Clever Bertie, the Klein family’s blue hen mare, was euthanized the morning of May 30  at Fred and Nancy Mitchell’s Clarkland Farm near Lexington due to complications from arthritic conditions. The dam of two homebred graded stakes winners was 17.

A daughter of Timeless Native out of the Clever Trick mare Clever But Costly, Clever Bertie was bred in Kentucky by James D. Conway and was sold to Bertram Klein for $14,000 out of the 1992 Keeneland September yearling sale.

She contracted epm (equine protozoal myeloencephalitis) before she was able to start on the track and never made a start for the family operation of Bertram, Elaine, and Richard Klein. However, she proved to be more than a winner in as a broodmare. Richard Klein believed epm was responsible for her to deteriorate at such a young age as a broodmare.

Her first foal, a filly by Storm Boot named Hurricane Bertie, won five stakes (three graded) for Bert, Elaine, and Richard Klein of Louisville. Trained by Bernie Flint, Hurricane Bertie won the Prioress Stakes (gr. II; now gr. I) as a 3-year-old in 1998, and added the Princess Rooney and First Lady Handicaps (both gr. III) the following year. She won 14 of 35 starts and earned $940,041.

“It was a special day when Hurricane Bertie went up there to New York on July 3, 1998 and won the Prioress,” Klein said. “The race before that, our Round Robin won the Astoria Stakes - that really made our racing operation take off.”

Gulfstream Park honored Hurricane Bertie with a stakes race named in her honor in 2001. Run at 61/2 furlongs, the race carries a grade III distinction.

Ironically, Round Robin is the dam of the Klein’s Change Up, who finished second in this year’s Hurricane Bertie Handicap on Feb. 17.

Clever Bertie is also the dam of four-time graded winner Allamerican Bertie for the Kleins. A foal of 1999 by Quiet American, Allamerican Bertie won the Falls City Handicap (gr. II) and Delaware Oaks (gr. III) in 2002 and the Rampart Handicap (gr. II) and Sabin Stakes (gr. III) the following year. She also ran second in the Alabama Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga for trainer Steve Flint. Allamerican Bertie won just under $800,000.

“The day she won the Falls City was a special because it was a milestone birthday for my wife, and the entire family was there that day,” Klein said.

Clever Bertie is also the dam of stakes-placed My Poppy Bert.

“She was responsible for where we are today in the racing game,” Klein said. “She was a proven broodmare and it proves you don’t have to pay a lot of money to get a good horse.”

Klein said their operation now has about 80 horses, 40 of which are in training.

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