As Many Grains of Salt (Phalaris Revisited)

I promised I would go back to Phalaris and repeat the process using the restricted sample of 10,670 foals by sires born in 1998-2002 and out of mares born in 1998-2002. I will try to keep it short and sweet.

There are 32 ancestors in the fifth generation of a foal’s pedigree. I categorized them by how many of those ancestors traced to Phalaris in the male line. Since Phalaris was much more a “sire of sires” than a broodmare sire, that effectively captures the vast majority of his overall presences.

The average number of presences of Phalaris in this group was about 14. I did not find anything extraordinary at the upper or lower extremes of the distribution. So I divided the sample into only two groups, 0-15 (low) and 16+ (high).  Prices are listed below.

# of Presences           Foals           Average           Maverage              Price Index

0-15                             6,722          $33,862               132.14                     0.86

16+                              3,948           $38,093              141.54                      0.92

Not surprisingly, 16+ had slightly higher prices than 0-15 ($38,093 to $33,862 by average, 141.54 to 132.14 by maverage, and 0.92 to 0.86 by Price Index).

Listed next are the racetrack results for the two groups. APPPSW srands for average Performance Points per stakes winner, with the benchmark now being 696.

# of Presences            Foals          Stakes Winners          %          APPPSW          PPI (Result)

0-15                             6,722                    223                   3.32             786                    1.10

16+                               3,948                    183                   4.64             739                    1.45

The 16+ group was decidedly better by percentage of stakes winners from foals (4.64% to 3.32%). The 0-15 group was slightly better by APPPSW (786 to 739). The net result was that 16+ was much better overall by PPI (result, 1.45 to 1.10).

The table below summarizes the differences between prices and results.

# of Presences          Foals             Price Index          PPI (Result)            Difference

0-15                             6,722                 0.86                      1.10                        +0.24

16+                               3,948                 0.92                      1.45                        +0.53

Bear in mind that the overall difference for all 10,670 foals was +0.35 (0.88 to 1.23). The 0-15 group was slightly lower at +0.24. The 16+ group was higher at +0.53.

In my last post on Nearco I divided the sample into three groups. For purposes of comparison in the chart below I combined the lower two groups. The chart below (listing only two groups, 0-9 and 10+) for Nearco can now be compared to the chart above for Phalaris.

# of Presences          Foals           Price Index          PPI (Result)             Difference

0-9                              5,838                  0.87                      1.31                        +0.44

10+                             4,832                  0.89                      1.14                        +0.25

As you can see, Nearco had the opposite result from Phalaris. The lower group for Nearco (0-9) was actually better than the higher group (10+) +0.44 to +0.25.

Phalaris was the opposite. The higher group for Phalaris (16+) was better than the lower group for Phalaris (0-15) +0.53 to +0.24.

Just as a reminder, I used the smaller sample of 10,670 foals to minimize the effect of chronology on the results. Adjusted for chronology, it becomes clear that it is not so simple as the more Nearco, the better. A moderate amount of Nearco (7-9) was better than a low amount of Nearco (0-6) in my previous post, but a moderate amount of Nearco (7-9) was also better than a high amount of Nearco (10+).

So in the case of Nearco, too much of a good thing was not necessarily desirable. To put it somewhat more bluntly, Nearco fails the test for being a thoroughly positive influence on modern pedigrees when the sample is adjusted for chronology.

Not so with Phalaris. He still passes the test (adjusted for chronology) with flying colors.

How to interpret all this???? That is the rub. To do so I will have to indulge in some speculation. So take the following with as many grains of salt as you desire.

The most obvious and prevalent source of Nearco in modern pedigrees is Northern Dancer. The next most obvious and prevalent source is Nasrullah (many branches), Bold Ruler, . . . Seattle Slew, A.P. Indy, etc. I think what the numbers are trying to tell us is that those sources of Nearco are NOT the best ones in the long run.

Northern Dancer was a foal of 1961. By foals of 2017, it becomes easier and easier to build up a lot of Northern Dancer in the nether regions of pedigrees. If you are designing matings to do so (build up a lot of Nearco through Northern Dancer in distant regions of pedigrees), you might want to think again.

The most obvious and prevalent source of Phalaris NOT through Nearco is Native Dancer, Raise a Native, Mr. Prospector, etc. A distant second in that regard might be Tom Fool and Buckpasser. The rest of Phalaris (NOT through Nearco) is widely scattered and mainly European or South American (Fairway, Fair Trial, Petition, etc.).

