Monday, September 23, 2013

Harrisburg - the Mecca of Standardbreds

I cant go to Harrisburg this year since I am slated for cataract surgery but those of you that go there are in for a treat. This is the biggest standardbred auction in the world and it has a worldwide audience. In addition to the over 1000 yearlings there is a mixed sale of epic proportions that features many of the best breeding stock and racehorses in North America. It is definitely a bucket list event and maybe, just maybe, you can pick up a champion while you are there.

Attached are the profiles of the yearlings in Book One of the Harrisburg Black Book. The sale features such great champion stallions as Muscles Yankee, Somebeachsomewhere, Credit Winner, and Art Major as well as several first crop sires that will get a lot of attention.

First crop sires are a guessing game for both breeders and buyers - that is if they do not understand pedigree matching. The fact is that picking the best is not a secret process, nor is it a roll of the dice. If you stick to the principles of outcrossing on sire line and inbreeding maternally you will increase your chances considerably over the average sale goer.

One way to give yourself an edge over the competition is to use stallion profiles to predict which yearlings are correctly matched. Every stallion has a profile for success that is established in its first year crop and never varies. The success of a first year stallion can be predicted based on the profiles of similar stallions that already have offspring racing. This is an established fact that most breeders and buyers do not recognize.

Here are the links to the profiles of the Harrisburg yearlings - happy matching.

Lexington Trotting Yearlings

The trotting yearlings in Lexington this year will offer a large number from the first crops of Lucky Chucky and Muscle Massive. The buyers are lucky to have some help in picking out the right ones with the help of profiles from Donato Hanover and Muscle Mass respectively.

Lucky Chucky is by Windsongs Legacy, a son of Conway Hall while Donato is by Andover Hall, his full brother. They are both out of mares by sons of Valley Victory, Muscles Yankee and Donerail, and both of these sires are Speedy Crown - Noble Victory maternally. The second dams of Lucky Chucky and Donato Hanover are by grandsons of Stars Pride, one by a son of Nevele Pride and the other by a son of Super Bowl.

Donato Hanover has been very successful breeding to mares by Speedy Crown line sires particularily sons and grandsons of Valley Victory and especially those with second or third dams through Super Bowl or Bonefish (Nevele Pride) so you can reasonably expect Lucky Chucky to do likewise. Interestingly the best one by Donato is the reverse being from a Super Bowl line dam that is inbred to Speedy Crown and while this is a minority part of the profile it did produce the best one and similar pedigrees for Lucky Chucky are therefore worth looking at.

The unfortunate part though, is that the breeders, as it seems for every new sire, have for the most part guessed wrong again and I can put just seven yearlings by Lucky Chucky on my acceptable pedigree list from the 27 entries and a couple of those are stretches of the imagination.

Muscle Massive and Muscle Mass are full brothers so they are pretty much guaranteed to fit the same type of mares although they do stand in different jurisdictions so there will be some regional variation in the broodmare sires accordingly. Muscle Massive was also the better racehorse, being a Hambletonian winner, and his success rate should be better considering the quality of the mares to which he has been bred. That is not a guarantee, however, since Muscle Massive, like Lucky Chucky, has not been well treated by the breeders with respect to the right mares.

I wrote about the situation of Muscle Mass in an earlier blog on the 2012 first crop sires racing results. I was disappointed with his performance and although his second crop has produced an exceptional filly to go with the one really good colt in his first crop he still has not made much of an impression beyond the Grassroots level with the rest of his performers in Ontario. I mentioned the lack of matings to Angus Hall mares by Muscle Mass which I felt was the big problem there but Massive seems to have a better selection with several good mares by Andover, Conway and Angus Hall in this sale. The key here, of course iis the Arnie Almahurst line dam and coupled with Valley Victory maternally is a logical fit for Muscle Massive.

The other part of the profile to look for is for mares with no Speedy Crown maternally, the pattern for Riveting Rosie by Muscle Mass. One interesting nick is that all of the five $100K plus winners to date have third dams through Super Bowl or another son of Stars Pride. Where that comes from I don't know but given the "all over the map" nature of the profile for Muscle Mass to date it is the only part of the profile that fits all of his best.That and the fact that 13 of his top 16 are from non Speedy Crown line dams should help to find the better ones.

