as well. But when you consider the entire package of beauty, kindness and her racing and breeding careers, I cannot think of another more desirable Thoroughbred mare than Numbered Account for the sheer love of a horse.
(Photo of Numbered Account; Laffit Pincay, Jr – up; Owner Odgen Phipps; Trainer Roger Laurin. Courtesy of The Keeneland Library)