I think what the numbers might be trying to tell us is that the sources of Phalaris NOT through Nearco are the best ones to use if you are trying to build up a lot of Phalaris in distant portions of pedigrees. And Mr. Prospector is by far the most prominent name in that group.

Take this speculation with as many grains of salt as you desire.

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Too Much of a Good Thing (Nearco)

I received a comment on a post I did on Phalaris a couple months ago. That comment was to the effect of now do the same thing with Nearco (paternal grandson of Phalaris and a superb sire in his own right). Not a bad idea, I responded.

I started to do so with sales foals of 2008-2111, first with 2008, then with 2111. Along the way I noticed that the percentage of foals with a surfeit of Nearco increased dramatically from 2008 to 2111. That got me to thinking that a chronological bias was at work that might be affecting the results on both Phalaris and Nearco.

Not many people dispute the fact that younger mares make better producers. As my last two posts attest, the same holds true for younger sires, at least with the particular population of sales foals of 2008-2111.

Younger mares and younger sires both have higher numbers of both Phalaris and Nearco in their pedigrees due to the simple fact that both these sires are constantly expanding their number of presences in modern pedigrees. That is the chronological bias of which I speak. Even if both Phalaris and Nearco have little effect on racetrack results in modern pedigrees, it will appear as if they do because of this constant expansion.

The best racehorses in this population generally are by younger sires and out of younger mares. Younger sires and younger mares generally have more presences of Phalaris and Nearco than the general population. Therefore, if you analyze the population by the number of presences of Phalaris and/or Nearco, it will appear that those two sires have a positive influence on racetrack results. Which may or may not be true.

I started thinking about ways to compensate for this chronological bias. My first inclination was to restrict the sample pool to foals by sires born in 2000 and out of mares born in 2000. I quickly realized that would yield a very small sample (less than a thousand). So I decided to expand the sample group to foals by sires born in 1998-2002 and out of mares born in 1998-2002. That helps to minimize the variation in number of presences of Nearco and/or Phalaris by age of parents.

Along the way I noticed that this sample group was a pretty good one in its own right (price of 0.88, result of 1.23), which reinforced my perception that younger sires were also good (along with younger mares) and led to my last two posts.

Today I will examine that 1998-2002 sample group with respect to number of presences of Nearco. I did so similarly to the way I did Phalaris. There are 32 ancestors in the fifth generation of a foal’s pedigree. I categorized them by how many of those ancestors traced to Nearco in the male line. Since Nearco (like Phalaris) was much more a “sire of sires” than a broodmare sire, that effectively captures the vast majority of his overall presences.

The average number of presences of Nearco in these 10,670 foals of the 1998-2002 sample group was about 9.5. The median and mode (number that appears most often) were both nine. Though I list the categories below as 0-6, 7-9, and 10+, I did not find any foals with zero Nearco. I think two was the lowest I found. Listed below are the prices for these categories.

Presences          Foals          Average          Maverage          Price Index

0-6                     1,177          $40,691              137.59                    0.89

7-9                     4,661          $35,834              133.15                    0.86

10+                    4,832          $35,443              137.51                    0.89

Totals              10,670          $36,194              135.62                    0.88

The overall average for all 10,670 foals was $36,194. The 0-6 group was highest at $40,691, but truthfully the differences by average among the three groups was very small. Ditto for maverages and Price Indexes (0.89 for 0-6 and 10+, 0.86 for 7-9, 0.88 overall).

Listed below are the racetrack results for the three categories. APPPSW stands for average Performance Points per stakes winner, the benchmark now being 696.

Presences          Foals          Stakes Winners          %          APPPSW          PPI (Result)

0-6                     1,177                     32                     2.72             766                    0.88

7-9                     4,661                   182                     3.91             857                    1.42

10+                    4,832                   192                     3.98             678                    1.14

Totals              10,670                  406                     3.81             765                    1.23

The 7-9 group was decidedly best at 1.42, followed by the 10+ group at 1.14 and the 0-6 group at 0.88. The relationship between prices and results is summarized in the chart below.

Presences          Foals          Price Index          PPI (Result)          Difference

0-6                      1,177               0.89                       0.88                     –0.01

7-9                       4,661              0.86                       1.42                      +0.56

10+                      4,832             0.89                        1.14                      +0.25

Totals                 10,670            0.88                        1.23                     +0.35

Remember, the 1998-2002 group was pretty awesome in its own right (difference of +0.35). The 7-9 group was even better at +0.56. The 10+ group was not quite as good as the overall group at +0.25. The 0-6 group was –0.01, not good at all.