The profiles for both the pacing and trotting yearlings can be found here

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lexington Pacing Yearling Profile

The 2013 Lexington yearling sale will see the first crops of three sires of special interest.

Rock N Roll Heaven will no doubt be the big attention getter based on his exceptional racing career and large book of mostly New York based mares. My first impression is that, as usual, the breeders have largely missed the boat, and I am somewhat disappointed at the quality of the mares to which he was bred. As a result there are just a handful of colts in Lexington that make my list.

The maternal lines of Rock N Roll Heaven are through Artsplace and Cam Fella. There are no other sires with the same combination with foals already racing although we do have Rockin Image with his first crop in Indiana who is Real Artist (Artsplace) and Cam Fella. The latter also has a large book and at first glance a much better matched first crop from some very decent mares that could easily have sold at Laxington and Harrisburg.

The closest sire with foals racing is Western Terror, and of course his full brother If I Can Dream. They, like Rock N Roll Heaven, are Western Hanover line sires and from a dam that combines Artsplace and a Most Happy Fella line second dam being by On The Road Again. We can use the established profile for Western Terror to get us in the ballpark and then refine it to reflect the Cam Fella presence in Rock N Roll Heaven's dam to come up with a predicted profile. The profile for the top 16 by Western Terror is as follows

Non Meadow Skipper line dams with Volomite line 2nd or 3rd dams or broodmare sire with a Volomite line dam (10)

Double Meadow Skipper line with Cam Fella line 1st or 2nd dam or broodmare sire with Cam Fella dam (5)

If I Can Dream is already showing the same pattern with his best, Forty Five Red, from an Artsplace mare with a third dam by Matts Scooter. His next best is from a mare by Art Major with a second dam by Camluck.

The presence of a Volomite line, usually through Direct Scooter, is a dominant feature of this profile and since Rocknroll Hanover also has Direct Scooter maternally it is highly likely to show up in the best by Rock N Roll Heaven. That factor coupled with Cam Fella and/or Abercrombie maternally will be a big part of his pattern of success. One broodmare sire I would be watching for is Bettors Delight, a Cam Fella line with an Abercrombie line dam. Another would be Art Major mares with Cam Fella or Matts Scooter maternally.

Sportswriter is the fastest son of Artsplace and was well received in Ontario. His maternal lines of Jate Lobell and Big Towner make him similar to Major In Art, another Ontario sire whose first crop is racing with limited success to date. In fact the profile for Major In Art is all over the map so far and that is not a sign of a consistent and successful sire.  Sires with Jate Lobell dams generally have not been anything special to date with the possible exception of Yankee Cruiser who has an Albatross line second dam to help him out. That is not the case with Sportswriter who will have to depend on the diminishing presence of Big Towner coupled with No Nukes line in the dams to make his mark. A local sire in PEI, Articulator, has done just that although his maternal line is the flip side of Sportswriter being Big Towner - No Nukes. His best to date have either Big Towner and/or No Nukes maternally and that is what I would look for at least in this first crop.

Art Colony was an exceptionally fast two year old who did not make it back at three. This is a big strike against his chances as a sire but he does have something special to offer and that is a maternal line similar to Somebeachsomewhere being Beach Towel - Cam Fella. SBSW has done well with Abercrombie line dams inbred to Meadow Skipper. That will not be an option for Art Colony but Most Happy Fella line dams that are inbred to Meadow Skipper or Abercrombie (Adios line) will certainly be a big part of his pattern of success since that is also part of the profile for SBSW.

Here is the link to the profile for the Lexington pacing yearlings.

The table shows the sire lines in the first four dams along with the success rates of crosses to date for the yearlings cross and his dams cross. Those numbers appear under the first and second dam sire. The first number is the number of times the cross has been tried, the second number is the percentage success rate in producing $100K plus winners. Also in the table, for those of you who follow maternal influences, there are listed the occurences of the key maternal mares, Adioo (A), Hatteras (H), Kathleen (K), Manette (M) and Oniska (O), together with the X-factor trigger mares Helen Hanover (A2)  and Margaret Parrish (M2).

