Chronology, Fifth Generation

I have always been fascinated by the chronology of Thoroughbred pedigrees (studies on birth rank, age of mares, etc.). It has been proven pretty conclusively that age does have some effect on results in the first generation (at least for dams). I have often wondered if age (chronology) had any effect at all after several generations. As usual, my “thirst for knowledge” prompted me to try to find out.

So I classified these 70,000+ foals (all weanlings, yearlings, and two-year-olds sold in North America in 2003-2007) by the year in which their fifth dams were born and by the year in which the sire of their fourth dams were born. Because I am looking at two ancestors for each foal and counting each ancestor as a separate foal, the totals are more than 141,000 foals. The time ranges chosen were before 1930, 1930-1939, 1940-1949, 1950-1950, 1960-1969, and 1970+ (1970 or later).

As you can see from the chart below, the largest group is the 1950s (52,068 foals), followed by the 1940s (43,398 foals), the 1960s (25,610 foals), the 1930s (14,975 foals), before 1930 (3,359 foals), and 1970 or later (2,018 foals). The sample group is composed of foals of 2001 to 2007. An average Thoroughbred generation is about 11 years. So it seems perfectly logical that the two biggest groups are the 1950s and the 1940s.

Listed for each group is the number of foals, their average 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 the PPI (result).

Year of Birth    Foals     Average      Maverage     Price Index     SWS     %     APPPSW     PPI

Before 1930     3,359     $41,219         144.45              0.89             68      2.02      580        0.60

1930-1939       14,975     49,374         155.13               0.95           393     2.62       524        0.70

1940-1949       43,398     53,366        162.49               1.00         1,279     2.95      626        0.94

1950-1959       52,068     55,921        165.66               1.02         1,872     3.60      603        1.10

1960-1969       25,610     55,805        165.85               1.02           982      3.83      564        1.10

1970+                 2,018     60,566        166.36               1.02            112      5.55      544        1.53

As you can see, prices almost uniformly increase with lesser age. Before 1930 averaged $41,219, the 1930s averaged $49,374, the 1940s averaged $53,366, the 1950s averaged $55,921, the 1960s averaged $55,805 (the only glitch), and 1970+ averaged $60,566.

The maverages did not have any glitches, rising from 144.45 for before 1930 to 166.36 for 1970+. The Price Indexes are a function of the maverages and do the same, rising from 0.89 for before 1930 to 1.02 for each of the three youngest groups.

So judging by the prices, buyers expected the younger groups to be slightly better than the older groups (emphasis on the slightly, the Price Indexes ranging only from 0.89 to 1.02).

In terms of percentages of stakes winners from foals, the results showed much more than a slight difference. The percentage of stakes winners from foals increased from a paltry 2.02% (compared to the benchmark of 3.33%) for before 1930 to 2.62% for 1930-1939 to 2.95% for 1940-1949 to 3.60% for 1950-1959 to 3.83% for 1960-1969 and to 5.55% for 1070+ (the smallest group).

The benchmark for average number of Performance Points per stakes winner (APPPSW, which measures quality of stakes winners) was 593. The 1940s were best by this measure at 626, followed by the 1950s at 603. The other four groups were all below 593.

The PPI (results) takes both quantity and quality of stakes winners into account (with the benchmark being 1.00). It rose from 0.60 for before 1930 to 0.70 for 1930-1939 to 0.94 for 1940-1949 to 1.10 for both 1950-1959 and 1960-1969 and to 1.53 for 1970+ (the smallest group).

The oldest three groups were underperfomers. Before 1930 had a Price Index of 0.87 and a PPI (result) of 0.60. The 1930s had a Price Index of 0.96 and a PPI (result) of 0.70. The 1940s had a Price Index of 1.00 and a PPI (result) of 0.94. The youngest three groups were all overperformers. The 1950s and 1960s had the exact same results (a Price Index of 1.02 and a PPI of 1.10). The 1970s or later also had a Price Index of 1.02 but a PPI (result) of 1.53.

The next two charts break down the prices and results by sex. They follow the same general pattern, with a few more glitches. I am not going to elaborate on them.

Males Only

Year of Birth    Foals     Average      Maverage     Price Index     SWS     %     APPPSW     PPI

Before 1930     2,030     $37,480         141.23              0.87             36      1.77      489        0.44

1930-1939         7,570     49,776          155.41               0.95           210     2.77       551       0.77

1940-1949       22,271     54,051         163.50              1.00            655     2.94      627        0.94

1950-1959       25,722      55,256        164.54               1.01            966     3.76      597        1.14

1960-1969       12,360     56,926         167.78               1.03           438      3.54      564        1.01

1970+                     761      61,620        162.80               1.00            48       6.31      552        1.77

Females Only

Year of Birth    Foals     Average      Maverage     Price Index     SWS     %     APPPSW     PPI

Before 1930      1,329     $46,930         149.36              0.92             32      2.41      682       0.83

1930-1939        7,405      48,964          154.84              0.95           183      2.47       493       0.62

1940-1949       21,127      52,644         161.43              0.99            624     2.95       624       0.93

1950-1959       26,346     56,570        166.75               1.02            906     3.44       609       1.06

1960-1969       13,250     54,759        164.05               1.01            544      4.11      564        1.17

1970+                 1,257      59,927        168.51               1.03              64      5.09      537        1.39

Next I am going to list all stakes winners with 2,000+ Performance Points and how they fall into these categories.

Before 1930: Sun King (3,240, female), Showing Up (3,161, male), Rags to Riches (2,943, female), Monashee (2,394, female).