If Nearco was truly still a positive influence on modern pedigrees, 10+ would be better than 7-9, and 7-9 would be better than 0-6 (the more Nearco, the better).

The 7-9 group was decidedly better than 0-6, but 7-9 was also better than 10+. So this is a mixed result. About all you can say is that a lack of Nearco (0-6) is not good. A surfeit of Nearco (10+) is better than a lack of Nearco. But a moderate amount of Nearco (7-9) is by far the best of all.

I will not go so far as to say this proves that Nearco is NOT a good influence on modern pedigrees, but evidently too much of a good thing does have its drawbacks.

Needless to say, now I will have to go back and do the same thing all over again with Phalaris (using the chronology-adjusted sample group of 10,670) to ascertain whether his results were really as good as they appeared to be in my previous two posts on that subject. As usual, I will keep you posted.

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Attrition (Age of Sires)

I promised some details on prices and results by age of sires for sales foals of 2008-2o11. Some theoretical observations first though. In a theoretical world, youngest sires should have the lowest prices, and prices should increase as age increases.

Why???? Pretty simple actually. Because no matter how good a racehorse a sire was, he should not be considered a good sire until he proves it. Or rather, until his progeny prove it by winning races (especially the best races, stakes races).

Unfortunately, the real world is quite different from the theoretical one. The chart below summarizes prices by age of sires.

Age          Foals          Average          Maverage          Price Index

4-5           1,963         $63,369             193.88                   1.26

6-7           11,775        $35,359             140.69                   0.91

8-9           10,131        $30,963             120.95                  0.79

10-11         7,493        $42,915              145.73                  0.95

12-14         7,113         $55,681              167.51                  1.09

15-19         5,313        $64,284              179.29                  1.16

20+            1,774         $80,875             186.90                  1.21

If you ignore the two youngest groups (4-5 and 6-7), the prices do follow the theoretical model. The 8-9 group is the cheapest (average of $30,963, maverage of 120.95, and Price Index of 0.79). Prices increase uniformly from there, with the oldest group (20+) being by far the most expensive with an average of $80,875, a maverage of 186.90, and a Price Index of 1.21.

The first fly in the ointment is that the youngest group (4-5) is actually quite expensive, with an average of $63,369, a maverage of 193.88, and a Price Index of 1.26. The Price Index is actually higher than that of the 20+ group (1.21), though the average is lower ($63,369 compared to $80,875).

That might seem contradictory, but what it really indicates is that the 20+ group hits a lot of home runs (prices of $500,000+) but also strikes out a lot (prices of less than $10,000). The 4-5 group does not hit many home runs (lower average) but does not strike out much at all (higher maverage and Price Index).

The vast majority of foals in the 4-5 group were by first-crop sires. Many sires race through age three, go to stud at age four, and have their first foals at age five. A very few sires go to stud at age three and have their first foals at age four and their second crop of foals at age five. Those are the exceptions to the rule. For purposes of this survey, let us stipulate that the vast majority of the foals in the 4-5 group were by first-crop sires.

Why should first-crop sires have such high prices???? They are all unproven as sires. I am tempted to say that it makes no sense at all. It also has been suggested to me that pinhookers have a great deal of effect on these prices.

But before I make that statement it is a good idea to examine racetrack results as well, which are summarized in the chart below. APPPSW in the chart below stands for average Performance Points per stakes winner, with the benchmark now being 696.

Age          Foals          Stakes Winners          %          APPPSW          PPI (Result)

4-5           1,963                   95                     4.84             801                    1.65

6-7           11,775                 388                    3.30             676                    0.95

8-9           10,131                297                     2.93             719                    0.90

10-11         7,493                289                     3.86            698                    1.15

12-14         7,113                262                     3.68             655                   1.03

15-19         5,313               168                      3.16             715                   0.96

20+            1,774                  48                      2.71             663                   0.76

It is a good thing that I did not make that statement, because as it turns out, the 4-5 group more than justified its high prices with racetrack results. It had a Price Index of 1.26 and a PPI (result) of 1.65 (by far the best of any group in the chart above). Those 1,963 foals sold for prices about 26% above average and produced results about 65% above average.

This is very puzzling. Perhaps the only explanation is “fashion.” For some reason first-crop sires are considered the height of fashion in the crazy world of selling young, untested horses. First-crop sires receive the best mares they will ever receive (unless they really hit it big) in their first year at stud.

