Wednesday, May 30, 2012

North American Yearlings

I have added the North American yearlings to the database. There are 8.970 registered to date in North America, down from 9,534 last year. In the last five years the number of yearlings has dropped from 11,870 - 24.5%. The pacing yearlings represent 59.7% of the ones registered to date versus 58.6% in 2007.

The number of sires active continues to drop with 68 sires in North America producing 75% of the current crop of yearlings. There are over 400 sires with yearling foals in 2012 but many of them have less than 5 foals.

The breeding industry is in freefall. The concentration of breedings into a select number of sires is a disaster in the making. While there are many sires in the industry that have something to offer, the breeders are increasingly leaning to the "flavour of the day" approach. Choosing a sire based on popularity rather than what is best for the mare is a scenario that guarantees failure.

The updated database now available includes the currently registered yearlings. There are a fair number of them unnamed which is, to me, unacceptable considering that the breeders have had over a year to pick a name.

The current crop of yearlings is probably one of the most interesting in recent years. On the pacing side we have Art Official, Artistic Fella, Artzina, Classic Card Shark, Driven To Win, Hot Rod Mindale, If I Can Dream, Major In Art, Mister Big, Palone Ranger, Quality Western, Shadow Play, Total Truth and Well Said, among others. The first crop trotting stallions include Explosive Matter, Federal Flex, Groton Hall, Lear Jetta, Muscle Hill, Swan For All, The Pres, and Windsong Espoir.

Over the next few weeks I will look at all of their offspring and offer some thoughts on which ones to look for in the 2012 yearling sales.



Saturday, May 5, 2012


An update to the database is now available. It contains additions and updates for performance for European and Australia/New Zealand. Almost 300,000 horses have been added and the database is now approaching 1.8 million horses. The next update will feature the North American yearlings of 2012 , foals of 2011, and will be available in mid July.

Updating foreign horses is a challenge to say the least. I have gathered the data from twelve different websites. The data is freely available, unlike the situation in North America where you have to pay for it. Australia has just changed their policy of charging for access and now makes all reports available for free. They have realized that the data is important for breeders to make correct decisions on breeding and also recognize that the old system was not serving the small breeders that make up the greatest percentage of their membership.

I have long been an advocate of free access to pedigree information. After all the breeders pay dearly to create this information in the first place - why should they be charged for using it?

Every breed registry for Standardbreds has a website where they offer information in various formats. One of the best is the aforesaid Australian site. One of the most artistic is the Italian site ANACT and the French have several sites where you can access their pedigrees as well as complete reference material on active sires. In that respect both USTA and Standardbred Canada are sadly lacking. The stallion information is incomplete and many times outdated. It should be a priority for a breed registry to at least get this right.

The European Union has been debating for years how to combine their data into one resource but so far no results. As far as I know the PedigreeGuru website that we operate is the only internet site where you can view pedigrees for any standardbred horse in the world. Surely the various breed registries with all of their resources could replicate what we are able to do basically on a shoestring.