Sunday, December 19, 2010

Muscle Massive

Muscle Massive won the Hambletonian, earning $1,179,105 and taking a record of 1:51. He faced some serious competition in the three year old ranks with Break The Bank K, Lucky Chucky and Wishing Stone all taking his measure later in the season.

His full brother Muscle Mass is standing in Ontario and was well received with a full book. His pedigree is a high percentage cross being by Muscles Yankee out of a Pine Chip mare, a cross that is 26.9% in producing $100K winners. He is outcrossed on sire line with no common individual inside the sixth generation on his sire or broodmare sire line and is double inbred 3x4 and 3x5 maternally to Speedy Crown. His dam, Graceful Touch, is inbred to Speedy Somolli 3x4 maternally.

Muscle Massive’s principal sire lines maternally are Pine Chip, grandson of Arnie Almahurst, and Valley Victory, grandson of Speedy Somolli, making mares that carry this combination a priority for his success. Mares with sons of these two sires would also be prime prospects. Such sires can also be expected to do well with mares that have Speedy Crown doubled in their pedigrees or have no Speedy Crown at all.

There are several sires already producing that have similar maternal lines, including Glidemaster, Cjs Secret, Master Lavec and Valley Victor.

Glidemaster had a spotty first crop that was redeemed somewhat with Blue Porche’s Breeders Crown win and the early success of Not Nice. Glidemaster’s dam is by a son of Speedy Somolli, second dam by Florida Pro, a son of Arnie Almahurst. Blue Porche was from a mare by Garland Lobell. That sire has a Speedy Crown dam. The second dam was by Valley Victory, grandson of Speedy Somolli, and third dam by Homesick, a son of Speedy Crown. Not Nice was from a mare by a son of Speedy Crown with a second dam by Arndon, sire of Pine Chip. Both performers fit the profile of Glidemaster and the likely profile for Muscle Massive.

Cjs Secret is Speedy Crown-Florida Pro maternally. His best performer is Brandons Secret from a mare that combines Dakota Spur (Speedy Somolli) and Defiant Yankee (Speedy Crown).

Master Lavec is Speed In Action – Arnie Almahurst maternally. His best is Master Pine whose maternal succession is Pine Chip (Arndon) – Bonefish – Speedy Crown.

Valley Victor is line bred maternally to Arnie Almahurst and his top four have no Speedy Crown maternally.

A broodmare sire that would be excellent for Muscle Massive would be Dream Vacation (Pine Chip-Valley Victory) as well as Chip Chip Hooray and Enjoy Lavec.

In summary look for mares that are non Speedster line that have double Speedy Crown lines maternally or no Speedy Crown lines at all. Also consider mares that have combinations of Valley Victory and Arnie Almahurst lines.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Maternal Families

It is now 25 years since Sidney Lerner published his study in Hoofbeats of the relationship between the top two year olds of 1984-85 and their maternal families. He found that over 80 % of the best two year olds in North America traced back to one of the top 40 families from the 1,334 taproot mares then recognized.

A look at the current two year old crop shows that little has changed. Lerners top 40 families are responsible for 34 (83%) of the top 40 pacers and 32 (80%) of the top 40 trotters in 2010.

The leading families include

Medio with 10; Mambrino Beauty and Sally Sovereign 6 each; Minnehaha, Jessie Pepper, Lizzie Witherspoon, Mamie and Miss Duval with 4 each,; Midnight with 3; Miss Copeland, Jane Hunt each with 2; and Esther and Jane Hunt with 1 apiece. This group , which constituted Lerner's 13 member Group 1, totals 48 (60%) of the top 80 two year olds in my own survey. The top two families in Group 2, Ab and Dolly B contributed 4 more to that total.

Needless to say this information is not widely known since shortly after Lerner's publication the maternal family information was dropped from major sales catalogues. These days what is not on the catalogue page may be more important than what is.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Free Pedigree Matching Globetrotter Program

The Pedigree Matching Globetrotter program is now available free (previously $195) to any annual subscriber to the Pedigree Guru website. You can download the Globetrotter program from the website. The link is on the Globetrotter - Products page along with the instructions. As an extra bonus you can subscribe to PedigreeGuru for two years for the price of one year($200) between now and Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas to all

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Crys Dream

One of the best two year old trotting fillies this year is Crys Dream with a pedigree that is far from fashionable. It does, however, have a lot of merit. Her sire is Taurus Dream who was bred and stood in Quebec and the dam, Crystas Image, is a Canadian bred daughter of Balanced Image.

Like a lot of good fillies Crys Dream is a double to Margaret Parrish through Rodney. Her second dam is also a double to Margaret Parrish through the same source. The maternal line has a succession of mares that are inbred maternally. Crys Dream is inbred to Speedy Crown, Crystas Image is inbred to Speedster and Stars Pride, Crown Crysta in addition to her double to Margaret Parrish through Rodney is also inbred to Stars Pride. The fourth dam is inbred to Rodney and Volomite, the fifth dam to Volomite and Darnley, the sixth dam to Peter Volo and Guy Axworthy and so on. This continued sequence of maternal inbreediong through several generations is a feature of many great pedigrees including Moni Maker who goes back ten generations in this fashion.

Taurus Dream has a second dam that was Quebec sired from an imported French mare called Nevadara who also has an interesting pedigree with lots to offer maternally. She was by Caprior, a descendant of The Great McKinney, an American sire that was exported to France in the 1920's and is known primarily for his two sons, the full brothers Ogaden and Kairos. These two are key figures in French maternal lines through their daughters. Caprior's maternal line goes through the English thorobred mare Gladys, another key maternal influence in France.

Nevadara's dam , Fenaison, is line bred to Sam Williams, another US sire that went to France in the 1920's but she is also inbred maternally to Loudeac whose dam Bonne Fortune is another important figure in French maternal lines.

The maternal family of Taurus Dream is not French however since it goes back through an American bred mare called Lady Stately, foaled in 1904 and subsequently exported to France. She is of interest because her dam carries a sibling cross to Miss Russell through her sons Mambrino Russell and Nutwood, the latter being the sire of the dam of Margaret Parrish.

The mastermind behind the pedigree of Crys Dream is the famous French breeder Jean Pierre Dubois, who operates in North America under the Dream With Me stable name and his farm name of Reve Avec Moi now located in Kentucky.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Globetrotter Update

An update to the Globetrotter database is now available. The instructions for downloading are here at

The update contains North American performance data for two and three year olds.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Database Update

An update to the database is now available. It contains an update of top European horses as well as all of the 2010 yearlings. The yearlings are flagged in the database by sale under the Optional Field #1. To date the yearlings for the following sales are flagged with the sale designation as follows:

N - New Jersey
C - Canadian Open
F - Forest City
I - Illinois

In addition the consignments by principal breeders to Harrisburg (H) and Lexington (L) have been noted. A further update will be available by the end of August with the full sale rosters for both of these sales.

To access the list for any sale go to the Horse tab and select Advanced Search. Click on the down arrow next to Horse and choose User defined 1 and enter the sale designation e.g. N for New Jersey, then click Add then Search.

Recommendations for purchase from the various sales are available in the form of lists rated on the basis of pedigree and prioritized on the basis of speed and earnings in the family. Contact me for pricing.

The top rated trotter in our rankings for the foals of 2007 was Muscle Massive, winner of the Hambletonian. The top rated pacer was Rock N Roll Heaven

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Two Year Old Winners

This is always an exciting time of year as the first two year old winners come along. It is an opportunity to see if your picks from last years yearling sales are proving out as well as finding out if the best, including the homebreds, are "matched". Based on the top two year olds, colt or filly, trot or pace, it looks like so far so good.

The top winner to date is the homebred Modern Connection by Ontario sire Modern Art from a mare by Cambest. This pacing filly has just what it takes for success by Modern Art. That sire, like other sires with No Nukes dams, can be expected to favour mares with a Volomite line maternally. In this case there are two, one through the dam of Cambest and another through her second dam by Direct Scooter. Modern Art has a double Meadow Skipper dam and that connects well here too since the third dam is by Meadow Skipper making the filly a double to both Most Happy Fella and Meadow Skipper maternally. She is also a double to Helen Hanover and an outcross on sire line. .

The top pacing colt to date is Wink N Atcha by Dragon Again from an Artsplace mare. This is an outcross on sire line and inbred to both Abercrombie and Most Happy Fella. The dam is inbred to both Meadow Skipper and Good Time.

Jezzy, by Credit Winner from the great Muscles Yankee mare Ladylind, leads the filly trotters to date. Like a lot of the best fillies she is inbred maternally to Margaret Parrish, as is her dam. She too is outcrossed on sire line while being inbred maternally to Speedy Crown and Stars Pride. Speedy Crown is also doubled up maternally in the filly's dam in addition to Noble Victory. A classic recipe for top performance as was the case for Ladylind.

The highest earning trot colt so far is Leader Of The Gang by Muscles Yankee from a mare by Angus Hall. The colt is a great fit to the profile of Muscles Yankee who has done very well with mares that have no Speedy Crown maternally. This is a typical situation for other sires with Speedy Crown dams as well as Muscles Yankee. The colt is, needless to say, outcrossed on sire line and is double inbred to Noble Victory. The dam has a typical good Angus Hall pedigree that is inbred maternally to both Arnie Almahurst and Super Bowl. The second, third and fourth dams are all doubles to Margaret Parrish so there was plenty of buildup of maternal strength to produce something special.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Burlington

The top three year old pacers will prep for the North America Cup with the Burlington which races in three divisions for $100,000.

Based on pedigree the top horses should be

First Division

1. Malicious 2. Sportswriter 3. Dr Dreamy

Second Division

1. Rocknroll Heaven 2.Rock Me Please 3. Ideal Matters

Third Division

1 Woodstock 2 Keystone Raptor 3 Mcaracas 4 Warrawee Legend

What do you think ?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Break The Bank K

“I watched him race last year and I was stunned by his speed,” Smedshammer said. “I said last year to a few people jokingly that if I could pick one horse out of that group [of two-year-old trotters], he would be the one I wanted to pick because of his breeding and his size and his speed. I was thrilled, absolutely thrilled, to get this horse. He’s got the potential to be the best if he minds his manners.”