The second fly in the ointment is the 6-7 group. Prices drop drastically from the 4-5 group to the 6-7 group (average from $63,369 to $35,359, maverage from 193.88 to 140.69, and Price Index from 1.26 to 0.91). They drop even more from 6-7 to 8-9 (average from $35,359 to $30,963, maverage from 140.69 to 120.95, and Price Index from 0.91 to 0.79). Prices then increase uniformly from 8-9 through 20+, as previously noted.

What the heck is going on here???? The only explanation I can offer is the aforementioned “fashion.” First-crop sires are considered the height of fashion and receive the best mares they will ever receive (unless they really hit it big) in their first year at stud.

But when the next year comes along, all that is forgotten and the next crop of first-year sires is the height of fashion, and the original group of first-crop sires slides slowly (or maybe not so slowly) into market oblivion.

A lot of sires do have excellent first crops, then not much else afterward, for whatever reasons. A striking recent example is Uncle Mo. His first crop was two-year-olds of 2015 and included seven two-year-old stakes winners (and 20 overall). Included among them was 2015 champion two-year-old and 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist. Uncle Mo got off to a great start at stud.

His second crop (two-year-olds of 2016) has been an entirely different story, however. So far it has produced ZERO stakes winners. That pattern has been entirely uncommon for a lot of sires.

An opposite example was Secretariat. His first crop was no great shakes. But his second crop included General Assembly and Terlingua. That pattern is not as common as the first pattern though (great first crop, not so great afterward).

That first pattern partially accounts for the slide in prices from 4-5 to 6-7 to 8-9. Prices then turn up with the 10-11 group. By then the original group of first-crop sires have enough progeny on the racetrack to determine their true worth as sires. Some will  make the grade. Most will not. The former will have a lot fewer sales foals by age 10-11 or will have completely dropped out of the pool of sales sires, having been banished to some other (cheaper) locality.

It is the process of attrition. The truly good sires survive. Some even thrive and start receiving even better mares. Prices for their progeny perk up from the doldrums. But most sires do not survive this process of attrition, and their removal from the pool of sales sires causes prices to perk up for the remaining (surviving) sires around age 10-11.

So as much as I would like to criticize the adulation of first-crop sires, the numbers do not back me up. I cannot blame anyone for dealing with the world as it really is rather than as it ought to be. I cannot criticize sellers for favoring first-crop sires. Their progeny sell really well. I cannot criticize buyers for favoring first-crop sires. Their progeny perform really well (even better than their prices indicate they should).

But what about the prejudice AGAINST sires in the 6-7 and 8-9 groups???? Is it really justified???? In order to answer that and some other questions, the relationship between prices and results is summarized below.

Age          Foals          Price Index          PPI (Result)          Difference

4-5           1,963              1.26                        1.65                      +0.39

6-7           11,775             0.91                        0.95                     +0.04

8-9           10.131            0.79                         0.90                    +0.11

10-11         7,493            0.95                         1.15                    +0.20

12-14         7,113            1.09                          1.03                   –0.06

15-19         5,313            1.16                          0.96                  –0.20

20+            1,774            1.21                           0.76                  –0.45

As you can see, the 4-5 group has a difference of +0.39 (price of 1.26, result of 1.65). That is by far the best of any group. The 6-7 and 8-9 groups are actually not too bad relative to their prices. The former has a price of 0.91, a result of 0.95, and a difference of +0.04. The latter has a price of 0.79, a result of 0.90, and a difference of +0.11.

The 10-11 group is even better than 6-7 or 8-9. It has a price of 0.95, a result of 1.15, and a difference of +0.20. From there it is all downhill though. The 12-14 group has a price of 1.09, a result of 1.03, and a difference of –0.06. The 15-19 group has a price of 1.16, a result of 0.96, and a difference of –0.20. The 20+ group has particularly dismal results, partially due to Storm Cat and A.P. Indy, as I noted in my previous post. It has a price of 1.21, a result of 0.76, and a difference of –0.45.

So when it comes to age of sires, it is not quite as simple as younger is better. If you were to graph the differences above, it would be a wavy line, not nearly a straight one. Nevertheless, it does appear that older is not better, especially for the bottom three groups (12-14, 15-19, and 20+) in the chart above.

On the other hand, perhaps this is NOT a universal truth. It may have more to do with this particular marketplace and all its peculiarities (and pinhookers).

