I finally finished my first two sweeps through sales foals of 2003-2007 (all weanlings, yearlings, and two-year-olds sold at public auction in North America in 2003-2007). I am not quite done with sales foals of 1999-2002 yet, but I will be soon. Now the fun starts all over again with a new group of nags.
For my first FUN project with sales foals of 2003-2007 I decided to examine sires of fourth dams. Why that group? Because it is pretty far back in pedigrees (as far back as you can go in a five-cross pedigree), and I was basically curious as to how good (or bad) these sires were, individually and collectively, after that many generations.
First of all I ascertained which were the most popular sires of fourth dams (the 25 that showed up most often). They are listed below, from Princequillo (1,046 foals) to Nashua (375 foals). Almost all of the usual subjects showed up, with a few surprises as well. You might be surprised to see such ancient names as Mahmoud (a foal of 1933) and War Admiral (a foal of 1934) still showing up in such numbers. Those two are the oldest of these 25 sires. The youngest are Never Bend (a foal of 1960), Northern Dancer (a foal of 1961, whose second dam is by Mahmoud), and Buckpasser (a foal of 1963, whose broodmare sire is War Admiral).
Some other names that might be surprising are Olympia, Hill Prince, Spy Song, and Ambiorix. All were pretty good broodmare sires, and Ambiorix was leading sire in 1961. Some others who did not make the top 25 include Fleet Nasrullah (348 foals), Polynesian (332 foals), and Raise a Native (293 foals).
Listed for each sire are its number of foals, their averages prices, their maverages, their Price Indexes, the number of stakes winners, the percentage of stakes winners from foals, the average number of Performance Points per stakes winner (APPPSW), and their PPIs (results). For the record, there were 70,714 foals in this group and 2,353 stakes winners (3.33%). The 2,353 stakes winners earned a total of 1,394,727 Performance Points, an average of 593 each. Those are the benchmarks for this group (3.33% stakes winners from foals and 593 average Performance Points per stakes winner).
Sire Foals Average Maverage Price Index SWS % APPPSW PPI
Princequillo 1,046 $68,243 183.62 1.13 30 2.87 594 0.86
Nasrullah 818 67,458 179.53 1.10 24 2.93 614 0.91
Bold Ruler 739 44,828 151.06 0.93 27 3.65 604 1.12
Double Jay 723 47,185 161.98 0.99 22 3.04 471 0.73
Native Dancer 638 56,731 179.33 1.10 18 2.82 497 0.71
Round Table 589 60,092 181.20 1.11 28 4.75 669 1.61
Prince John 579 39,997 147.22 0.90 18 3.11 543 0.86
Olympia 564 55,284 172.36 1.06 16 2.84 605 0.87
Swaps 555 80,162 194.17 1.19 20 3.60 582 1.06
Count Fleet 543 49,504 164.92 1.01 21 3.87 765 1.50
Tom Fool 526 50,707 164.25 1.01 30 5.70 1,079 3.12
My Babu 493 94,833 206.95 1.27 19 3.85 380 0.74
War Admiral 493 74,243 196.71 1.21 17 3.45 712 1.25
Nearctic 485 51,200 163.48 1.00 15 3.09 675 1.06
Hail to Reason 472 79,381 199.93 1.23 25 5.30 877 2.36
Mahmoud 470 57,121 173.01 1.06 14 2.98 619 0.94
Northern Dancer 462 58,050 181.00 1.11 25 5.41 620 1.70
Hill Prince 461 43,847 159.73 0.98 18 3.90 1,007 1.99
Never Bend 439 54,356 161.90 0.99 15 3.42 435 0.75
Sir Gaylord 433 109,559 220.27 1.35 13 3.00 1,153 1.75
Buckpasser 428 69,490 198.54 1.22 17 3.97 582 1.17
Turn-to 428 65,401 152.45 0.93 19 4.44 840 1.89
Ambiorix 396 40,059 143.51 0.88 9 2.27 496 0.57
Spy Song 379 49,839 159.85 0.98 7 1.85 407 0.38
Nashua 375 66,134 178.27 1.09 8 2.13 456 0.49
You have probably seen studies similar to this one before. Similar in subject matter anyway, although not in approach. Most previous studies merely count the number of stakes winners (or graded winners) for a given sire at a given position and list them accordingly. They would list Princequillo and Tom Fool on top of their chart, with 30 stakes winners each, the implication being that Princequillo and Tom Fool were the two best sires of fourth dams because they had the most stakes winners.
The chart above lists other very relevant information. The number of foals, for example. Princequillo had 30 stakes winners from 1,046 foals, which is 2.87%, which is actually below the benchmark of 3.33%. On the other hand, Tom Fool had 30 stakes winners from 526 foals, which is 5.70%, almost twice as good as Princequillo’s 2.87%.