That is pretty high praise for a colt by Revenue considering that the sire has been only modestly successful to date. Of his 150 foals 3 years and older he has 85 to the races and just 7 with earnings of over $100K. Despite this slow start Revenue could well be the sire of the next great American super sire if Break The Bank K lives up to Smedshammer's expectations. The colt's first start this year was a winning one in the NJSS. The winning time of 1:56.3 tells only half the tale since Break The Bank K trotted his last half in 55.1 and last quarter in 27 seconds in winning. There are not many aged trotters with that kind of speed.

A look at his pedigree explains why. The expected profile for Revenue S was for Speedster line dams or Stars Pride line dams with a second dam by Speedy Crown or a son. The actual profile after his first two crops have raced is right on the mark. (see attached) . Break The Bank K falls into the second profile category being out of an American Winner dam with a second dam by Crowning Point, a son of Speedy Crown. The dam in fact is inbred to Speedy Crown. His maternal line is inbred maternally for 11 consecutive generations.

Revenue S has a French bred sire but his dam has all American bloodlines combining Sugarcane Hanover (Florida Pro) with Lindys Pride (Stars Pride). That makes Break The Bank K an outcross on sire line and inbred maternally to both Florida Pro and Stars Pride. The match is a Scenario #3 match where we ignore the two Speedy Crown lines in the dam and match to the two other major maternal lines of the first and third dams.

What makes Break The Bank K so interesting is that he presents a perfect opportunity for virtually every broodmare in North America as a potential sire. His sire line being French automatically makes him an outcross sire. His maternal lines contain the two key individuals in North American breeding, Speedy Crown and Super Bowl. Profile of Revenue S Pedigree of Break The Bank K

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Breeding Statistics

Based on the statistics on the Standardbred Canada site there is a disturbing and growing trend in the breeding business and it is not all good.

In Canada the number of active stallions has dropped from 412 in 2006 to 259 in 2009. That is a 37% drop with most of that (25%) happening from 2008 to 2009. Based on the active stallions this year the trend has continued to accelerate especially due to the Quebec situation. In North America the overall drop has been 30% with 17% of the drop occuring from 2008 to 2009.

The number of broodmares in North America has shown a similar but not as severe a decline down from 21780 in 2006 to 17388 in 2009, a drop of 21% - 25% in Canada.

If anything the stats for 2010 will be even worse. I know when we held our mixed sale last fall you could not give a broodmare away.

I just finished adding in the yearlings, foals of 2009 to our database and they totalled just over 8500 for North America, that is a little less than 50% foaling rate based on the active broodmares for 2009. Not a very good statistic either. That is a 2000 plus drop from the yearlings in 2008 which matches the drop in broodmares from 2008 to 2009.

There will likely be just as many for sale this year as last year given the state of the economy but what does the future hold ?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Name Please

Sometime during the night, in a field on PEI, Lucky Hare gave birth to a colt by Hussy Chaser. I am now the proud owner of this very special colt. The dam is a three quarter sister to Camluck that I got from Prince Lee Acres, home of Camluck. She has been a hard luck mare bred to the wrong sires but this one by my old favorite Hussy Chaser just may make up for lost time.

For those of you who have not read the story of Hussy Chaser, he was a $1500 colt that I bought as a yearling that went on to become a $520,000 lifetime winner. When he retired I brought him back to PEI and bred him to four mares. All were pronounced in foal early but for some reason Lucky Hare was the only one to produce a foal.

Now I need a name for this future North American Champion. I have a few choices such as Huch or I Gotcha or Im Gonna Getcha. I'm sure you can come up with something better.

The pedigree is attached

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Elitlopp

Next Sunday will see The Elitlopp contested in Sweden. Labelled by Dean Hoffman as one of the top four racing "spectacles" in the Northern hemisphere, alongside the Prix D'Ete, the Little Brown Jug and our own Gold Cup And Saucer on PEI, the race features some of the best trotters in Europe and usually one or more from North America. This year there are three entries invited from each of Germany, France, Italy and North America competing against four from Sweden.

I had an email from someone in Sweden who wanted to know why the European horses were not as good as the North American ones - was it due to what he called second class stallions ? I replied that it has as much to do with how the bloodlines were matched as with the quality of the bloodlines. In Europe there is a tendency to outcross to the point of having as few common individuals across the pedigree either paternally or maternally. Historically this has produced some spectacular horses but the percentage of top performers to mares bred is actually quite low. This lack of consistency contrasts with success rates in North America which reflect a higher degree of inbreeding, particularily on the maternal side.

The Elitlopp entries this year, as is usually the case, are a mixed bag with repect to pedigree. Some are strongly influenced by current North American bloodlines, while others, primarily from Sweden and Germany, show maternal families that have developed regionally, albeit from primarily North American ancestors early in the nineteenth century.

Here are the entries in the two eliminations.

Elimination #1

Nu Pagadi (Germany) by the French sire Love You, a son of Coktail Jet. He is inbred to Speedy Crown maternally since his dam is by a son of Speedy Crown. His second dam is German , third dam is Dutch, and the rest of the maternal line is North American.

Copper Beech (Germany) is by Como, a son of the top German sire Diamond Way. His dam is by the Danish sire Dirigenten, second dam by a son of Stars Pride, third dam is German bred, fourth dam is Austrian, There is no Speedy Crown maternally.

Quarcio Du Chene (France) is by Capriccio, a son of the great Italian bred Sharif di Iesolo, has a Speedy Crown line dam through Workaholic, and his maternal line is entirely French.

Lavec Kronos (Italy) also mixes French and North American bloodlines except this time the dam is French bred while the second dam is by Speedy Crown and the rest of the maternal line purely North American. He is inbred maternally to Speedy Crown 3x3.

Ilaria Jet (Italy) is a typical North American style pedigree being by Pine Chip from a Speedy Crown line dam. One of three mares in the race she is inbred to Speedy Somolli 3x3 and her dam is a double to Margaret Parrish.

Nimrod Borealis (France) is by the French sire Arnaqueur and from an entirely French bred mare except for her maternal family of Lancastre, a mare by the Morgan sire Franck Allyson, imported into France in the 1870's. Nimrod Borealis has no Speedy Crown anywhere in his pedigree.

Lucky Jim (North America) is by S Js Photo from a dam who is double to Margaret Parrish and has a Speedy Crown second dam.

Triton Sund (Sweden) is by that country's top sire, Viking Kronos, a son of American Winner. This entry also has no Speedy Crown maternally on the dam side.

Elimination #2

Torvald Palema (Sweden) is by Alf Palema, historically one of the top sires in Sweden,. He is one of only two line breds in the event since he is bred 4x4 to Speedy Scot. He is also inbred maternally to the same sire 4x4 as well as to Stars Pride 4x4. Again there is no Speedy Crown maternally.

Enough Talk (North America) is by Enjoy Lavec, and like Lavec Kronos is inbred maternally to Speedy Crown.

Oyonnax (France) was the longshot winner of this year's Prix d'Amerique. His sire is a son of Coktail Jet and Oyonnax maternal line shows no Speedy Crown but features a third dam by the great broodmare sire Florestan and a maternal family that starts with the North American import Lady Pierce, a daughter of American Clay.

Beanie M M (Sweden) is by another of Swedens past top sires in Super Arnie and from a mare by Tibur, an exceptional broodmare sire born in France. Again there is no Speedy Crown maternally.

Define The World (North America) is the lone Canadian entry but one of the likely favorites. By Duke Of York, a son of Balanced Image, he is inbred maternally to Speedy Crown and is from the maternal line of Margaret Parrish.

Lisa America (Italy) is a mare I know well since she is owned by Lou Guida and I had a hand in selecting the sire for the dam Zagabria Dei that produced this exceptional mare. Varenne was the choice based on the 3x3 maternal inbreeding to Speedy Crown and the double to Margaret Parrish both across the pedigree and in Zagabria Dei. We were hoping for a filly and luck was on Lou's side particularily since it was my feeling that Varenne would be a much better sire of fillies. Another feature of the match that former Pedigree Campers will notice is the "flavour of the day" cross to Speedy Somolli from a son to a daughter as was the case for Zagabria Dei as well.

Brioni (Germany) is by yet another son of Coktail Jet in Timberland. Like Torvald Palema the match is double inbred to Speedy Scot and Stars Pride maternally and in this case there is no Speedy Crown anywhere in the pedigree.

Iceland (Sweden) is by the Hambletonian winner Scarlet Night, a son of Pine Chip. Speedy Crown is doubled maternally 3x3 in this match.

So there are the entries. Trying to pick a winner from such a mixed group based on pedigree is probably a bit foolish since they are all well qualified as racehorses and as Marg Neale used to say " Once they are on the race track the pedigree does not matter". However, being a fan of Speedy Crown in maternal lines I am going to predict that most of the finalists and perhaps all of them will come from horses showing Speedy Crown. So here are my predictions.

1. Define The World

2. Lisa America

3. Lucky Jim

4. Ilaria Jet

5. Lavec Kronos

6. Iceland

7. Enough Talk

8. Quarcio du Chene

9. Nu Pagadi

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Molson Pace

The Molson Pace raced in London at the Western Fair half miler has drawn an impressive list of 22 entries. A quick look at the pedigrees shows that 19 of the entries are outcrossed on sire line. There are three line bred Most Happy Fella entries including Bay Of Sharks, 3x4 to MHF by Cams Card Shark. He does, however, have the requisite maternal line for successful horses by sons of Cam Fella with a second dam by Meadow Skipper and third dam by Bret Hanover. Won The West is another MHF linebred, this time 4x4 but he also has a correct maternal double to both Albatross and Good Time to offset, correct enough to make him the richest earner in the field.

Foiled Again, the winner of the Levy is the likely favorite since he has dominated over half mile ovals. He races in a division that includes Hypnotic Blue Chip, a classic Scenario 3 match to a son of Artsplace and the likely runner up in that division. Chasin Racin, with a maternal double to Albatross is also a factor in here. Also in this division is Wholly Louy, a son of Camluck whose full brother Legal Litigator races in one of the other divisions.