I started out this research trying to determine if a chronological bias exists and how strong it really is. Evidently it does exist and is pretty strong, strong enough to affect the results of examining a distant name in pedigrees and how often it occurs, a name such as Phalaris, La Troienne, or Nearco. The last of those three will be the subject of my next post.

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Chronology and Serendipity

I recently made a discovery purely by chance (serendipity) of a group of foals with excellent results from very modest prices. Having been accused of rarely showing any good results, I am pleased to share the details on this group of foals.

I was working on another project (details later) when I noticed an unexpectedly strong chronological bias. I decided that I needed to minimize this chronological bias in order to obtain more meaningful results.

Both projects were based on the 45,562 sales foals of 2008-2111 of course. I decided to restrict the sample pool to those foals by sires foaled in 1998-2002 and out of mares foaled in 1998-2002.

So the average age of sires and dams of this smaller sample pool was 8.5 years, which is on the young side (the overall average age being between ten and 11). Listed below are the prices for that smaller sample group.

Foals          Average          Maverage          Price Index

10,653       $35,443             135.62                    0.88

A little over 23% (10,653 of 45,562 total foals) qualified. The overall average for all 45,562 foals was $46,418. The average for the 10,653 foals in the 98-02 group was decidedly lower at $35,443. Ditto for the maverage (135.62, compared to the overall maverage of 154.0), which works out to a Price Index of 0.88.

The main reason the prices were lower for the 98-02 group was sires. Most of the sires of these 10,653 foals were young and not yet established. A few good sires were included in this group (most notably Tapit, Medaglia d’Oro, and Empire Maker), but for the most part the sires in this group were not of the highest fashion.

Listed below are the racetrack results for the 98-02 group. APPPSW stands for average Performance Points per stakes winner, the benchmark now being 696.

Foals          Stakes Winners          %          APPPSW          PPI (Result)

10,653                 406                   3.81             765                     1.23

Overall, there were 1,547 stakes winners from 45,562 foals (3.40%). The 98-02 group posted 406 stakes winners from 10,653 foals (3.81%), a nice improvement. Those 406 stakes winners were pretty good ones too, averaging 765 Performance Points (compared to an overall average of 696).

The resultant PPI for these 10,653 foals was 1.23, a whopping improvement over their Price Index of 0.88. These 10,653 foals sold for prices about 12% BELOW average and achieved results about 23% ABOVE average.

The best of these 406 stakes winners was Animal Kingdom (9,388 Performance Points). If Animal Kingdom were not in the equation, the APPPSW for the 406 stakes winners drops from 765 to 744 (still well above the overall average of 696), and the PPI drops from 1.23 to 1.20.

So removing Animal Kingdom from the equation really does not detract much from the results. These results are legitimate (not dependent upon one extremely good stakes winner).

WHY are these results so good relative to modest prices???? As has been well documented by myself and others, younger mares generally make better producers than older mares. Not many people dispute this fact, which is more a function of birth rank (number of pregnancies) than age itself.

The effect of chronology on sires’ performances has not been nearly as well documented. Perhaps it is a factor here as well. Maybe, maybe not.

I decided to examine the prices and results for the oldest sires of these sales foals of 2008-2111, sires aged 20 or older at the time of the birth of the foal in question. Listed below are the prices for that group.

Foals          Average          Maverage          Price Index

1,774          $80,875             186.90                    1.21

About 3.9% (1,774 of 45,562 foals), qualified as being by 20+ sires. Their prices were rather high, which is not surprising at all, since this group included some of the most fashionable sires such as Storm Cat and A.P. Indy.

Listed below are the racetrack results for this group.

Foals          Stakes Winners          %          APPPSW          PPI (Result)

1,774                   48                      2.71             663                    0.76

These results were obviously not very good. These 1,774 foals sold for prices about 21% ABOVE average and produced results about 24% BELOW average.

A few years ago I performed this same examination on mares ages 20 or older. Their results were even worse. They posted a price of 0.94 and a result of 0.28. So the best thing you can for older (20+) sires is that they were not nearly as bad as older (20+) mares.

I wondered how much Storm Cat and A.P. Indy affected these prices and results for 20+ sires and decided to investigate.

Storm Cat was a foal of 1983. All of his sales foals of 2008-2111 fall into the 20+ category. A.P. Indy is a foal of 1989. Only some of his sales foals of 2008-2111 fall into the 20+ category.

A total of 96 foals by either Storm Cat or A.P. Indy fell into the 20+ category. Those 96 foals sold for whopping prices, needless to say, an average of $523,177, a maverage of 621.42, and a Price Index of 4.04.

