Why Are Some Stallions More Consistent Than Others?

Stallion Selection

Why Are Some Stallions More Consistent Than Others?

Some stallions seem to consistently produce good racehorses and other stallions are very sporadic. But, even the worst stallions sometimes have a stakes winner or two in time. Why is that? I have studied this for a long time and would like to shed some light on what I see.

Quoting from last week’s post, “Are Female Families Really That Important?”:

“We all probably have characteristics and/or mannerisms that most reflect one of our four grandparents (2nd generation). Horses are no different. That said, I focus on the two female families located in the 3rd generation that make up each “grandparent”. That creates eight different individuals consisting of eight families. Genetically, we can’t determine the path in advance that nature will take. We can’t even definitively say that the direct female family will come forward even though this is one of our main commercial concerns. But, we can examine and reinforce quality families in hopes that the best ones come forward.”

“I have determined that the greater majority of stakes winners have at least one sire family and four running families in their 3rd generation. This is my baseline. If I can’t satisfy this first pedigree factor, I’m on to the next stallion for a mating or the next page of a sales catalog.”

In summary, please note the following:

  • Sire families consist of family numbers 3, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 & 14 (I recently added family 9)
  • Running families consist of family numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 (NOTE: Family 3 is a dual-qualifier)
  • The eight families in the 3rd generation of the individual or the prospective foal are considered
  • Four families contributed by the stallion and four families contributed by the mare
  • The greater majority of stakes winners have at least one sire family and four running families in their 3rd generation

Stallion Compatibility and Female Families

Given all of the above, one doesn’t need to go too far down into the 2020 General Sires List by Earnings and find the likes of Blame, Candy Ride (ARG), Goldencents, Kitten’s Joy, Street Sense, Tapit and Violence. What do all these stallions have in common besides being good, consistent racehorse sires? They all have at least three running families in their 2nd generation (3rd of the subject horse) to contribute. Even better, some have at least one sire family to contribute. Even better than that, Tapit takes all comers! I heard he’s pretty good!

Breeding can be very random. Name the reason why and most breeders have tried it; liked him as a racehorse, commercial appeal, first year sire, breed the best to the best, nick ratings, affordable stud fee, location, etc. Most stallions aren’t equipped to take random mares. So, the bad stallion mentioned above that finally got a stakes winner, the needle was finally threaded. He finally got the right mare to contribute to what he was lacking.

This is why stallion compatibility and the female families that comprise their pedigrees are so important. Stallions like the ones that I have listed and show you below have above average compatibility and accept a broader base of mares. This helps to take the randomness out of breeding and helps to create consistency in the number of good racehorses produced.

Please examine the two-generation pedigrees of the stallions below. Note the female family numbers and how they would apply in a mating.

Blame

Stallion contributes 3 running families – Compatible mare needs to add 1 sire family and 1 running family.

Stallion Selection

Candy Ride (ARG)

Stallion contributes 1 sire family and 3 running families – Compatible mare needs to add 1 running family.

Stallion Selection

Goldencents

Stallion contributes 3 running families – Compatible mare needs to add 1 sire family and 1 running family.

Stallion Selection

Kitten’s Joy

Stallion contributes 3 running families – Compatible mare needs to add 1 sire family and 1 running family.

Stallion Selection

Street Sense

Stallion contributes 3 running families – Compatible mare needs to add 1 sire family and 1 running family.

Stallion Selection

Tapit

Stallion contributes 2 sire families and 4 running families – Compatible with all mares, regardless of family structure

Stallion Selection

Violence

Stallion contributes 1 sire family and 3 running families – Compatible mare needs to add 1 running family.

Every year in doing upwards of 100 matings for clients, I see these patterns emerge with the first year sires. These are the types that I like to breed to, not just because they are first year stallions. That said, I took a look at the 2nd Crop Sires List since those stallions don’t have as many runners as the older stallions have to appear on the General Sires List. Liam’s Map was a quick discovery.

Liam’s Map

Stallion contributes 1 sire family and 3 running families – Compatible mare needs to add 1 running family.

Look familiar? There should be no debate on the consistency of these stallions. I would take a barn full of their progeny alone. I could go on and on with examples of other stallions, commercial and non-commercial. In your spare time, research War Front and let me know what you find.

Conclusion

This critical step for matings and pedigree analysis of an existing individual is just the beginning. Outcrossing, linebreeding balance and gender balancing are a few more factors to explore. No single theory is capable of achieving an exceptional runner with every breeding, but occasional success is expected. OPTIMAL Matings have seven separate factors that must be satisfied.

This approach is very focused and many worthy stallions will be eliminated. There will always be outliers to any method and that’s OK. My preference is to stick with what I know and be open to adjustment if necessary. Of course, all of this means nothing if the physical horse does not match. Breeding and buying thoroughbreds is too random and too costly to chase shiny objects, to use shotgun approaches or to play the percentages with numbers in hopes of hitting a moving target.

Stay focused! Challenge The Commercial Status-Quo!

Whether you are new to the game, experiencing more losses than wins or just looking for a new approach, I am confident that I can help you breed or buy a better racehorse. To find out more about OPTIMAL Matings and how they can help your program, please subscribe to my Blog/News page HERE to receive future information on complimentary mating recommendations, sales short lists, stakes winner pedigree analysis, news on personal client success and any other random thoughts or ideas that I may have. Also, receive a complimentary copy of my report “Blind Luck or Designed Luck? – How A Kentucky Derby Winner Was Bred” sent directly to your inbox.

For inquiries or more information about Shepherd Equine Advisers, please contact Clark Shepherd at 859-321-6618, or by email at clark@bloodstock-agent-ky.com.

I would love to hear any comments or questions that you may have. Please submit them below. Maybe we can address them in a future post!

 

3 thoughts on “Why Are Some Stallions More Consistent Than Others?

  1. Great article once again! Love the fact that you added Family #9 to the sire list as they do seem very worthy! Thank you for sharing your knowledge, Much appreciated!

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