Legal Litigator is in against Southwind Lynx, a winner of over $1.5 million, the likely favourite as well as the well bred Stonebridge Terror who should be second best in here.

Won The West heads the third division but will be hard pressed to beat Bigtime Ball, a son of Presidential Ball, and a millionaire half brother to Invitro who won over $2 million. Third place will likely go to Blueridge Western, a millionaire winner with a very correct pedigree.

A very nice group of pacers that includes six millionaires and seven others with over $500K made. No doubt the cream will rise to the top as usual and the final, based on pedigree, should have Foiled Again, Bigtime Ball, Won The West, Southwind Lynx, Blueridge Western, Stonebridge Terror, Hypnotic Blue Chip and Chasin Racin in the mix. Longshot with a chance is the outmatched Primary Purpose.

Take your pick.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Berrys Creek at The Meadowlands

The Berrys Creek at The Meadowlands is the first big three year old stake in North America each year and usually features some of the top candidates for year end honours. This year's edition, however, sees several colts that were minor players last year among the contenders.

Favorite Rock N Roll Heaven was beaten in his elimination by lightly raced Kyle Major. In addition to these two, both with the kind of pedigrees I like, there are four others to watch out for, based on pedigree, including Fred And Ginger, the full brother to millionaire filly Ginger And Fred, two Peter Pan products Europan Union and Pang Shui, both by No Pan Intended from Matts Scooter mares, and Foreign Officer by Western Ideal from a mare by Artsplace.

Take a look at their pedigrees and see if you can find the winner.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pedigree Camp

We still have room for you at Pedigree Camp. Im pleased to announce that Paul Spears from Hanover will be back - for his fifth year in a row. We also have Bob Ladouceur of St Lads Farm returning - he was at our first Camp. Among the newbies are the ladies behind Highland Farms in Ontario, and a stockbroker from Alberta, Dr Doug Hutchins is bringing along his partner in owning horses, a veterinarian from New York and there are several other returnees including Betsey Kelley making her third trip from Maine where she has had a successful year with her stallion Musclini.

This will be the last Pedigree Camp on PEI since we seem to have gone through all of our principal local breeders at least once and the PEI Colt Stakes will cease their sponsorship accordingly this year. If you can't make it to Camp this year you can always ask your area breeders organization to consider putting a weekend on locally. Have Camp - Will Travel will be the future M O.

Applications for Pedigree Camp can be found on our website at

For those of you currently registered, while the formalities don't start till Friday evening, Dr Doug and I will be playing golf at Eagles Glenn on Friday morning. If anyone wants to join us let me know. Perhaps we can have a little two-person Texas scramble competition to whet our appetites for the lobster dinner.

Friday, April 23, 2010

First Crop of Tell All

There are 82 yearlings by first crop sire Tell All. Almost one third of them are from mares by Abercrombie line sires making them line bred to Abercrombie usually 3x3 or 4x3 with broodmare sires by Artsplace and his sons as well as by other Abercrombie sons even including Life Sign, grandsire of Tell All.

Normally I would not give this type of yearling a second look despite the quality of the mares. Statistically you can show that line breeding is a much less attractive proposition than outcrossing on sire line - about 4 to 1 in favour of the latter when it comes to producing top performers. That being said, however, there is some hope when the maternal connections are strong enough. Several of the Artsplace mares are from the maternal family of Golden Miss, as is Tell All, and usually they have Jate Lobell or No Nukes second dams with Albatross next in line. In theory they should be attractive prospects and the fillies especially should be looked at closely.

One that really caught my eye is To Tell The Truth from the Artsplace mare Living With Art. The maternal lines combine three of the best modern maternal families in K Nora, Lady Kacne and Golden Miss as well as No Nukes and Albatross doubled across the pedigree.

There are in fact eighteen others that have maternal doubles to Golden Miss and again the fillies are certainly worth a second look.

A very interesting group of yearlings that are, for the most part, strongly inbred maternally. The question is will the Abercrombie line breds be among the better ones.?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

First Crop Sires

There are not that many first crop sires this year but there are several high profile ones. Donato Hanover will likely create the most buzz at the yearling sales for the trotting enthusiasts while Tell All appears to be the pacing sire of greatest interest. Others include the pacers Lis Mara in Ontario and Kenneth J in New York, and the trotting star Majestic Son in Ontario (although he has a pacing maternal line from the third dam down.)

I am always interested in what Hanover Shoe Farms does and particularily since Paul Spears is now involved in the sire selection process. Paul has been a great supporter of Pedigree Camp having attended all four years to date. It appears that some of that experience is rubbing off on the Hanover breedings.

I have not looked at all of the Donato Hanover yearlings yet but the ones bearing the Hanover name are from some very special mares, as it should be. Among the best that I can see so far are the following:

Aerodonato Hanover, colt from Aurora Hall

Donato Hanover is Donerail (Valley Victory) and Giant Victory (Super Bowl) maternally so you should expect that Valley Victory - Super Bowl combinations in the mares would be a large part of his success. This is a classic case since the dam is by Self Possessed from a mare by American Winner. The dam is also a double to Margaret Parrish

Bernice G Hanover is a very special filly since she is a double to Margaret Parrish as is her dam Batbreaker (Muscles Yankee).

Sari Maki Hanover from Likeavirgin Lindy is a similar filly with a double to MP and a dam that is also a double MP. She is my favorite so far being out of a mare by Like A Prayer whose sire is a son of Valley Victory and whose dam is by Super Bowl. The match is also a strong outmatch to the dominant Speedy Crown lines in Donato Hanover.

Tell All is by the Abercrombie line sire Real Desire and his maternal lines are Albatross - Jate Lobell. Western Hanover mares make a lot of sense here and one that is outstanding is a filly called Intelligence from Western Wisdom, a full sister to the millionaires Western Terror and If I Can Dream.

Lis Mara will be an interesting sire to follow. Will he dodge the bullet that comes from being a son of Cambest ? Or will he follow Cammibest and Camotion into early obscurity ? With a colt from Barbys Makentrax called Basque Hanover it looks like he might have a chance with his first crop.

The 2010 yearlings should be available shortly in both PedigreeGuru and Globetrotter

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Stallion Information

Finding out what stallions are standing and where can be a frustrating chore whether you are looking in North America or most other countries where standardbred breeding is conducted. In North America it is only in the past two years that the registries in the U S and in Canada have made any attempt to provide such information. I can take some credit for their efforts since I have badgered them both about providing this very necessary service.

The USTA has recently added some functionality to their listings by including some additional data for their STARS list, which consists of stallions belonging to farms that have paid them for the priviledge. The "A" list totals a little over 100 of the 700+ stallions in service in North America. They also have a basic list of other stallions in the United States with minimal information and some notable errors and exceptions. No listing of any stallions from Maine or Michigan for instance, and according to the USTA No Pan Intended still stands in the US not at Tara Hills in Canada, and Pro Bono Best, who left last fall for the UK is, according to the USTA list, still in Indiana.

Standardbred Canada's efforts are similarily inconsistent and incomplete. Their stallion list gives little more than the stallion name, contact information and fee. Stallion owners can submit this information themselves but if they want any extras such as a hypothetical mating function it costs extra. There are no stallion stats, no stallion pedigree or any other data available other than what you can get through their "pay per view" Trackit service. The USTA at least gives the top ten performers of their "A" list stallions as well as pedigree information and the option of a photo of the sire.

It seems to me that stallion information, presented in a consistent and comprehensive manner is an essential service to the breeders that both organizations purport to serve.

Some states and provinces publish stallion guides and the best ones that I have seen are Maine and Ontario although both have the disadvantage of coming out well into the season due to nomination deadlines and print delays.

Internationally the best stallion directory available is likely the French "Annuaire des Etalons", with full colour pictures, some quite spectacular, and comprehensive information on both the stallion and the farm. Some countries have online directories such as Denmark, and Australia, like Canada, offers a complete list of all stallions, but in contrast gives you much more detail on a click thru basis.

Since its inception in 2003 the PedigreeGuru website has contained a stallion and farm database which I update annually for the dozen or so countries from which I can get information. The information available to me is, as you can imagine, inconsistent and full of errors and ommissions despite being provided for the most part by the breed organizations themselves.

If you have a stallion directory for your country, state or province I would appreciate getting a copy or the online link to the information.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Urge To Spurge by Cash Hall

In an interview with Bob MacIntosh on The Harness Edge , the former trainer of World Record holder Cash Hall made quite a statement. He claimed that a colt he is training by Cash Hall called Cash On Delivery, bred and owned by Bob and the CSX Stable, is the best trotter he ever trained. A look at the pedigree shows why.

The colt is inbred maternally 3x3 to Super Bowl and also inbred to Speedy Crown maternally 4x4. His dam, Direct Dial, is a daughter of Dial Nial by Super Bowl who is a double to Margaret Parrish and has a second dam called Dancing Demon who herself is a double to Margaret Parrish through one of her daughters Foster Child. Dial Nile is already the dam of Text Me, one of the top two year olds in Canada last season.

Bob has an even more interesting prospect for next year as he has a filly by Cash Hall called Urge To Splurge that is from Dial Nile making her a 3x2 X-factor cross to Super Bowl.

2010 Pedigree Camp

The registration deadline for this year’s Standardbred Pedigree Camp is fast approaching. May 1st is the due date for signing up for this year’s event, which will again take place in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and is slated for the second weekend in June. The Pedigree Camp begins Friday June 11th with a welcome social and lobster dinner at the Inn On The Hill. The agenda for registrants also includes weekend sessions on Stallion and Broodmare selection, and Yearling evaluation. Norman Hall of Pedigree Matching and the Globetrotter pedigree program will host the sessions.

Registration and program information are contained in the January blog entry named Pedigree Camp Registration.

Already signed up for this year are several returnees from previous Pedigree Camps as well as new registrants from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maine, Illinois and Canada. Island breeders will also be in attendance as a number of seminar seats will again be sponsored at a reduced rate by the PEI Colt Stakes. Early registration is recommended due to the limited number of seats available.

