California Stallion Smokester, Sire of Free House, Dies

Smokester, sire of California champion Free House, died Feb. 21 while breeding at the Sahadi family's Cardiff Stud Farms near Atascadero, Calif. The 17-year-old stallion was coming off his best year, with 2004 progeny earnings of $2.6 million.

Free House won California Horse of the Year titles in 1997-98 racing as a homebred for John Toffan and Trudy McCaffery. Trained by Paco Gonzalez, Free House was a grade I winner three consecutive years, placed in all three Triple Crown events, and earned a career total of $3.1 million. He stood at Frank "Scoop" Vessels' Vessels Stallion Farm near Bonsall, Calif., prior to his death last July.

Smokester (Never Tabled--Small World, by Transworld) raced for a partnership that included Toffan, McCaffery, and Gonzalez, winning two of four starts and earning $35,600. He first stood at Rio Vista Rancho in California.

Smokester sired nine stakes winners, 16 stakes-placed runners, and the earners of $13.6 million. He is represented by other graded winners Ninebanks and Areyoutalkintome, whose latest stakes win came in the Jan. 2 El Conejo Handicap (gr. III). Areyoutalkintome and another Smokester son, Bagshot, are both Cal Cup winners.

Smokester is represented by 28 2-year-olds and 16 yearlings this year.