The 70,714 foals sold for an average of $54,140, a maverage of 163.11, and a Price Index (the maverage of the sire divided by the overall maverage of 163.11) of 1.00. Those are the price benchmarks. Princequillo was well above those benchmarks with an average of $68,243, a maverage of 183.62, and a Price Index of 1.13. Tom Fool had an average of $50,707 (below the benchmark) and a maverage of 164.25 and a Price Index of 1.01 (both slightly above the benchmarks). The Princequillos were more expensive than the Tom Fools. They should have been better than the Tom Fools on the track. In fact the opposite occurred.
The most expensive of the 25 sires was Sir Gaylord (average of $109,559 and Price Index of 1.35). My Babu was next ($94,833 and 1.27). Sir Gaylord justified his prices with a PPI (result) of 1.75. My Babu did not, with a PPI (result) of 0.74.
Tom Fool’s 5.70% stakes winners from foals was the best of these 25 sires, followed by Northern Dancer (5.41%) and Hail to Reason (5.30%). Those were the only three above 5%. Spy Song (1.85%) had the worst percentage of stakes winners from foals, followed by Nashua (2.13%) and Ambiorix (2.27%).
APPPSW measures the quality of the stakes winners involved. Sir Gaylord was best at 1,153, followed by Tom Fool (1,079) and Hill Prince (1,007). The worst in this category were My Babu (380), Spy Song (407), and Never Bend (435).
PPI takes into account both quantity and quality of results. Tom Fool was by far the best at 3.12, followed by Hail to Reason at 2.36 and Hill Prince at 1.99. The worst results were posted by Spy Song (0.38) and Ambiorix (0.57).
Tom Fool sired Mrs. Peterkin, the fourth dam of Zenyatta, which explains his fantastic results somewhat. But even without Zenyatta Tom Fool had a PPI (result) of 1.80, very respectable.
Hill Prince sired Royal Warrant, the fourth dam of English Channel, which explains his results somewhat. But even without English Channel Hill Prince still had a respectable PPI (result) of 1.07.
Sir Gaylord sired the fourth dams of Court Vision (5,022) and Afleet Alex (4,666). Subtract the higher of the two (the former), and Sir Gaylord still had a respectable PPI (result) of 1.17.
Hail to Reason sired Sensibility, the fourth dam of David Junior. But even without David Junior Hail to Reason still had a very respectable PPI (result) of 1.74. So the high ratings of Tom Fool, Hail to Reason, Sir Gaylord, and Hill Prince were not based on just one exceptional performer. They were pretty good even without their best nags.
So much for the individual results. Now I would like to examine the collective results. Only eight of the 25 sires had Price Indexes below 1.00 (below average). Yet 12 of the 25 sires had PPIs (results) below 1.00 (average). Only 11 of the 25 sires had PPIs (results) higher than their Price Indexes (outperformed their prices). The other 14 had PPIs (results) lower than their Price Indexes (underperformed their prices).
If you add up the results for all 25 sires, you get a composite of 13,534 foals (less than 20% of the 70,000+ total) with a Price Index of 1.07 and a PPI (result) of 1.19. That indicates overperforming their prices. It could be somewhat misleading though because there is more room on the upside (above 1.00) than on the downside (below 1.00).
Perhaps a better way to look at it is using medians. The median of the 25 Price Indexes is 1.06 (shared by Olympia and Mahmoud). The median of the 25 PPIs (results) is also 1.06 (shared by Nearctic and Swaps). Look at it that way, and the two numbers are right on the money. You get exactly what you pay for, except that the results did vary widely from sire to sire, with perhaps more room for optimism on the upside than pessimism on the downside.
During the course of this research, as my eye scanned the bottom-right corner of pedigrees, the name “La Troienne” occasionally caught my eye. Yes, she still showed up as the fifth dam of some of these 70,000+ foals. After the first year I did (2005, always start with the middle year), I started jotting down the prices and noting the results of these foals with La Troienne as their fifth dams.
I came up with the following 19 prices (in the order that they showed up): $75,000, $120,000, $15,000, $5,000, $4,700, $1,000, $875,000, $8,000, $1,700, $8,000, $2,000, $60,000, $5,000, $200,000, $10,500, $50,000, $200,000, $1,700, and $1,100.
The $875,000 was a 2001 colt by Unbridled’s Song out of Belonging (the dam of Belong to Me) sold as a two-year-old in 2003. Named Temescal Ridge, he was unplaced in two lifetime starts. Not one of the other 18 foals I noted was a stakes winner either.
Those 19 foals had an average of $77,036 (well above the overall average) and a maverage of 169.37 (not much above the overall maverage of 163.11). It was a pretty normal distribution other than that one $875,000 colt. It pretty much covered the gamut of possible prices. Some good pedigrees, lots of not-so-good pedigrees.
That got me to thinking that maybe I ought to track La Troienne as a dam in the female line wherever she showed up (back to tenth dam if necessary) and the prices and results of those foals. Maybe do some other revered “blue hens” as well while I was at it such as Rough Shod II, Almahmoud, Grey Flight, and Bourtai. Could be very interesting. Maybe I will just have to do that.