There will also be time for play including a visit to the races at the Charlottetown Driving Park Entertainment Centre, a traditional Island Lobster dinner, optional visits to Island breeding farms, and all the delights offered by the Garden Of The Gulf, Prince Edward Island. To book your spot or for further information call Norman Hall at 902-367-3495 or email to

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Speedy Somolli versus Florestan

The entries for the Prix D'Amerique have been declared. Eighteen horses will go to the post in search of winning the most prestigious race for trotters in Europe. Will the winner have Speedy Somolli in his/her pedigree or Florestan. Here are the entries

1. Quaker Jet
2. Oasis Gede
3. Paris Haufor
4. Rolling d'Heripe
5. Quarla
6. Oyonnax
7. Return Money
8. Orlando Sport
9. Perlando
10. Ghiaccio del Nord
11. Premiere Speed
12. Ready Cash
13. Russel November
14. Nouba du Saptel
15. Olga du Biwetz
16. One du Rib
15. Opal Viking
16. Meaulnes du Corta

Post positions in French racing are determined by the earnings so last year's winner, Meaulnes du Corta draws the outside post with his highest earnings status. Since this is not a mobile start and is at a distance greater than a mile then the post is not really a factor. The Prix typically sees horses three wide and sitting, satisfied to be in a position to move around rather than getting locked in.

Meaulnes du Corta has a dam by Florestan but this year he meets a formidable rival in the speedy Ready Cash, the only horse in the field to have Florestan on both sides of his pedigree, 4x4 maternally in fact. His sire, Indy de Vie has a second dam by Florestan and third dam by Seddouk while his dam has a grandsire by Florestan whose dam is also by Seddouk.

Leaving on the rail is Quaker Jet who figures to be a rank longshot but , like Ready Cash, has a 4x4 maternal cross, in this case to Speedy Somolli not Florestan. His sire has a second dam by Speedy Somolli while his third dam is by a son of Speedy Somolli. Adding to the intrigue is a sibling cross 2x2 of Coktail Jet to his sister Delmonica Jet.

One of the favorites will be Opal Viking whose sire is out of a mare by Speedy Somolli and his dam is by a full brother to Speedy Somolli. Remember Cr Kay Suzie ?

There are a couple of others to consider. Oyonnax has a third dam by Florestan and his sire has a dam by Speedy Somolli, and Nouba du Saptel's dam is by Florestan. That gives us seven horses in the field to consider based on Rainer Engelkes predictions of the importance of Speedy Somolli and Florestan.

Who do you think will win ? My own prediction is

1. Ready Cash
2. Meaulnes du Corta
3, Quaker Jet
4. Nouba du Saptel
5. Oyonnax

The race goes Sunday around noon Eastern time.

First Year Pacing Stallions

There are two interesting new stallions that will serve their first books this year both in North America and in Australia/New Zealand.

Mister Big

This is a unique horse in more ways than one. An outstanding race horse he certainly was and his chances of carrying his success into his stallion career are excellent since his maternal pedigree allows him to connect to the principal sire lines of today.

The first priority is to find mares that fit Mister Big’s maternal lines of Jate Lobell and Cam Fella in particular. Having a dam that is line bred through Most Happy Fella is another of his unique characteristics since there is no other stallion currently standing that is bred that way. There are several that have double Meadow Skipper dams i.e. first and second dams both go through Meadow Skipper, but they all have one of those dams go through a son of Meadow Skipper other than Most Happy Fella.

A review of the sires which are similar in pedigree, although not exactly the same, shows that Real Desire is the best model for success for a sire such as Mister Big. Like Mister Big, Real Desire is by an Abercrombie line sire, albeit through Life Sign, not Artsplace. Real Desire’s maternal lines are Troublemaker (Most Happy Fella) and Trenton (Meadow Skipper). His profile shows, like all of the other sires with double Meadow Skipper dams, a preference for mares that are also double Meadow Skipper. In fact of his top 16 performers there are 12 that are bred this way including his top 4. The remaining four are from non Meadow Skipper line dams that have a second dam through Most Happy Fella and three of those have a broodmare sire with a dam by Meadow Skipper or Albatross.

Many of the mares that have been successful with Real Desire are in fact very good matches to Mister Big including the dams of Tell All, Carnivore and Cabana Fever to name a few.

Being an Abercrombie line sire he is unlikely to have consistent success with mares of the same sire line but there will be exceptions. It is not, however, a high percentage play.

His dam is by Jate Lobell and that brings into play the many broodmares with No Nukes sire lines including those by Western Hanover and his sons. Mister Big’s second dam is by Cam Fella which makes mares by Camluck, Cams Card Shark etc., especially those that carry the No Nukes line, high priorities as well.

Cams Card Shark and No Nukes was a very good cross and a mare like Card Trick Hanover would be ideal as would a Camluck mare such as Chancey Lady or Remember When, both with No Nukes maternally, the latter through Jate Lobell.

The sire profile for the group of sires that Mister Big belongs to is as follows:

Double Meadow Skipper line dams with the exception of dams with a Meadow Skipper, a son, or an Albatross line 2nd dam or dams with no Meadow Skipper maternally.

In summary I would look primarily for mares that are line bred through Meadow Skipper and that carry combinations of Cam Fella, No Nukes and/or Albatross maternally. It would probably be helpful to find mares that have maternal dams by Abercrombie or one of his sons if possible.

Art Director

Like Mister Big, this sire has an unusual maternal combination, in his case it is of Falcon Seelster – Safe Arrival. This combination of an Adios and a Volomite line is shared with only five other active sires including Village Jolt and Western Maverick, the only ones to have foals racing. These others, however, are all Meadow Skipper line sires making Art Official the only Abercrombie line sire in existence with such a maternal package.

Looking at the profiles of Village Jolt and Western Maverick to date there is little to help us since neither sire has really hit with any consistency. As is typical in cases where there is an unusual maternal combination the mares that will work will often throw back to the grandsire rather than the sire. Such was very much the case for Camluck whose maternal lines of Striking Image (Adios line) and Truluck (Knight Dream) were only to be found in Abercrombie mares. That was actually one of his best crosses but the majority of his best returned to the Bret Hanover – Dale Frost combination in the maternal line of Camluck’s sire Cam Fella.

Art Major’s maternal lines are Nihilator (Albatross line) and Big Towner. Albatross and Big Towner have been key factors in the profile of Art Major although neither featured in Art Official’s pedigree. Like many of the great ones his pedigree, similar to that of Somebeachsomewhere, is a strong outcross due to the two Volomite lines he has maternally. This hybridization in a pedigree very often results in something special but is a rare occurrence. You can make use of the Volomite connection, however, by going to Mach Three mares which would give you a direct maternal connection to both Volomite and Adios since Mach Three is by a Volomite line sire out of an Adios line dam. For instance a mare like Mach You And me, who also carries Albatross maternally, would be a good choice while an even better one would be Stabilo.

You should also look for broodmare sires with Volomite line dams such as Rustler Hanover, Rocknroll Hanover, Cambest, Beach Towel, etc. The good mare Draconian Promise would be worthy of an invitation with her second dam by Falcon Seelster. The same applies to Red In The Face, Literacy and several others with similar pedigrees. Perhaps you can convince Shacked Up to retire

Art Official will be a difficult sire to fit to but if you can get enough of the right ones to him the first year then he will have a chance to prove what he really works with.

His prospects in New Zealand and Australia will likely be better because of the influence of the Volomite line sire In The Pocket and his sons at stud providing daughters with the right connections for Art Official. There are also several Albatross line stallions there bred to several different Volomite lines that have produced suitable daughters. Also worth looking for are daughters of Falcon Seelster.

His sire profile is listed as: Non Meadow Skipper line dams except for double Meadow Skipper line dams or Meadow Skipper line dams with a Volomite line 2nd or 3rd dam.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Two-Year-Olds and Yearling Sales

It is always a bit of an eye opener to check out the results of the major Standardbred yearling sales after the end of the two-year-old year and this year is no exception. Lets look at the pacers first that went through the major North American sales in 2008.

To put the stats into context there were about 9500 yearlings in 2008 by new sires or by sires that have produced a significant performer, i.e. a winner of $100,000 or more, in previous years. There were around 5900 pacers in this total and 1,528 of those were entered into the five major sales at Harrisburg (665), Lexington (445), Forest City (150), New Jersey (147) and the Canadian Open (121).

There were just 78 pacing two-year-olds that made over $100,000 in the past year and 51 of those were available for sale, the other 27 being privately held. The ones that sold were split as you might expect, primarily by Harrisburg (25) and Lexington (16). The percentage of $100,000 winners versus the yearlings sold was 3.7% in both cases. There were 8 on the roster in Forest City that made the top performer list for an average of 5.3% on the pacers entered in that sale. There was one each in the New Jersey and Canadian Open sales

What was really interesting were the prices paid for the top performers. The most expensive one was sold in Forest City, a real surprise, at $110,000. He was Code Word by Western Terror and he won $201,090, all of it in Ontario. The cheapest one was also sold in Forest City, that being the filly Bay Girl by Royal Mattjesty, and a filly I had identified on my best in sale list as having a special pedigree. Six of the eight $100K plus winners from the Forest City sale, in fact, sold for $12,000 or less making that sale the bargain hunter’s best venue.

The top ten two-year-old pacers from last year’s sales were Sportswriter, Fancy Filly, Put On A Show, Rock N Roll Heaven, All Speed Hanover, Fbs Terror, Malicious, Western Moonlight and Western Silk and Tiz To Dream. Eight of these were among my sale recommendations as were the 11th and 12th best, Wellthereyougo and Casino Nights.

Another interesting observation is that the good ones did not come predominantly from the early sessions of the sales as most would expect. Despite the practise of the sales companies in putting what they perceive as the best individuals at the front of the sale, there were clearly a lot of people who paid out big money for one of these early selling yearlings that were to say the least disappointed.

