Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Let’s all have a little fun, shall we?
What would you do if you had an unlimited amount of
disposable income? Some people would buy a house or a fancy car. Others would
travel the world to see what it had to offer. I would enter the breeding game
of thoroughbred racing.
The “big three” foundation sire lines have become so
prominent in today’s bloodstock, that finding a horse pedigree free of them is
near impossible. The “big three” I am referencing are Raise A Native, Bold
Ruler, and Northern Dancer.
Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing
over and over again and expecting different results. Keeping this in mind, I’ve
always tried to look at things from a different angle. So when I look at
today’s breeding industry, all I see is repetition. I see insanity.
Everyone wants to breed the next Triple Crown winner, yet
nearly the same genetic recipe is being used for every horse being run. When
looking back to the radical thinkers that have established legacies of
bettering the breed, there are some common elements. They didn’t have Truenicks
or computer analysis. What they did have was incredible intuition, patience, and
large checkbooks. And since they couldn’t fly their mares all over the world, they
had make large investments to bring outcross sires to them. They offered
something different to an industry that was stuck in cyclical insanity.
So the approach to my fantasy breeding operation would be
quite simple. I want to minimize the prevalence of the aforementioned three foundation
sires, and offer something new and different. I would try something that
breeding experts would tell me would never work, and that I’m wasting my time
and money. This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard that in my life.
I would begin my journey by combing the broodmare markets to
find mares sired by outcrosses to the “big three” but still proving their worth
on the track and in the breeding sheds. I would start with a total of 5 mares
sired by the following horses:
Holy Bull: 2 mares
Leroidesanimaux: 1 mare
Invasor: 1 mare
Include: 1 mare
I do not have strict on-the-track performance requirements
for the mares, but all must have retired sound. The breeding operation I’m
starting is based on bloodlines, not graded stakes victories.
Foal #1: Fame and Glory x Holy Bull Mare #1
By Montjeu, Fame and Glory was a champion stayer and carries
only one line of Northern Dancer in his pedigree. The resulting foal would have
a plodder on the top half and speed and precocity on the bottom half. I would
hope for a filly from this mating.
Foal #2: Yeats x Holy Bull Mare #2
Like Fame and Glory, Yeats was another champion stayer from
Europe with only a single dose of Northern Dancer and no inbreeding through the
first 5 generations of his pedigree. Once again I’m hoping to get a stamina
infused filly with some speed genes hidden away.
Foal #3: Deep Impact x Invasor Mare
I would shell out some cash for Deep Impact. He’s another
single dose of Northern Dancer and the reputation of already proving to be a
top sire in Japan. Here I would hope for a colt.
Foal #4: Dalakhani x Leroidesanimaux Mare
Dalakhani has only a single dose of Raise A Native in his
pedigree and has produced a champion that won at the Breeders Cup. Bred for
turf through and through, I would prefer a filly here.
Foal #5: Shackleford x Include Mare
Bloodlines to the wind, I just really like Shack. He’s fast,
a great looking horse, iron legged, competitive, and tough. I think he is the
real deal, and I would love to own one of his progeny. I want a colt here.
If you really look into the stallions I have chosen you will notice Hail to Reason is present in many of their pedigrees. Some things are just unavoidable in the breeding shed today, and although he is very common in bloodlines, he still offers more dilution than the "big three."
Round 2 is where I would breed some of my own horses back to
Bull mare #1
Bull mare #2
Foals 6, 7, 8 would by my first real attempt to produce the
racehorse of my dreams. Versitile, tough, long winded, and potentially breed
changing if they prove they have what it takes on the track. I know it could
take several generations before my mission begins to bear fruit, so success or
failure should be determined in no less than 10 years.
Remember, this is for fun, its hypothetical, and its what I
would do with infinite financial resources at my disposal.
What would you do with an unlimited budget and a little