Only three stakes winners emerged from those 96 foals: Breathless Storm (by Storm Cat, 202 Performance Points), Raconteur (by A.P. Indy, 263), and Majestic River (by A.P. Indy, 658).

Those three stakes winners from 96 foals worked out to a PPI of 0.49. Price of 4.04, result of 0.49. Not good.

OK, now let us see what removing those 96 foals does to the 20+ sire group, beginning with prices.

Foals          Average          Maverage          Price Index

1,678          $55,570            162.04                    1.05

Removing those 96 foals did lower the prices considerably, though they are still above the benchmarks for all 45,562 foals. Now let us see about results.

Foals          Stakes Winners          %          APPPSW          PPI (Result)

1,678                   45                      2.68             683                   0.77

Removing those 96 foals had very little effect on the racetrack results. The PPI for the remaining 1,678 foals blipped up from 0.76 to 0.77.

So even without the high prices and relatively dismal results posted by Storm Cat and A.P. Indy as 20+ sires, the remaining 1,678 foals by 20+ sires were still not very good. With a price of 1.05 and a result of 0.77, they sold for prices about 5% ABOVE average and achieved results about 23% BELOW average.

So perhaps chronology does have something to do with sire performance. My next post will focus on the details of this matter.

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Horse of the Year

Arrogate thoroughly deserves to named 2016 Horse of the Year. He defeated California Chrome fair and square yesterday in the BC Classic. More than fair and square actually. California Chrome had an ideal tactical trip. He ran the best race of his life. He simply was not good enough. Arrogate was good enough.

Listed below are the dozen BC Classic winners (out of 33 runnings) who were named Horse of the Year that same year:

Ferdinand (1987), Alysheba (1988), Sunday Silence (1989), Black Tie Affair (1991), A.P. Indy (1992), Cigar (1995), Tiznow (2000), Ghostzapper (2004), Saint Liam (2005), Invasor (2006), Curlin (2007), American Pharoah (2015).

That is a pretty good list of champions, and Arrogate deserves to be in their company.

Zenyatta (2009) and Blame (2010) also should be on this list. But that is another can of worms into which I will not delve. At least not today.

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The Moral of This Story????

Frosted is by Tapit out of G2 winner Fast Cookie, by Deputy Minister. The second dam is multiple G2 winner Fleet Lady, by Avenue of Flags, by Seattle Slew. That places Seattle Slew at P7 in Frosted’s fourth generation.

Listed below are the prices for the nine sires who showed up most often at P7 in the fourth generation among sales foals of 2008-2111.

Sire                                Foals          Average          Maverage          Price Index

Northern Dancer          3,991         $56,597             173.04                   1.12

Mr. Prospector             3,196         $48,314             160.23                   1.04

Raise a Native               1,635        $68,372              187.78                   1.22

Bold Ruler                      1,527        $46,722              151.83                   0.99

Nijinsky II                      1,093       $49,353              163.12                   1.06

In Reality                        1,078       $51,867              164.79                    1.07

Seattle Slew                        965      $50,144              162.13                   1.05

Damascus                            930      $48,703             158.00                   1.03

Hail to Reason                    820       $43,403             150.44                   0.98

Totals                               15,235      $52,678             165.69                   1.08

I stopped with Hail to Reason because the next three sires (Danzig, Vice Regent, and Alydar) were all below 600 foals.

The overall average for all 45,562 foals was $46,418. All nine sires were above that benchmark except Hail to Reason ($43,403). Raise a Native was by far the highest at $68,372.

The overall maverage for all 45,562 foals was 154.0. Seven of the nine sires were above that benchmark. Bold Ruler (151.83) and Hail to Reason (150.44) were below it. The Price Indexes by definition followed suit, with Raise a Native by far the highest at 1.22.

Listed below are the racetrack results for these nine sires. APPPSW stands for average Performance Points per stakes winner, the benchmark now being 694.

Sire                                Foals          Stakes Winners     %      APPPSW          PPI (Result)

Northern Dancer          3,991                   160              4.01        758                     1.29

Mr. Prospector             3,196                    135              4.22        676                     1.21

Raise a Native               1,635                     65               3.98        695                     1.17

Bold Ruler                      1,527                     26               1.70        586                     0.42

Nijinsky II                      1,093                    38                3.48       709                     1.04

In Reality                        1,078                    34                3.15       531                      0.76

Seattle Slew                       965                    38                3.94       844                      1.41

Damascus                           930                    23                2.47       581                      0.61

Hail to Reason                   820                    24                2.93      1,123                     1.39

Totals                              15,235                  543              3.56         719                     1.08

Bold Ruler was by far the worst at 0.42, followed by Damascus (0.61) and In Reality (0.76). Seattle Slew was the best at 1.41, followed by Hail to Reason at 1.39.