Harrisburg had three sessions and their 25 top performers were distributed as follows: Session One 1-380 (11). Session Two 385-759 (7) Session Three 765-1137 (7)

Lexington held five sessions. Session One 1-100 (4), Session Two 101-245 (4), Session Three 246-407 (2), Session Four 408-572 (3) and Session Five 573-824 (3).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Prix d'Amerique

The Prix d'Amerique will race in a couple of weeks time. The starters are not known yet but here is an interesting article from the Prix site about last year's race. I have translated from French but hopefully it reads correctly. I have inserted a few comments in italics.

It’s afternoon at Vincennes, for the greatest race program of the year and Rainer Engelke is the breeder of two horses racing today, Othello Bourbon, and in particular, Qualita Bourbon, in the Prix d”Amerique Marionnaud. Although Rainer Engelke sold his interest in the racemare to Jean-Pierre Dubois last year, the mother of Qualita remains his at his farm in Saint Martin. She is one of only four broodmares there and they are in foal to the likes of Love You, Cezio Josselyn or Goetmals Wood. We met up with Rainer Engelke at Petit Riche, the restaurant located at Drouot Auctioneers, two hours before a major auction of equestrian art. But we were there not to speak about equestrian art, but rather, with twenty fours hours to go till the Prix d’Amerique, to talk about the history of his farm, his business philosophy and methods, and perhaps his secrets.

JDT – How did you get into the breeding business?

Nicolas Roussel said to me one day, “All breeding farms are built upon just one mare.” He made sense. With one mare you can build a great breeding operation. It is rare to have two great mares to start, unless you are Jean-Pierre Dubois, who did have two. As for me, I had Etta Extra by Florestan who has had four major stakes winners. That’s not too bad, is it ?

What was the first mare that you bought ?

My first filly was called Star de Corneville. She was by Jorky. At the time, I knew nothing other than names like Nordin, Verroken and Gougeaon, all top trainers. I watched the first foals of Jorky go through the yearling sales. Ulf Nordin bought lots of Jorkys, and since I knew nothing and thought a lot of Ulf Nordin, I said to my business partner “Lets buy a Jorky”. As a result we bought Star de Corneville for $30,000. We gave her to Ulf to train and he won with her at Vincennes. Afterwards, however, he told us that her racing future was limited. He offered the following advice “I know a man in France. Give her to him and he may be able to do something with her.” That man was Jean-Pierre Dubois. He trained her for two months and then told me “ You will have to make a broodmare out of her, she cannot go enough” I was cheap, you can write it, stingy. I said to my partner I would agree to breed her but not if the cost was expensive. He called me several days later to tell me that there was a stallion that had won the Prix d’Amerique, High Echelon, whose stud fee was $1,600. I said OK, that was not too expensive. The breeding of Star de Corneville to High Echelon produced Best Bourbon (5,1:58.2) in 1989, and he won six stakes events, three in harness and three under saddle. That’s a unique record. But I did not have a farm at the time. I had no intentions at that time of being a breeder.

What was the first broodmare that you bought specifically for breeding?

Her name was Sabriza, a half sister to Passionnant. She was a catastrophe. She produced nothing but donkeys. She was by Tabriz. I didn’t have a chance. Another half sister to Passionnant, Josubie, produced Vikings Way (sire of Jag de Bellouet)! After that I bought a half sister to Uno Atout, by Hadol du Vivier. No good either. Then I bought Ankylotie, a Chambon P mare. That was a good one. She had won both in the sulky and under saddle and made over $160,000. I bought her for $64,000, the sales topper. She gave me five winners then her sixth foal, Roc Bourbon by Love You, he was a major stakes winner at four. She also foaled a filly by Workaholic called My Lady Bourbon, who raced and has produced Showtime Bourbon. Now we have a filly by Love You.

How did you choose your mares?

I did not choose them. I took what was for sale. In France you cannot buy what you want to have. People don’t sell broodmares. In the United States, if you have the money, you can buy anything. In Normandy it is difficult to buy broodmares. You just have to be ready when the opportunity arises.

Tell us the story of Etta Extra.

You want stories ? I went to the farm where she was raised. She was bred by someone from Sweden. The farm was located at Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives and was run by a Swede, Davidsson. I went to see the mare with my wife and while we were walking through the field we found a five cent coin dated 1910. Right there on the ground. I said to my wife “This good luck - We can’t stop now” Actually since I had received the catalogue and saw she was for sale I was not about to wait. I wanted her. I had spent $500,000 to buy my farm and build a house and I didn’t have any horses to put on it. I told myself if I spent $500,000 on the property I would have to spend at least $150,000 on horses to get established.

Thierry Vilault, the day of that same sale at Deauville, bought Enfilade, the dam of Offshore Dream. He said that the reason you did not buy Enfilade was that you had already bought Etta Extra.

That’s true. But things happened a little differently from that. If I had not bought Etta Extra I might have settled for Enfilade. But I did not like Tarass Boulba, sire of Enfilade. To me Florestan against Tarass Boulba was like a Rolls Royce against a bicycle. I did not want a bicycle. For Etta Extra I had a price in mind of $50,000. At $50,500 I began to shake. At $55,000 I kept going and I had her at $70,000. Jean-Pierre Dubois and Pierre-Desire Allaire were the under bidders. She did not go higher because she was not in the best of shape, ugly in fact.

Ugly ? What do you mean. She stood badly, she had a big head ?

What can I say ? She was not pretty. She was not well prepared for sale. They had done nothing to her to get her ready. I knew why because I had been to the farm to see her. It was just the way she was. Anyway the press came to see me to get a picture. I refused. “You paid a lot for that mare” they said. I was so pissed off I told them I would have gone to $170,000 to buy her. That shut them up. And then along came Enfilade who sold for $75,000. She was the sale topper.

Do you regret not having bought both mares ?

If I had bought Enfilade France would never have had Offshore Dream. I would never have bred Enfilade to Reve d’Udon. No, I do not regret it. My mare was twice as good, in my opinion. With the pedigree she had ! Jean-Pierre Dubois always told me : “Florestan as a broodmare sire, just like gold.” As a racehorse he was not that great but I watched the mare Roquepine in New York and never forgot that. At the time you would never have thought that Florestan would become such a great sire. Today he is the best. You have to inbreed to Florestan 3x3. Showtime Bourbon is bred that way. Believe me, in the years to come, you will see many successful horses inbred to Florestan.

Is that what you look for then ?

At every opportunity I try to create that in my breedings. I can’t find it anywhere, it does not exist. Now that I have had several years of breeding experience I can tell you what to do. It is very simple. You have to double up on the best American blood with the best French blood. That is to say double up on Florestan, double up on Speedy Crown, as well as Fandango and Chambon P. Double up in the mare and also with the stallion. If you do that you have a chance to have, from time to time, a good horse. Trotters are hybrids and Mendel, before anyone else, recognized the effect of skip-generation as one of the basic laws of genetics.

That is the accepted path for excellence : the best to the best. But you have preferences, particular things you look for.

As for myself I always liked stallions that won under saddle. I find that is a plus. I always liked Kaisy Dream for that reason.

But Florestan never raced under saddle.

No, he didn’t, but he was a Stars Pride, the Tallyrand of America. There were none better. What I find interesting with Etta Extra is that her fifth dam is Anna Maloney (actually eighth dam), an American mare bought in Belgium and imported to France. She produced Amazone B, a winner of the Prix d’Amerique. Anna Maloney’s second dam (actually third dam) is Nancy Hanks, one of the greatest race mares in North America in the 1890’s with world records pulling big wheeled sulkies and wagons. She was by Peter The Great (actually by Happy Medium). That is a bit like Fandango and Roquepine. But then we are talking about the ninth generation. (Ed. Note - I’m not sure what the connection is here – certainly not to Nancy Hanks. Interestingly Anna Maloney’s dam is inbred 3x2 maternally to Nancy Hanks. Fandango and Roquepine are in fact inbred maternally to the French equivalent to Miss Russell, a mare called Belle Poule. Roquepine’s dam is similarily inbred to Belle Poule).

Do you always go back that far ?

Myself, I believe it is necessary to look at the sixth – seventh generation. Jean-Pierre Dubois says you have to stop at the third. But for me I don’t think that is enough. If the pedigree is well filled throughout, you increase your chances. If there is a hole you take the risk of falling through it.

What was it that attracted you to Etta Extra ?

The pedigree. I ignore the individual, the way it looks, the way it moves, all of that is totally unimportant to me. I will buy a good pedigree even if the horse has only three legs.

What pedigree are you looking for?

In plain English, I look for waterproof pedigrees. No holes. If there is one on the maternal side I am not interested.

Does the mare have to be a race winner?

No. If she is just a sister to a major stakes winner that is fine with me.

Black type in all generations ?

That increases your chances. But it is important to look at what the black type means. If the black type is for racing at Vincennes for instance it could be for finishing fifth in any stakes race with seven starters and two of them disqualified. That has no value. You have to be there to see it.

Etta Extra, is that the perfect cross?

It was the best available on the market for several reasons. She was by Florestan. At the time you got a breeding to that stallion through the National Stud by luck of the draw. There were ten thousand requests for sixty four breedings (slight exaggeration no doubt). Levesque got $15,000 for each breeding he sold himself and he had ten of his own. The mother of Etta Extra was by Speedy Crown. The stud fee for Speedy Crown was $30,000 in the United States. I could have that for $70,000 with Etta Extra or for the same breeding I would have to go to the United States, buy the breeding to Speedy Crown, have a filly and then breed her to Florestan. And then the second dam of Etta is Dimitria, one of the greatest European Champions. Etta Extra’s owner was Swedish and that is why she never raced in France. Her pedigree appeared weak as seen here in France but I knew there was a sister, Ma Crown, that had raced well and was by a grandson of Florestan. With Jazz Bourbon and Sam Bourbon I have created the best performing lines in Europe (another slight exaggeration, one is now a gelding, the other has yet to race.) It is important to create a line. If you cannot buy them you have to create them, but it takes twenty years.

What mare would you like to have today ?

In my opinion you cannot have a good pedigree without Speedy Somolli. I’m interested in mares that have Speedy Somolli in both the sire and the dam. But it seems there are none for sale. So that is just a dream. Jean-Pierre Dubois told me one day “We are dream merchants” He is right because we sell horses based on dreams with the hope of reality – a horse that makes money. It makes me think of Stendhal “After all, the only truly passionate things in life are dreams.”

