Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Similar Sires - Similar Profiles

One of the most important things you can do when choosing a sire is to create the profile of what works with respect to the mares that produce their top performers. An article on Standardbred Canada caught my eye because it dealt with a three year old colt by Pet Rock who has won his first three starts. The profile for his sire is predictable based on the profile of Rock N Roll Heaven, a sire with an almost identical pedigree.

Both sires have maternal lines of Artsplace (Abercrombie) and Cam Fella (Most Happy Fella). Mares with these sire lines are prime candidates for these sires but for some reason Rock N Roll Heaven seems to also favor mares with Big Towner maternally. Seven of his top 10 show this connection. That would indicate to me that Pet Rock would show likewise and although his offspring are just three year olds to date it appears to be a key for his success. I was interested in finding out if  Larrys Petrock, the subject of the article, fit this profile - his third dam is in fact by Big Towner. The profile for Pet Rock shows 5 of his top 10 with this connection.

While not all of the offspring of these two similar sires have Big Towner maternally that feature is something that cannot be ignored if not entirely explainable. Most of the others show combinations of Abercrombie and Most Happy Fella as expected.

Picking a sire is not that difficult, just do your homework with respect to the profiles of the sires in which you are interested

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Good Ones Come From Anywhere

The Canadian Maritimes is not noted for horses that make a lot of money. There are just a handful that have made over $500K lifetime but I have been fortunate enough to be connected to two of them.  The first I have written about before, a colt I recommended the breeding on and then bought at our yearling sale for $1,500 when nobody else wanted him. That was Hussy Chaser who went on to make over $520K and become the third richest Maritime bred. The other one is a trotter called Waiting On A Woman.

Ten years ago there was a young fellow working for my trainer who had a mare he wanted to breed. A quick look at her breeding and I recommended a new sire in the Maritimes called Northern Bailey, at the time a ten year old making his debut as a sire. I was attracted to the double presence of Super Bowl in his dam which fitted the mare which was inbred maternally to Super Bowl. The pedigree in fact is a double/double.

Waiting On A Woman has just passed the $500K mark  and now has a record of  62 wins in 188 starts, a record of 1.52.2f, and earnings of $502,758.

Both of these horses are the best by their sires and serve to show that any sire, given the right mare, can produce a top performer.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Stallion Review - 2017

The breeding of Standardbreds in North America, based on the number of yearlings, continues to be in decline. A big part of the problem in recent years has been the big drop in Ontario and New Jersey breedings, both crippled by Government policies that hurt the industry. While both jurisdictions, along with Quebec, are recovering somewhat, the impact on the stallion population there and elsewhere continues to present problems for the future.

In 2017 alone we saw 139 stallions retired from breeding compared to the 96 that quit the ranks in 2016. This is offset somewhat by the meager 10 new stallions listed to date for 2018 breeding in addition to the 62 that may have first crop foals in 2018.

The number of stallions with yearlings registered to date in 2017 stood at 449 and many of them had just a handful of foals including 32 with just one foal registered. The number of yearlings in North America last year overall dropped to another 50 year low of 7234, with 4167 pacers and 3067 trotters, and all indications are that the drop will continue in the 2017 crop. The immediate effect is on the yearling sales where we are seeing reduced consignments and sale consolidations. This has a temporary good side in the form of increased sale averages but considering that the breeders have struggled with lower that cost sales in the past it is like a 100% increase going from 1 to 2 on a scale of 10.

The shortage of yearlings ultimately results in a shortage of racehorses, and a reduction in racing opportunities and purses as tracks struggle to maintain their market share. Track closures are inevitable as we have seen recently in Illinois. Even the biggest tracks are not immune since they are dependent on the "farm" system of smaller tracks for the development of race horses and the trainers and caregivers related to them.

Add to this an almost total absence of interest on the part of the two organizations responsible for the breed in doing anything positive to turn around the decline in their base. The USTA and Standardbred Canada continue to bury their heads in the sand claiming that they need to increase the bet and the purses as a first priority. Meanwhile the breeders that remain continue to struggle and pay ever increasing dues to these so-called breeders Associations getting little ground level support in return.

Here on Prince Edward Island we are blessed to have an active industry association to fill the gaps left by a delinquent national organization. Supported by local government at all levels of the industry, racing on PEI has a strong rural base with an active matinee track program that gives small breeders and younger people the opportunity to learn about, and grow their interest in, harness racing. While we have also seen the demise of several of our larger breeding farms in recent years the number of mares bred has stabilized and the number of small breeders has increased somewhat. Our yearling sale set an all time record average with a substantial 34% increase of the previous year record and the accolades should go out to the breeders accordingly and to the many volunteers that are key to our continued success.