That 1.39 for Hail to Reason should be taken with a grain of salt. Among his stakes winners was Beholder (second dam by Stop the Music, with 9,757 Performance Points). Without Beholder Hail to Reason has a PPI of 0.89, more in line with his Price Index of 0.98.

The best stakes winner for Seattle Slew was Drosselmeyer (second dam by Slew o’ Gold, with 4,628 Performance Points). Without Drosselmeyer Seattle Slew’s PPI slips to 1.20, still well above his Price Index of 1.05.

The chart below shows the relationship between prices and results for these nine sires.

Sire                                Foals          Price Index          PPI (Result)          Difference

Northern Dancer          3,991              1.12                       1.29                        +0.17

Mr. Prospector             3,196              1.04                       1.21                        +0.17

Raise a Native               1,635              1.22                       1.17                       –0.05

Bold Ruler                      1,527              0.99                      0.42                       –0.57

Nijinsky II                      1,093             1.06                      1.04                       –0.02

In Reality                        1,078             1.07                      0.76                       –0.31

Seattle Slew                        965            1.05                      1.41                        +0.36

Damascus                            930           1.03                       0.61                       –0.42

Hail to Reason                    820           0.98                       1.39                         +0.41

Totals                               15,235         1.08                        1.08                          0.00

Four of the nine were positive, led by Hail to Reason (+0.41) and Seattle Slew (+0.36). Five of the nine were negative, the worst being Bold Ruler (–0.57), Damascus (–0.42), and In Reality (–0.31).

The nine sires collectively accounted for just over a third of the entire population (15,235 of 45,562 foals). Those 15,235 foals had a Price Index of 1.08 and a PPI of 1.08. Collectively you got exactly what you paid for with these nine sires at P7 in the fourth generation.

Two of the nine sires were foaled in the 1970s (Mr. Prospector in 1970 and Seattle Slew in 1974). Two of the nine were foaled in the 1950s (Bold Ruler in 1954 and Hail to Reason in 1958). The other five were all foaled in the 1960s.

I decided to break down these numbers by the decades in which the sires were foaled. Listed below are the prices for the 1970s (Mr. Prospector and Seattle Slew), the 1950s (Bold Ruler and Hail to Reason), and the 1960s (the other five).

Sires’ YOB                        Foals          Average          Maverage          Price Index

1970s                                4,161           $48,738             160.67                   1.04

1960s                                8,727           $56,471              171.94                   1.12

1950s                                2,347           $45,562             151.34                   0.98

The five sires foaled in the 1960s had the highest average ($56,471), maverage (171.94), and Price Index (1.12). Bold Ruler and Hail to Reason were lowest at $45,562, 151.34, and 0.98, respectively. Mr. Prospector and Seattle Slew were in between at $48,738, 160.67, and 1.04, respectively.

Listed below are the racetrack results for these same three categories.

Sires’ YOB                        Foals          Stakes Winners     %      APPPSW          PPI (Result)

1970s                                4,161                    173              4.16          713                   1.25

1960s                                8,727                    320              3.67         703                   1.09

1950s                               2,347                      50               2.13         844                    0.76

The 1970s were by far the best at 1.25, the 1950s were by far the worst at 0.76, and the 1960s were in between at 1.09.

Listed below are the relationship between prices and results for the three categories.

Sires’ YOB                        Foals               Price Index           PPI (Result)          Difference

1970s                                4,161                     1.04                       1.25                       +0.21

1960s                                8,727                     1.12                       1.09                      –0.03

1950s                               2,347                      0.98                      0.76                      –0.22

The 1970s were by far the best at +0.21, the 1950s were by far the worst at –0.22, and the 1960s were in between and slightly negative (–0.03).

The moral of this story???? Do I have to draw you a picture???? Chronology matters in pedigrees.

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The Exception That Proves the Rule

Two posts ago I presented some statistics on the 16 sires of males in the fifth generation of sales foals of 2008-2111. I classified them by how many of those 16 sires traced to Phalaris in the male line. The more of them traced to Phalaris, the better were the results relative to the prices (which also increased with the number of Phalaris presences).