It looks like the dreams of Rainer Engelke with respect to the future of Florestan’s impact on the maternal lines in France are coming to pass. The top three finishers in the 2009 Prix d’Amerique are all out of mares by Florestan, son of Roquepine, a mare inbred maternally to Belle Poule, from a dam also inbred maternally to Belle Poule. Qualita Borbon, daughter of Etta Extra finished third. She is inbred maternally to Speedy Crown and Volomite. Her dam goes back to Nancy Hanks. Her sire, Love You, is from the maternal family of another famous American mare, Jenny Lind. ---------

It will be interesting to see if Florestan will again dominate the pedigrees of the best horses in the 2010 race

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First Year Stallions

Stallions with great racing careers are almost always very popular in their first year at stud. Two horses with very similar pedigrees will no doubt be among the favourites this year. Muscle Hill in New Jersey and Federal Flex in Ontario will face a challenge, however, in finding their niche with regards to the right kind of mares.

Both are by Muscles Yankee which may be the key to their success or failure but more on that later. Both sires are from double Stars Pride dams, an unusual occurrence. Muscle Hill is American Winner - Hickory Pride maternally and Federal Flex has S Js Photo - Joie De Vie as the principal lines in his dam. They fall into a very small group of sires listed in the 2010 Stallion Finder with the following Profile as far as the preferred sire lines in the mares.

"Non Stars Pride line broodmares with a Speedy Crown line 1st, 2nd or 3rd dam except for broodmares with no Speedy Crown maternally"

Of their sire group in North America there are only a couple with progeny racing. Incredible Abe and Amigo Hall. The top two by Incredible Abe are from Noble Victory line mares that are inbred to Speedster or Speedy Crown maternally, as the profile expects. Amigo Hall has opted for the other part of the profile since his best is from a mare with no Speedy Crown maternally with 1st and 2nd dams through Noble Victory and Super Bowl respectively.

Diesel Don, the full brother to Muscle Hill, is standing in Sweden and has a 2008 crop of 9 two year olds that will be racing this year. The broodmare sires are, as you might expect, all over the map , with Pine Chip the only broodmare sire with more than one.

Giant Chill, with maternal lines of Super Bowl - Nevele Diamond, is also in Sweden and has had a successful career that began in Finland. Being a son of Speedy Crown you would expect that he would not get many Speedy Crown line mares and that is clearly the case for his top performers. In fact 14 of his top 16 have no Speedy Crown maternally. Among these there are 8 that are from Stars Pride line broodmares and in each of these mares there is a Noble Victory line 2nd or 3rd dam.

It would appear that the options for Muscle Hill and Federal Flex boil down to the following priorities:

1. Noble Victory line dams that have a double to Speedy Crown maternally.

I would classify this as a Scenario #2 match since it returns the principle lines of the dam of Muscles Yankee i.e. Speedy Crown and Noble Victory which brings us back to Muscles Yankee as perhaps being the key to success.

2. Stars Pride line dams with no Speedy Crown line but with a Noble Victory line maternally.

This is a Scenario #1 to the extent that you can find the same individuals, namely American Winner (Super Bowl) and Hickory Pride in mares for Muscle Hill, and S Js Photo and Joie De Vie (Super Bowl) in mares for Federal Flex.

If you have any first year sires you are intertested in I would be happy to look at them and see if we can figure them out.


Queen Among Queens

Several years ago I published my thoughts on Pedigree Matching in a small booklet. Since then the use of Pedigree Matching has expanded to include the Pedigree Matching GlobeTrotter software program and an internet site called There are now hundreds of program and website users around the world and it is in response to their requests for more information on such topics as “the X Factor” and the importance of maternal connections that I have decided to self publish another book called Queen Among Queens. May I share the comments of two of my early readers.

“This is the most provocative and informative work I have ever seen. I commend you for being a modern day Wallace and Sherlock Holmes. Your software Pedigree Matching is also a wonder. As I learn to use it I am like a kid with a new toy, continually finding new things. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with all who want to improve the breed.”

– Bart Cavanagh, Media, PA

‘You’ve done a remarkable job of compiling the research for this book. I’m sure it will be a valuable reference for many breeders for decades to come. Congratulations on a magnificent effort”

– Dean Hoffman, Editor, Hoofbeats

Currently available as a download – Price $25

To order Queen Among Queens click contact me at

2010 Stallion Finder

The 2010 Stallion Finder lists all major sires in North America by Maternal Sire Line, Alphabetical and by State or Province.

Each stallion listing shows the stallion profile which indicates the type of mares the stallion has been, or can expected to be, successful with. The Stallion Finder tables are an invaluable aid to short listing stallion prospects, based on their successful offspring to date and predicting the success of new stallions based on the success of similarly bred stallions in the tables. Stallions are grouped together based on their common maternal lines and the sire lines are colour coded for ease of recognition.

This is an invaluable resource for anyone breeding to established sires, new stallions or buying yearlings. Here is what one reader said about this book.

"I am in awe of the work you've done to assemble this data. I have to spend a lot more time to be able to understand it, but what you have done is very important to the sport.’

- Dr Paul Spears, Hanover Shoe Farms

Available by download for $25. To order the 2010 Stallion Finder contact me at

Practical Pedigrees

The horse racing world is full of pedigree theories, beliefs, old wives tales and opinions when it comes to making the most important decisions that breeders or buyers must make – What to breed and what to buy with respect to pedigree. The success or failure of an investment in a race-horse hinges on these crucial decisions and a wrong decision can be at the least very expensive.

But what are the things you need to look for in the pedigree, what patterns exist that are worth repeating, and what indeed is the most practical way of making a decision based on pedigree? Is there really such a thing as the right pedigree or shall we say “the correct pedigree”? This booklet “Practical Pedigrees” is designed to give you the answers to these questions and teach the reader how to apply the answers in making correct and profitable breeding and buying decisions based on pedigree.

Available by download for $25. To order the Practical Pedigrees contact me at

Globetrotter Software

The Globetrotter software has been designed by horsemen and with the input of some of the best pedigree minds in the Standardbred business. Beginning in 1994 with the first version available on 12 floppy discs the program has evolved from a database of 85,000 horses to what it is today - the largest, and only truly international, Standardbred database in the world with over 1.5 million horses and counting. The original program was called PM95 and was converted to CD in 1998 and renamed PM99. Then in 2005, as a result of the input of our many users, we introduced Globetrotter as a brand new version with many added features.

We continue to develop new applications for the program and now you can get our latest innovation Pedigrees To Go, a netbook based system that is dedicated for use solely for pedigrees. No more struggling with a desktop or laptop loaded with everything you don't need getting in the way. No more waiting for access with your family members on the family computer.

The portable, lightweight (approx 4 lbs) Pedigrees To Go netbook is about the size of the Harrisburg sale catalog but many times more valuable to your purchase and breeding decisions.

You can get your copy of Globetrotter in several forms. You can download for installation on your current computer from the internet through our Pedigree Matching site, or have it sent to you on a CD-Rom or flash drive, or obtain a download link by contacting Pedigree Matching directly. Payment can be made by credit card through our secure Order page or by mailing or faxing an order form available on this site, or you can, again, call us directly and place your order for Globetrotter or any of our other products or Pedigree Matching services.

Whichever way you choose you have several days to try Globetrotter out before buying your unlock key in order to continue using the software.

Pedigree Camp Registration

2010 Pedigree Camp Schedule
June 11th – 13th, 2010
Charlottetown, PEI – The Kentucky of Canada

Friday June 11th
6.00 pm
Registration – Quality Inn On The Hill
6:30 pm
Reception and Lobster Supper

Saturday, June 12th
8:00 am – Noon
Session 1 – Practical Pedigrees - Breeding The Best
12:00 noon
Downtown walkaround and lunch
1:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Session 2 - Practical Pedigrees - Buying The Best
7:30 pm
Racing at the Charlottetown Driving Park

Sunday, June 13th
8:00 am – Noon
Session 3 – Practical Pedigrees - Doing Your Homework
12:00 noon
Working Lunch
12:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Session 4 - Review
3:00 pm
Tour of PEI North Shore
5:30 pm
Reception at Norman's cottage in Cavendish
7:30 pm
Return to Charlottetown

Registration Fee is $400 for sessions 1-4 and includes all course materials, lunches where scheduled and Lobster supper (other menu choices available). Fee for non registrant spouses or partners who wish to attend lunches, lobster supper and reception is $50. Limited to 30 participants so early advanced registration is recommended and is required no later than May 1st. All sessions are at The Quality Inn On The Hill. Registrants are responsible for own accommodations and transportation.

A block of rooms is being held for attendees to Pedigree Camp at The Quality Inn On The Hill. Room rate is $99 and must be booked by May 12th. Larger rooms and family suites are available. 1-800-466-4734. For information on other accommodation and PEI in general go to and click on Visitors Guide

E-mail to or call to register by phone or leave a message at
1-902-367-3495 or 1-902-368-2340 or fax to 902-367-3610

Pedigree Camp

2010 Pedigree Camp

The 2010 Pedigree Camp is scheduled for June 11-13th in Charlottetown, PEI, Canada. For the past five years we have welcomed up to thirty attendees from all over North America to the event. We have even had overseas interest with visitors from Denmark and Finland. Some of our regulars have been to every camp to date and make it a regular highlight of their season.

This year will feature our usual blend of working sessions and recreational activities with the latter including a welcoming lobster dinner and reception, a night at the Red Shores Casino and racetrack in Charlottetown, a Sunday afternoon tour of the Island’s North Shore beaches and gift shops, and our graduation social at Norman’s Surfside cottage in Cavendish.

Details on the Camp Agenda and the registration form are available HERE. Spouses and partners are welcome to attend the social activities.

Special guests this year will again include Dr Paul Spears of Hanover Shoe Farm as well as Dr Moira Gunn, former President of Armstrong Bros.

Registration deadline is May 1st but attendance is limited to the first thirty so don’t leave it too late.

