Smoke Glacken was never anything less than brilliant at what he did. And what he did best was run his rivals off their feet. The result was an Eclipse Award as champion sprinter at age 3 – in a year in which he faced older rivals only once and didn’t start in a Grade 1 race.
Trained by Henry L. Carroll, who picked the colt out of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May sale for $65,000, Smoke Glacken proved a true bargain for the partnership of Alex Karkenny, William Roberts and Robert Levy. A Grade 1 winner at 2, he won 10 of his 14 career starts, nine in stakes, and counted two seconds and a third while earning $759,560 in a racing career which lasted just over a year.
Perry M. Rosebrock bred the colt out of the Magesterial mare Majesty’s Crown and before selling him as a weanling at the 1994 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December sale for $14,700 had named him Smoke Glacken, after his ex-wife’s grandfather, Carroll “Smoke” Glacken, a colorful character nicknamed because of his hard-living and the cigarette dangling from his lips.
A gray son of Maryland sire Two Punch, Smoke Glacken finished second in his 2-year-old debut at Monmouth, beaten a half-length by future multiple graded stakes winner Confide. After his next four starts he ranked as one of the best juveniles in the nation. He flew home by eight lengths in his maiden win at Monmouth and stepped up immediately into stakes company to take the Jersey shore track’s Tyro Stakes, the perfect setup for the Grade 2 Sapling, winning the latter by nearly two lengths while defeating nine others.
Shipped to Saratoga, he destroyed the field in the Grade 1 Hopeful, romping by nine lengths. His campaign ended abruptly when finishing off the board for the only time in his career in Belmont Park’s Grade 1 Futurity and exiting with sore shins.
The colt returned four months later at Fair Grounds and was on fire. He ripped through the Black Gold Handicap in January, scoring by five and a half lengths in 1:09.44 for the six furlongs. The Mountain Valley Stakes at Oaklawn Park the next month was equally impressive as he scored by three and a half as the 1-10 favorite. His first of two starts in March was the one-mile Southwest Stakes-G3 and he led throughout, cruising home on top by eight lengths. With Triple Crown aspirations on their minds, his connections sent him out for two attempts at a mile and a sixteenth – he was third, a half length behind winner Crypto Star, in Fair Grounds’ Louisiana Derby-G3, and second behind future Belmont Stakes-G1 winner Touch Gold in Keeneland’s Lexington Stakes-G2. Noting his brilliance at a mile or less, sprints would be targets the rest of the year.
In his six starts at a mile or under during his 1997 championship season, he won by an average of more than four lengths. He returned to the races in June and in what would be the final three races of his career he led at every call. On Belmont Stakes Day in the seven-furlong Riva Ridge Stakes-G3 he finished three-ticks off the track record in 1:20.98. It was no contest in the six-furlong Grade 3 Jersey Shore Breeders’ Cup Stakes three weeks later at Monmouth. Even though he broke a half-step slow, he cruised home in 1:08.53 over graded stakes-winning track record setter Partner’s Hero.
The decision was made to face older rivals in mid-July in the second-richest sprint race in the country, the Grade 2 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes at Laurel. Sent off the 2-5 favorite and the only 3-year-old in the field of seven, he dashed through fractions of :22.10, :44.93 and :57.02 and was well clear at the wire after six furlongs in 1:09.54. Less than two weeks later chips were discovered in his knee and he was retired to stud. He was named Maryland-bred Horse of the Year and earned a second divisional championship.
Smoke Glacken was retired to Gainesway Farm in Lexington, Ky., where he sired more than 60 stakes winners. Retired from stud in 2013, he was euthanized due to the infirmities of old age in 2016 at age 22.