Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Is there such a thing as a ‘freak’ gene?
You can see the resemblance between the two.
Samantha Nicole is a full sister to the almighty Rachel Alexandra, therefore she MUST have the ability to romp fields of girls and beat the boys, right?
Prior to her Kentucky Oaks demolition, Stonestreet Farms purchased Rachel Alexandra privately. Rachel still lives at Stonestreet and is now producing babies of her own, with her first foal a newly turned 2-year-old by Curlin named Jess’s Dream. They wanted Rachel’s sister too, and forked out $700,000 to buy her out of the 2012 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.
Fast forward to Sunday. Samantha Nicole, on the reputation of her older sister alone, opens up at odds of 1-9. She certainly didn’t look the price in the paddock or in warm-ups, where she appeared to be really stressed out by the task now presented her. Her behavior didn’t discourage bettors, who continued to pound her on tickets.
Not surprisingly, the 3-year-old filly broke awkwardly from the gate, loped around and passed tired horses to finish a non-threatening second in a six-horse field.
No disrespect to Samantha Nicole, but betting a horse down because of bloodlines is ridiculous, unless of course, you’re betting $2 to win for a souvenir ticket.
Just because you’re related to a great racehorse doesn’t mean you’re going to be one. To the same point, being a star on the track doesn’t always equal being a star in the breeding shed.
With exceptions of course, very rarely does a great race mare become a fantastic producer. With the help of Brisnet’s American Produce Records, I compared a few great race mares and their progeny, and also identified a few non-so-great racers who stepped up their game during their second career.
Genuine Risk had phenomenal racing career, winning the Kentucky Derby, placing in both the Preakness and Belmont, and earning $646,587. However, that quality did not transfer to her offspring. She was unable to produce one solid foal, slipping most of them, one dead, two unraced, and barren for six plus years.
It was a similar story with Princess Rooney, a Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner with earnings of $1,343,339. From 1986-2006, she was barren eight times, one dead foal, two slipped foals. Her surviving other eight foals were very average.
Winning Colors ended up being a mediocre producer, nothing in comparison to the race mare she was, with earnings of over $1.5 million and a Kentucky Derby win, and placings in the Preakness and Breeders’ Cup Distaff on her resume. She sold at the 1989 Keeneland November mixed sale for $4.1 million and produced ten foals, eight starters, and five winners, but the results were a drop in the bucket compared to the sales price as her leading American runner, Ocean Colors, only earning a total of $127,093, winning just 3 small races out of 13 starts.
Just like Winning Colors, Lady’s Secret had a very mediocre progeny as well, considering she had over $3 million in total earnings as a race mare and did not produce anything in comparison. She had no black type winners and her leading American runner (Famous Again) earned a whopping total of $96,040.
This is not to say that great races mares can’t become great producers, because they certainly can. Personal Ensign and Azeri both produced black type performers, including recent multiple graded stakes winning filly, Wine Princess (Azeri).
What about the great producers that did not enjoy special racing careers?
A great example is Better Than Honour. As a race filly, she was better than average, with multiple graded stakes placings and a G2 win via disqualification. However, she was an absolute champ in the breeding shed, producing Grade 1 winners: Jazil, Rags to Riches, Casino Drive, and Man of Iron, all in consecutive years. Jazil and Rags to Riches both won the Belmont Stakes.
In 2009, three years after producing Man of Iron, and Rags to Riches winning the Belmont, Better Than Honour sold for $14 million, not in foal, at the Fasig-Tipton November sale. After she was sold, she hasn’t produced anything in comparison to the four horses mentioned above. Looks like she sold for too much and may be past her prime ‘producing years’, but that’s the risk these buyers are willing to take.
How about Baby Zip? Not a great race filly at all, only winning one small stake and about $60,000 total earnings. However, she was not only able to produce successful sire, City Zip, but also Breeder’s Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper, considered to be one of the greatest racehorses of his generation and productive in the breeding shed.
Throughout the bloodlines, producers produce. If a soon to be broodmare is related to a solid producer, their chances of following suit are that much higher.
Let’s take a look at Ioya and Ioya Two, a great example of producers 'producing'. Ioya produced 4 foals, all starters, and ALL winners, including black type winners Ioya Two and Mystery Giver. Having only four foals, her babies racked up earnings totaling $1,872,913! Ioya Two had 8 foals, 7 of them starters, and 6 winners, including 4 black type performers: Amazing Results, Ioya Bigtime, Mavericking, and I O Ireland. Even though Ioya and Ioya Two were average to above average on the racetrack, you can now see that the family contains the gene pool to produce quality winners.
So what do we get at the end of the day? Well, you cannot always bank on betting on bloodlines at the track. Nor is a great race record an indication of a true measure of one’s future in the breeding shed. On the race track, it ultimately comes down to a horse having the heart to run their race. In the breeding shed, I believe that family is stronger than the individual, meaning, great producers come from great producing families.
Pick up a sale catalog, and you can read everything about the family of one specific horse. Don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t get excited when we eventually get to see Zenyatta’s or Rachel’s babies run at the track? You can absolutely count me in for that ‘souvenir’ ticket!
Do you love pedigrees as much as we do? Then check out Brisnet.com’s American Produce Records (APR) Online, which features unlimited access to more than 2-million pedigrees updated in real time for one, low annual price. Bloodstock professionals can search by dam or foal, and pedigree handicappers can search by race. APR Online is optimized for web, tablet, or mobile browsing, and each pedigree includes lifetime race records, public auction prices (on all foals sold since 1986), lifetime best BRIS Speed Rating, and Sire Stats for all stallions with foals racing.?Visit Brisnet.com/apr to get started.
~Written By Stephanie Cooley @stephcooley87