Pedigree Links

As a customer of Pedigree Matching, PedigreeGuru or the Globetrotter software we want you to be as informed as possible of all developments in the Standardbred breeding industry. Below you will find links to pedigree resources worldwide as well as to Norman’s blog where you can ask for online advice on sire selection, and any other related matter. Here are some useful links: * Partially free **Subscription required

Norman’s Blog
*All Breed Del Mar
**Great Britain
New Zealand
**United States
Canadian Stallions
N.A. Stallions

We are always interested in your comments on, and suggestions for, our products and services and welcome your input.

Pedigree Matching Services

Our Services and Fees

Yearling and Broodmare Purchase Reports

Basic Sale Report contains list of ratings for all yearlings or broodmares within requested criteria.- Cost $2 per page reviewed plus $50/report.

Purchase Recommendation Report includes evaluation and commentary based on statistical analysis of pedigree match, cross and performance rating. - Cost $50 per specified yearling or broodmare

Broodmare Reports
Breeding Recommendation Report - $75 per mare

Other Reports
Requested opinion on any topic. - $50 per page

Retainer Fees
Annual retainer packages on per hour basis at $50/hour.
Basic 20 hours $1,000 / year
Priority 60 hours $2,500 / year
No Limit $5,000 / year

Priority and No Limit are 24 hour reply guaranteed. Basic and Priority retainer packages cover all reports based on time required and remaining retainer time available.

To request reports call Norman at (902) 367-3495 or

Pedigree Matching Works

The proof of the pudding, they say, is in the eating and if the following stories don’t whet your appetite for trying the Pedigree Matching Globetrotter program then you can’t be very hungry for success in the business.

There have been many success stories in the short 12-year history of Pedigree Matching clients and customers.

Many times the horse in question is the best that the customer has ever bred or bought. Hearing about these successes is always rewarding because it reinforces our belief that what we promote – the need to do your homework – is the path to success, in addition, of course, to using the tools and information that we can provide.

Here are just a few of the stories that we have heard from past customers:

Alan McNeill, Nova Scotia

Alan was a young trainer just starting out on his own in 2003 after working for different trainers in the United States. He was a classmate of one of my sons and they played hockey together. His father Bill and I were acquainted through work.

Bill called me in the fall of 2003 to see if I could help Alan pick out a yearling in Lexington and give him a list of affordable yearlings to look at. Now Lexington is not what I would call an affordable place to buy a yearling but Alan had a partner, Andy Willinger, another young man who lived in Kentucky. They set off on their great adventure with $10,000 and a short list of bargain possibilities. The colt they bought after checking out the list for conformation, was by Cambest. He cost $12,000 and they had to borrow the extra $2,000 from Andy’s mother to get the colt home. It was on the list because it had a great pedigree but was by a sire that had lost favour in the marketplace.

Alan broke and trained the colt and raced him through the early part of his four year old year. In the process the colt won several stakes and earned almost $400,000 for his young owners. They sold him for another $400,000 and he went on to race for one of the top trainers in North America and won over $2,270,600 lifetime with a record of 1:47.3. That colt was Lis Mara who now stands in Ontario

SSG Stables, Ontario

Just ask Ed James of Ontario

In 1993 Ed James had twenty plus racehorses in Alberta and Ontario and was not having much success. I met him by chance on a golf course on PEI and he asked me to help him clear out the horses and find him some young horses with top calibre potential. Five years later he still has a dozen horses racing but among them are two that race in the Open class at Woodbine on a regular basis plus two others that are more than paying their way on that tough circuit.

Between them they have earned over $2,210,000 and counting since they were purchased. All four were bought as green two year olds at Harrisburg and have lived up to the potential in their pedigrees despite being given up on by their first owners.

Valvec 1:53.3 by Mr Lavec was bought in 2003. Unraced at two he is now an Open class trotter on the OJC with 36 wins and $587,561 made lifetime and $95,610 made in 2008.

Hyperion Hanover p.1:49.1 by Camluck was bought in 2005 and is an Open Class winner at Woodbine with 27 wins and $861,343 in earnings and $277,550 in 2009.

Indiana Hall 1:55.3 by Striking Sahbra was bought in 2005 and has 24 wins and $505,831 made lifetime and races at the Preferred level on the OJC.

Tuck was bought privately in 2005 for $15,000 and has 16 wins and $261,542 lifetime with $58,650 in 2008.

These and other young horses and future stars developing in Ed’s stable are under the care of Rob Fellows who, largely due to the success of the SSG horses, is now one of the top conditioners on the Ontario Jockey Club circuit.

Irwin Stables, Ontario

Just ask Gord Irwin of Ontario

I first met Gord Irwin in Harrisburg in 1999 where we had our Pedigree Matching booth to demonstrate the program. He was an old-timer in the business having trained and raced horses for over thirty years, mostly on the B-circuit in Ontario. He had just got rid of all of his racing stock and invested the proceeds in one good racemare who was racing in the Preferred ranks in Toronto. As he put it he wanted to have at least one good horse in his lifetime as a trainer.

Just in case the mare did not work out he asked me which sire in Ontario to breed her to. I checked the possibilities and recommended Camluck. Gord’s first reaction was “Can’t do it – too expensive”. I told him that the stud fee of $10,000 may seem expensive but if it’s the right cross then it would be the best investment he could make. “You can’t afford not to breed to him” I told Gord.

Three and a half years later Gord called me out of the blue. “Guess what, Norm, I bred that mare to Camluck just like you said and I got a pretty nice two year old filly. She has made almost $100,000 already. You were right about the stud fee.” Not only did he accept my recommendation but he found a way to pay for the stud fee. He was one of the first to try embryo transfer in Canada and raced the mare to pay for it.

The filly was Invitro who made $2,283,947 in her career racing almost exclusively in Ontario. She is now bred to Somebeachsomewhere, again on my recommendation. Gord may just strike gold again.

Gord Irwin spent a lifetime racing cheap horses and going nowhere. On one fateful day he made two decisions that changed his life. Now he enjoys the winters in Florida and can truly say he had that one great horse that everyone dreams of.

Hollylaine Island Farms, PEI

Just ask Dr Bob Webster of Hollylaine Island Farm, PEI.

Bob Webster has owned Hollylaine for almost thirty years and has bred several hundred yearlings along the way. He used to be happy to get two or three racing out of his annual crop of 10-15 yearlings – but no longer.

I began doing Bob’s matches for him six years ago, showing him what to look for and how to do his homework on sire selection. Like many breeders he stood his own stallions and made the fatal mistake of breeding all of his mares to them. That was the biggest reason for his low success rate despite the fact that he gave them the best of care and turned out great looking yearlings for the annual sale..

Now he stands just one sire and the number of mares has dropped to a dozen or so with most having been at the farm for quite a while. He knows now that selecting the right sire for his mares, even if it means going off the farm, is the best breeding strategy for success.
He swaps breedings with the other sire owners whenever possible so there is no net cost but there definitely is a major net gain. How does he know this ?

For three consecutive crop years in 2004 through 2006, every single one of his yearlings made it to the races at two or three and his 2007 yearlings are well on their way to doing likewise with three two-year-old stakes winners and three others taking records in 2008 from just eight yearlings in 2007. The fact that he is doing this with a group of older mares and in many cases getting the best foals ever from these mares, makes his success even more remarkable.

It just goes to show its never too late to learn how to do your homework.

Joan Ellafrits, Michigan

Just ask Joan Ellafrits of Greenville, Michigan.

Joan owned one broodmare by the name of Davita Hanover. For convenience she had bred her to the sire down the road from her and had, not surprisingly, no success in four breedings.
She called me in 1997 after seeing an article on Pedigree Matching in Hoof Beats.

I recommended she breed to a Michigan sire called Super Star Ranger. The result was a colt she named Winsum Ranger. At three he was the winner of the Michigan State Championship and went on to earn over $542,000 with 38 career wins and a record of 1:56.2 taken at Woodbine.
Winsum Ranger was the first really good horse that Joan ever bred or owned.

She did it again with a full brother now with over $120,000 and still racing. She also has a filly called Keyanna Rose from a full sister to Winsum Ranger. That filly is also a winner of the Michigan Championships, and was the best of her three year old year in Michigan with over $243,000 made. Keyanna Rose is by Keystone Nordic, another Pedigree Matching sire choice.

Joan, like many others who have experienced Pedigree Matching in action, has shown that you don’t have to be a big farm to produce top horses. Anyone can produce or buy a great horse if they do their homework or at least get someone to help them with it..

Shaun MacIsaac, PEI

Just ask Shaun MacIsaac of Charlottetown, PEI.

In 1999 we attended Harrisburg as usual and again as usual we had several trainers from PEI on hand looking for bargain yearlings. Earl Smith had a couple of owners he was shopping for and he used my list to shop from. Near the top of the list was a filly by Cams Card Shark, whose first two crops were not that well thought of by the trainers, but she still figured to be expensive because of her pedigree. Earl decided to look at her anyway and came back with the report that the filly was not the greatest, conformation wise, being back on her knees. He thought she would sell cheap but was not sure if he would take a chance. My opinion was that for the quality of the pedigree she would be well worth the chance, just give her time to mature.

Earl bought the filly for $4,500 and took her back to PEI. The prospective new owner, Shaun MacIsaac, was not sure if the price for the filly, now $10,000 with transportation, exchange and finder’s fee included, was worth the risk. I gave him the same advice and he bought her. She was trained down by Earl, qualified and then turned out. Brought back at three she showed enough promise to be sent to Marcel Barrieau in Montreal. She won her first three starts then finished second in a stakes series beaten a head in a track record for three year old fillies.
She was promptly sold for six figures to a group from Toronto with Shaun keeping a share. She went on to make over $775,000 and set a World record for a four year old mare of 1:49.1 at the Meadowlands.

Another horse high on my list in the previous 1998 sale in Harrisburg was turned down by a client of mine because he was by Cams Card Shark – the reason being the client’s trainer claimed that “all the Cams Card Sharks are lame” That horse was Bettors Delight p.3,1:49.4 ($2,581,461). He sold for $65,000.

So much for the advice of trainers.