Needless to say, each foal also has 16 dams in the fifth generation. I decided to do the same with those 16 dams, classifying them by how many of them traced to Phalaris in the male line. My expectation was that Phalaris would show up less frequently among the dams than among the sires. I did not really know what to expect in terms of prices versus results.

Below is the distribution of the 45,562 sales foals of 2008-2011 according to how many of their 16 dams in the fifth generation traced to Phalaris in the male line.

Phalaris Presences      Foals

0                                       452

1                                     2,030

2                                     5,186

3                                     7,756

4                                     8,939

5                                     8,728

6                                     5,985

7                                     3,416

8                                     1,973

9                                        664

10                                      279

11                                       154

The theoretical possible results ranged from zero to 16. In fact I did not find any foal with more than 11 Phalarises in the male line among the 16 dams in the fifth generation.

The average was 4.41 (compared to 9.42 for the 16 sires in the fifth generation). That confirmed my expectation that Phalaris showed up less frequently among the 16 dams than among the 16 sires (less than half as frequently).

The median and mode (number appearing most frequently) for the 16 dams were both four. For the 16 sires the median was nine, and the mode was ten.

Listed below are the prices for the foals based on number of Phalarises among the 16 dams. I am going to simplify the data as much as possible by listing only three groups: a low group (0-2), a middle group (3-5), and a high group (six+).

Phalaris Presences     Foals          Average          Maverage          Price Index

0-2                                7,668         $44,410              152.67                    0.99

3-5                               25,423        $46,312              152.85                    0.99

6+                                 12,471         $47,818              157.18                    1.02

As you can see, the number of Phalarises had little or no effect on the prices. The overall average for all 45,562 foals was $46,418. All three groups were right around that number, low at $44,410, middle at $46,312, and high at $47,818.

Ditto for the maverages and Price Indexes. In terms of the latter, low was 0.99, middle was the same, and high was 1.02.

Listed below are the racetrack results for the three groups. APPPSW in the chart below stands for average Performance Points per stakes winner, a measure of the quality of stakes winners involved, the benchhmark now being 694.

Phalaris Presences     Foals     Stakes Winners          %          APPPSW          PPI (Result)

0-2                                7,668              209                  2.73              690                   0.80

3-5                               25,423             836                  3.29              696                   0.97

6+                                 12,471             498                  3.99              692                    1.18

The number of Phalarises did make a difference in the racetrack results. Low was 0.80, middle was 0.97, and high was 1.18.

The chart below illustrates the relationship between prices and results for the three groups.

Phalaris Presences          Foals          Price Index          PPI (Result)          Difference

0-2                                     7,668                0.99                     0.80                      –0.19

3-5                                    25,423               0.99                     0.97                      –0.02

6+                                      12,471               1.02                     1.18                        +0.16

Low was well below expected at –0.19. Middle was slightly below expected at –0.02. High was much better than expected at +0.16.

For purposes of comparison I repeat my chart from two posts ago on the 16 sires in the fifth generation.

Presences          Foals            Price Index           PPI (Result)           Difference

1-4                        422                   0.83                       0.64                       –0.19

5-8                     14,524                 0.91                       0.77                       –0.14

9-10                   16,465                0.99                       0.92                       –0.07

11-16                  14,151                 1.11                       1.35                        +0.24

I would not have been surprised if dams had less of an effect on results than sires did. The worst dam group was –0.19. The worst sire group was also –0.19. The best dam group was +0.16. The best sire group was +0.24.

So dams had almost as much effect on racetrack results (both positively and negatively) as sires did. That did surprise me somewhat. The traditional portrait of Phalaris is that he was a great sire of males (sires specifically) and not-so-great sire of females. The latter part of that portrait appears to come into some question.

What surprises me the most is that Phalaris has had such a lasting influence on contemporary pedigrees. After all, he was a foal of 1913 (born more than 100 years ago).

The traditional (and I always thought common-sense) rule of thumb was that ancestors that far back in pedigrees should have zero influence (positive or negative) on contemporary pedigrees. Phalaris appears to disprove that dictum.

Perhaps some of you enjoyed (or not) the study of Latin in your younger years. Latin is a very confusing language. For every rule there are one (or more) exceptions to that rule.

I think the best way to view these results is that Phalaris is the exception that proves the rule. Phalaris does appear to have some positive influence on contemporary pedigrees, even more than a century after he was foaled.

One exception, however, does not disprove a rule. Phalaris (a true “breed shaper” if there ever was one) is the exception that proves the rule.

Posted in phalaris | Tagged | 4 Comments