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.