St Lads Farm, Ontario

Just ask Bob Ladouceur of St Lads Farm

He started in the Pedigree Matching program six years ago after several years breeding and raising yearlings with little success. His first fully matched crop were two year olds in 2008.
Bob came to Pedigree Camp in 2007 to find out if he was doing his homework the right way. It looks like he has from the following report by Standardbred Canada on their website on January 8th, 2009

“In the fall of 2008, Bob Ladouceur of St Lads Farm was truly excited. He had good reason to be, given the overwhelming success of juvenile Twin B Champ filly St Lads Popcorn, although the filly's success wasn't the only reason why '08 will go down as a banner season for the 65-year-old Ontario breeder. In 2007, Ladouceur's St Lads Farm sold 10 yearlings. By the fall of 2008, eight of those 10 made it to the races in their freshman campaigns.

When St Lads Bling and St Lads Nano recorded charted miles in late November and early December, respectively, all 10 of St Lads Farms 2006 foals had made it to the races in their juvenile seasons, a rarity in the business to say the least.

St Lads Popcorn led the charge in '08, assembling a slate which read 12-1-0 from 15 starts, a mark of 1:52.2 over Mohawk Racetrack and purse earnings totaling $602,669. The standout campaign made St Lads Popcorn a finalist for an O'Brien Award as Canada's top two-year-old pacing filly of 2008.

The nine other St Lads Farm two-year-olds that made it to the races in '08 were St Lads Nano, St Lads Gracie, St Lads Boomer, St Lads Supersonic, St Lads Gabby (now named Paid In Silver), St Lads Rave, St Lads He Man, St Lads Adonis and St Lads Bling.”

About Pedigree Matching

Did you ever wonder why even the best of sires have so many "ordinary" performers or why a mare of modest breeding can suddenly produce a champion? The answer may well be in the "match" of the bloodlines of the sire to those of the dam. The concept of matching bloodlines as a way to develop champions has proven it's worth over the years and serious breeders would do well to study the theory and results to see if they can improve their chances of coming up with the right match for their mares. The success of a particular mating does not have to be subject more to luck than good management.

With the growing acceptance of semen transport small breeders can aspire to breed to any active sire listed in the United States Trotting Association publication The USTA Sires and Dams. Gone are the days when breeding to the stallion up the road, because he had a couple of good ones to the races last year, was a convenient way to handle your breeding requirements. Breeders cannot afford to take a chance that such an impromptu mating will succeed. They must make informed decisions based on pedigree and like any decision the chances of being right can be greatly improved with good research and a study of past statistics.

Successful breeders will spend time to research the best matches for their mares and can get most of the information they want through computer reports from the USTA or CTA (Canadian Trotting Association). The information they receive, though, is based on established sires and may be of little help if the boundaries of time, distance and cost make the "perfect" match unavailable or if the sire of interest is a new and unproven sire.

Among small breeders who stand their own stallion there is the tendency to breed all the farm mares to that one stud regardless of the pedigree match. Such matings will, in the long run, result in low success rates and lower prices for yearlings that far offset the short term savings involved. Smart stud owners will trade breedings with other farms to get the match that gives their mares the best chance of success.

Articles on breeding tend to focus on individual sires that have played a dominant role in recent breeding history. Matings are commonly described in terms of being Meadow Skipper 3 x 4 x 3, or Speedy Crown 5 x 4 x 4 x 5, a nomenclature which serves as much to confuse as it does to edify. The numbers relate to generations in the pedigree in which the sire of note appears. We must also contend with classifications such as line bred, inbred and incestuously bred as well as the much sought after outcross.

James C Harrison in his authoritative chapter on bloodlines and breeding in the USTA's book Care And Training Of The Trotter and Pacer, noted that " All the foundation sires of the breed were relatively short bred maternally in the sense that none of the female families that produced them ever established lasting maternal lines of their own". This would seem to infer that if you want to improve on something you must focus on the weaknesses, real or perceived, and that is where "Pedigree Matching" comes into play.

Pedigree matching presents an opportunity to improve on the bloodlines of a sire where he may be perceived to be deficient, that is in his maternal line, by returning to him bloodlines from a mare of similar lineage that have shown themselves to be genetically stronger through performance.

The goal of Pedigree Matching then is to find a way to match up the bloodlines in the maternal lines of the sire with the lineage in the bloodlines of the dam. In the words of the experts this is called "Returning to the sire the best blood of his dam". Pedigree matching is not to be confused with "line breeding" which occurs when the top line of the sire matches the top line of the broodmare sire. This is a simple concept that ignores, however, the impact of the maternal line of both the sire and the dam on the mating.

Pedigree matching is new in name only as the original basis for the theory is to be found in Wallace’s American Trotting Register published in 1871, a publication that was the first attempt of its kind to document the history of the trotter in North America. Wallace was of the opinion that "like begets like" and that breeders would be wise to seek "to unite again two streams that originate in the same fountain, but that had been separated for a few generations." His theories have stood the test of time and are as valid today as they were over 130 years ago.

Successful breeders in the thoroughbred industry such as the Aga Khan and the legendary Federico Tesio derived their success from practising "balanced breeding", a concept that evolved from evidence that inbreeding and line breeding to selected ancestors through sons and daughters was far more successful than through sons alone or daughters alone. This finding confirms in a general way the basis for Wallace’s "two streams from the same fountain" theory.

The practice of Pedigree Matching or balanced breeding or whatever name you may want to give it would automatically provide the opportunity for the right genes to express themselves and result in top performers.

Breeding Or Buying the Best

The horse racing world is full of pedigree theories, beliefs, old wives tales and opinions when it comes to making the most important decisions that breeders or buyers must make – What to breed and what to buy with respect to pedigree. The success or failure of an investment in a race-horse hinges on these crucial decisions and a wrong decision can be, at the least, very expensive.

One fact that the reader should be aware of is that the pedigree of the horse, once chosen and delivered in the form of a foal, cannot be changed. The breeder can change the environment within which the foal is raised using best practices, the buyer can retain the best trainer available and protect his investment in other ways. The end result, however, if the pedigree is incorrect, is that best practices in breeding and ownership cannot reverse a bad stallion choice, making that decision the most important one a breeder can make, and the buyer recognize.

A breeder has limited opportunity to make correct stallion decisions for each mare since after several failed matings the damage to the mare and to the breeders reputation is essentially done and the future success of both is compromised. Success is the result of all of the confident decisions you make. Confidence comes from knowing the facts and being able to sort out fact from fiction.

Another fact that is indisputable is that less than 5% of the foals produced in North America will pay for themselves over their lifetime based on the ability to earn $100,000 or more. Such a return on investment is clearly inadequate to sustain the interest in both breeding and buying standardbreds. It is little wonder that we see that the number of industry participants is shrinking.

If, as someone once said, the pedigree is only 18% of what makes a great horse is true, then also consider the fact that it is the first 18% and if it is incorrect the other 82% is a waste of everyone’s time, effort and money. The most important percentage in the purchase or breeding of a top performer is the first 18%, the correct pedigree.

There are many horses that have high speed but make little or no money. Similarly there are many horses that judging by their parents should be world champions but are complete failures on the track and in the breeding shed. An examination of the pedigree will allow you to avoid such horses and focus on the ones with true earnings potential. Pedigrees can be presented in several ways and indeed can also be interpreted in different ways. Most people who attend harness racing are probably familiar with wagering on the races and the variety of ways there are to handicap the horses and try to pick the winners. Evaluating pedigrees is much the same process. Numbers, statistics and patterns are what you look at and the relative importance you put on these in combination is a very individual thing.

Patterns Of Success and Percentages

A Pattern of Success can be as simple as the position in the pedigree tree of certain ancestors or as complicated as counting up the number of times the pedigree traces back to some obscure ancestor that you consider important. In fact when you get familiar with pedigrees you will find that, just as in handicapping the races, the patterns of success inevitably have exceptions. It is important to remember, however, that success in owning Standardbreds, like all other sports, is a game of percentages and those who play the percentages in their favour will be the ones to succeed.

To play the percentages you have to know them. One key measuring stick to use in assessing pedigrees is the percentage of performers by a sire that earn $100,000 or more. Typically a successful sire or broodmare sire will average 15% or better. A yearling is clearly much more than just a combination of a sire and a broodmare sire and indeed every sire has a profile, or pattern, in relation to the mares with which he has most success.

Doing Your Homework

Like any other serious investment your chances of success are greatly improved when you understand the fundamentals of the business and make use of all the tools and information at your disposal to make the confident decisions needed to improve your percentages. The most important percentage in my mind, however, is the first 18%, the right pedigree.

The only factor that can be used with confidence is the correctness of the pedigree – does it fit the stallion’s profile - the proven or predicted pattern of success?

It is a relatively easy process to find out once you have learned how to do your homework. In today’s world of computers, high-speed communications and the Internet, we have a wealth of information upon which to make better, smarter, more confident decisions. Homework has never been easier and failing to do yours guarantees failed decisions.
I am a great fan of the great thoroughbred breeder Tesio and also of Marg Neal, a famous Canadian pedigree researcher, who was quoted in Hoofbeats as follows –

“The purpose of doing the paperwork is to produce the individual. Once the individual is on the racetrack, it doesn’t matter what the pedigree is. I’ve always talked about breeding for dominance – finding the individual that is the strongest aspect of the mare’s pedigree, then finding the stallion that has that individual in a certain place in his pedigree.”

“We have been conditioned by the restriction of catalogues and advertising to view our horses, at most, as three generation animals.There are a great many people out there today that will tell you there is no reason to look beyond the grandparents of any animal. I disagree. It is, however, a handy position to take for those unwilling to do their homework. There is a model of breeding that is like a pattern, and the pattern persists over generations, although, of course, the names change. I like to see a mare that is inbred, and a sire that is not.”
A friend of mine has won several lottery prizes while I have seldom won more than a free ticket and the occasional $5. The difference? He checks the frequency and patterns of successful numbers and buys his tickets accordingly. Even in a lottery you can improve your odds if you take the time to do your homework. The same applies to breeding and buying Standardbred horses. Then again you can sit back, play the guessing game and get what fate allows.