You can read more about these maternal factors in my book Queen Among Queens available from this link.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Big Heist and One Famous Glass

Here are a couple of Pedigree Matching success stories with very different backgrounds.

Cliff and Kathy Coonfer have a small breeding operation in Alberta. Like many small breeders they keep two or three mares, raise yearlings for the local sales and occasionally keep one for racing themselves. Last week I got the following message from Kathy via Facebook.

"Hi Norm. Remember about three and a half years ago when I sought your advice when I bought two new mares and then had to make breeding decisions? Both mares' two year olds are in their first stakes races this weekend. We are very pleased with them both so far and look forward to watching their progress. Appreciate your expertise and willingness to help me with mare and sire selection. Cheers, Kathy"

It turns out that their colt, The Big Heist, is now the track record holder at Lacombe for two year old geldings with a record of 1:55.3 taken just after Kathys message. The filly Make Three Wishes is also a winner in 1:59.2 and was a close second in the Starlet stake at Lacombe. Getting two year olds to the races is a low percentage business in North America and reflects the poor overall success rate of breeders generally as noted in my previous post "Percentages". Kathy, however, has learned to do her homework as the pedigrees for her two prodigys attest to.

I did help her out with buying the mares and suggesting possible sires but she and Cliff made the final choices and obviously also know how to raise winners as well. Kathy has a penchant for sibling crosses and The Big Heist is a case in point. He is by No Pan Intended whose second dam is the Albatross mare Best Of The Best. The dam of The Big Heist is Red Star Sugar Gal by Daylon Marshall, a British Columbia stallion that few have probably heard of outside that province. His dam is also Best Of The Best making him a sibling to Classic Wish, the dam of No Pan Intended.  There is more. The third dam of Red Star Sugar Gal is also by Albatross making her inbred maternally to that great maternal influence (see my previous blog A Pattern To Watch For). Kathy and Cliff are off to a flying start with their new broodmare and their second foal, a yearling colt by Blue Burner, will likely get some real attention in the upcoming Alberta sale.

The other story is closer to home and in fact is about a horse owned by my son Charles, now a veterinarian in Ontario. One of his clients races quarter horses and enticed Charles into buying a yearling. They set off for the big yearling sale in Oklahoma and Charles, who created the original Pedigree Matching program for me, studied the pedigrees looking for one that showed the patterns of success he was familiar with in standarbreds. He was also aware that there was a sire called Beduino who is the equivalent to Albatross when it comes to impact on maternal lines. The colt they settled on was called One Famous Glass. His sire was One Famous Eagle, at that point an unproven sire. The dam of One Famous Eagle is by a son of Beduino and the second dam is by Dash For Cash. The dam of One Famous Glass is by a grandson of Dash For Cash that also has a dam by Beduino, making the colt inbred maternally 4x4 to both Beduino and Dash For Cash in typical standardbred fashion. There is an added fillip to the pedigree since there is a son of Streakin Six on the sire line and a daughter of Streakin Six on the maternal line, a pattern that is prominent in such top trotters including Muscle Massive.

On Labour Day, at Ajax Downs in Ontario, One Famous Glass, now three, beat some of the best quarter horses in Canada in a three year old and up elimination for the Canadian Maturity and goes into the final with the fastest elimination time and a chance to be the Horse of the Year in Canada with a win. His biggest threat is the other elimination winner, Lookingforagoodtime, whose pedigree has a similarity with a 3x3 maternal cross of Dash For Cash and Beduino in the dam.

Charles has also learned to do his homework just as Marg Neale, the Queen of Canadian pedigrees, promoted when she was quoted in Hoof Beats magazine.

"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 thoroughly 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."
It seems that not only the names change but the breeds also. One thing has not changed, however, and that is the need to do your homework.
In a few weeks time we hope to launch PM-Online, the long awaited internet version of the Pedigree Matching Globetrotter program. Then you will have the most comprehensive pedigree analysis tools at your fingertips and no more excuses. We will also have an option for thorobred and quarterhorse breeders called Globerunner.
Happy homework