1930-1939: Sun King (3,240, male), Showing Up (3,161, female), Soldier’s Dancer (2,825, female), Arson Squad (2,682, male), Haynesfield (2,467, male), Dangerous Midge (2,390, male and female), Master Command (2,337, male and female), Naughty New Yorker (2,287, female), Panty Raid (2,152, male), Dancing Silks (2,087, male).

1940-1949: Zenyatta (13,705, male and female), English Channel (8,219, male and female), Gladiatorus (5,173, male), Informed Decision (4,914, male and female), Hystericalady (4,391, male and female), Kodiak Kowboy (4,063, male), Stardom Bound (3,862, female), Good Ba Ba (3,485, male), Round Pond (3,399, male and female), Brother Derek (3,311, female), Awesome Gem (3,304, male), Rio de La Plata (3,160, female), Jonesboro (3,051, male and female), Jambalaya (3,043, male), Pioneerof the Nile (3,034, male), In Summation (3,026, male and female), Rags to Riches (2,943, male), Macho Again (2,926, female), Gayego (2,851, male), Soldier’s Dancer (2,825, male), Unrivaled Belle (2,790, male and female), Octave (2,761, male and female), Arson Squad (2,682, female), Silver Train (2,659, male and female), Balance (2,648, male and female), Shared Account (2,540, female), Henny Hughes (2,525, male and female), Seattle Smooth (2,501, male and female), Haynesfield (2,467, female), Thorn Song (2,433, male and female), Kinsale King (2,402, male and female), Monashee (2,394, male), War Pass (2,383, male and female), Cosmonaut (2,298, female), Naughty New Yorker (2,287, male), Arravale (2,230, male and female), River’s Prayer (2,222, male), Get Serious (2,201, male and female), Any Given Saturday (2,184, male and female), General Quarters (2,165, female), Panty Raid (2,152, female), Spaghetti Mouse (2,148, female), Dancing Silks (2,087, female), Miraculous Miss (2,032, male), Lord Shanakill (2,009, male).

1950-1959: Curlin (13,802, male and female), Kip Deville (5,925, male and female), David Junior (5,716, male and female), Forever Together (5,358, male and female), Big Brown (5,315, male), Court Vision (5,022, male and female), Afleet Alex (4,666, male and female), Midnight Lute (4,091, male and female), Kodiak Kowboy (4,063, female), Magna Graduate (3,883, male and female), Stardom Bound (3,862, male), Benny the Bull (3,553, female), Good Ba Ba (3,485, female), Brother Derek (3,311, male), Awesome Gem (3,304, female), Rio de La Plata (3,160, male), Jambalaya (3,043, female), Pioneerof the Nile (3,034, female), Macho Again (2,926, male), Gayego (2,851, female), Surf Cat (2,845, male and female), Scat Daddy (2,734, male), Life At Ten (2,661, male and female), Shared Account (2,540, male), Gotta Have Her (2,533, female), Roman Ruler (2,521, male and female), Zanjero (2,521, male), Game Face (2,399, male and female), Pollard’s Vision (2,330, male), Cosmonaut (2,298, male), Ravalo (2,281, male and female), Bear Now (2,254, male and female), Red Giant (2,192, female), General Quarters (2,165, male), Spaghetti Mouse (2,148, male), Capt. Candyman Can (2,132, male and female), Friendly Island (2,070, male), Miraculous Miss (2,032, female).

1960-1969: Wait a While (5,382, male and female), Big Brown (5,315, female), Gladiatorus (5,173, male), Benny the Bull (3,553, male), Unbridled Belle (3,310, male and female), Mine That Bird (3,029, male and female), Scat Daddy (2,734, female), Leah’s Secret (2,559, male and female), Gotta Have Her (2,533, male), Zanjero (2,521, female), Diabolical (2,405, male and female), Swift Temper (2,397, male and female), Pollard’s Vision (2,330, female), Big City Man (2,322, male and female), Pussycat Doll (2,297, male), River’s Prayer (2,222, female), Red Giant (2,192, male), Rail Trip (2,190, male), Dream Rush (2,179, male and female), Dakota Phone (2,083, male and female), Friendly Island (2,070, female), Corinthian (2,067, male and female), Lord Shanakill (2,009, female), Adieu (2,008, male and female).

1970+: Pussycat Doll (2,297, female), Rail Trip (2,190, female).

Notice that 1940-1949 lists 45 stakes winners with 2,000+ Performance Points, compared to only 38 for 1950-1959 (although the latter has slightly more foals than the former). So 1940-1949 did a good job of hitting the home run, but it just did not produce enough singles and doubles to go along with all of those homers (witness its overall PPI of 0.94).

Notice also that 1960-1969 produced 24 stakes winners with 2,000+ Performance Points, compared to only ten for 1930-1939. The former did have 71% more foals than the latter. The former produced 140% more stakes winners with 2,000+ Performance Points than the latter.

I am surprised that the differences in the results were as large as they were. Frankly I thought that if any differences showed up at all, they would probably reflect the differences in prices and little more. Something like 0.89 to 1.02 (the spread of the Price Indexes), not 0.60 to 1.53 (the actual spread of the PPIs).

One reason that these results turned out as they did might be that sales foals as a general group are better than the overall population. Younger with good pedigrees and good race records might work just fine. Younger with poor pedigrees and poor race records is not recommended at all and probably would not work at all. Pedigrees and race records (or vice versa, if you prefer) remain the most important variables. Chronology (age) is a minor consideration at best.

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