Solutions are elusive to the problem. Increased promotion and assistance in the form of education and basic farm gate services are basic building blocks to encourage new breeders. A switch to broodmare residency requirements as the basis for regional stakes eligibility would open up a new market for struggling breeders to board mares. Breeders awards as a percentage of earnings are already in place in several jurisdictions but should be universally available. Broadening the ownership base and level of interest through initiatives like The Stable is also a positive development that should be encouraged at the regional level.

I am sure that readers have their own suggestions for ways to support the successful breeding of Standardbreds. After all the future of the breed in North America is at stake and leaving the problem to the next generation is not an option - there may not be another generation.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Tattersalls Mixed Sale 2018

The annual January mixed sale at The Meadowlands is your last chance to pick up an in-foal mare or a young mare just off the track for the upcoming breeding season. The prices are generally lower than at Harrisburg and there are always some great buys available.

Here is a list of the mares in the sale including broodmares and mares still racing but potentially broodmares. I have added in the performance ratings based on speed and earnings in the family. The rating of the mare gives you a general idea at what level her offspring could be competitive, either regionally or nationally. There are also quite a few that should probably not be bought for breeding purposes because of low ratings.

Here is the profile for all of the mares in the sale including the cross percentages. The profiles are colour coded by sire line and the colour codes are shown at the end of the report. If you bring up the report in PM Online you can click on the cross percentage and get a list of all horses racing with that cross and compare the profile of the mare with the successful ones.

For mares in foal it is important to assess whether the foal being carried has a correct pedigree - no point in wasting a year if it is not, although if you plan to sell as a yearling you may take the risk of a blemish on the mares career.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

John Fielding - Breeding Champions

John Fielding is a breeder and owner of both Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds and has had great success with both breeds. His two year old TB filly Rushing Fall just won the Breeders Cup Juvenile Filly one week after his co-owned two year old trotting filly Manchego won the Breeders Crown for standardbreds. While they are breeds apart their pedigrees share a common pattern, the Double/Double.
He also co-owns the TB colt Catholic Boy who was fourth in the Breeders Cup Turf and a former Hambletonian winner in Pinkman. They too have the double/double pattern that has produced so many of the best in standardbreds and now, thanks to Fielding, is coming into prominence in thoroughbred breeding too, an approach that goes against the establishment thinking in T-breds that minimizes inbreeding of any kind. The double/double is based on maternal inbreeding.

View previous blog article on the Double/Double for more information on what to look for.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

World Champion Hannelore Hanover - Another Double / Double

Hannelore Hanover became the fastest female trotter in history winning in 1.49.2 over the Red Mile at Lexington. Her success is no surprise to those who recognize the Double / Double pattern in her pedigree.

My earlier post on this pedigree pattern featured another World Champion in Always B Micki and an explanation of how the pattern can be identified.

In the case of Hannelore Hanover it is the multiple lines through Speedy Crown, combined with duplicated lines through Super Bowl and Arnie Almahurst that create the double/double return of sire lines from the dam to the sire Swan For All.

Hannelore Hanover was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms who seem to make a point of breeding at least one mare to new stallions in other jurisdictions and have several times produced what turned out to be one of the best such as Reverend Hanover by Sportswriter and now this great filly by Swan For All.

Swan For All was bred by Dr Paul Spears and Windsong Stable. Now a senior executive of Hanover Shoe Farms I'm sure he had a direct say in which mare in the Hanover band should be bred to Swan For All. He has, after all, been to Pedigree Camp several times and has an appreciation for the "Return to the Sire" breeding strategy.

The dam of Swan For All in closely linebred to Baltic Speed, sire of Valley Victory and a grandson of Speedy Crown. Typically such sires will succeed best with mares that have Speedy Crown doubled up in their own pedigree and such is the case for High Sobriety by Dream Vacation with dams by Valley Victory and Royal Prestige (Speedy Crown) maternally. That is a typical case of "Return to the sire the best blood of his dam". The double/double occurs when we look at the maternal lines of Andover Hall, sire of Swan For All and find Arnie Almahurst (Arndon) and Super Bowl lines which are the other two principal lines in High Sobriety whose sire goes to Arndon and whose second dam is by a son of Super Bowl.

Hannelore Hanover, for those of you familiar with the x-factor mare Margaret Parrish, is a multiple double to that special mare since Dream Vacation's dam is a double Margaret Parish as is the second dam of Swan For All.

It is fitting indeed that this special mare was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms, arguably the top standardbred nursery in the world, and from a maternal line that extends to Miss Bertha Dillon, the foundation mare in their broodmare band when Hanover Shoe Farms was founded in the mid 1920's. She produced Miss Bertha Hanover and several full sisters that make the maternal family of Medio one of the top maternal families worldwide.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Visit by Nikolaus Matzka of Austria

Here is an article by Nikolaus Matzka on his visit to Prince Edward island. Please forgive his English but I am sure you will get the drift of his story.