Multiple Inbreeding to Northern Dancer

Both I’ll Have Another and Union Rags are inbred to Northern Dancer. That is not exactly headline news. A sizable chunk of the entire breed is inbred to Northern Dancer.

Just how sizable???? I happen to have some numbers handy. Of 54,244 North American sales foals of 1999-2002, 7,206 (13.3%) were inbred to Northern Dancer. Of 70,714 North American sales foals of 2003-2007, 16,698 (23.6%) were inbred to Northern Dancer. That is an increase of 77% in only five years.

(Just to be clear, inbreeding is defined for these purposes as duplications from sire to dam within five generations.)

Union Rags is inbred 3×4 to Northern Dancer through sons Dixieland Band and Nijinsky II. (He has some other duplications as well, but I will deal with them later.) This is by far the most common pattern of inbreeding to Northern Dancer (through two or more of his sons). Of the 16,698 North American sales foals of 2003-2007 inbred to Northern Dancer, 11,496 (69%) follow this pattern.

I’ll Have Another is inbred 4×4 to Danzig (a son of ND) through daughters Danzig’s Beauty and Aurora. Inbreeding to Danzig through two different daughters is somewhat infrequent, I imagine. I’ll Have Another has an additional cross of Sadler’s Wells (yet another son of ND) through his sire, Flower Alley.

So that makes I’ll Have Another 5x5x5 to ND himself. I call this particular pattern multiple inbreeding, and it is defined as three or more duplications of the same name within five generations. Most of the time three different descendants are involved, but as long as two or more of the descendants are different (as in the case of I’ll Have Another), the pedigree still qualifies.

Multiple inbreeding to ND is perhaps not quite as rare as you might think. I found 2,771 North Americans sales foals of 2003-2007 who qualified. That is 16.6% of the 16,698 total foals inbred to ND and 3.9% of all 70,714 foals.

These 2,771 foals were not exactly expensive. They sold for a gross of $134,386,488, an average of $48,497 (below the overall average of $54,140), a maverage of 161.85 (just slightly below the overall maverage of 163.11), and a Price Index of 0.99.

Included among these 2,771 foals were 101 stakes winners (3.64%, above the overall figure of 3.4%). Those 101 stakes winners averaged 644 Performance Points apiece (above the overall average of 610). So taking both quantity and quality of stakes winners into account, these 2,771 foals had a PPI (result) of 1.13, which compares quite favorably to their Price Index of 0.99.

So these 2,771 foals sold for prices about 1% BELOW average and produced results about 13% ABOVE average. In terms of a letter grade, I would have to give that an “A.”

Six of those 101 stakes winners earned 2,000+ Performance Points. They are listed below:

Round Pond (3,399 Performance Points, Deputy Minister–Gift of Dance, Trempolino, 4x5x5 through Vice Regent, Viceregal, and Nijinsky II, sold for $105,000 as a yearling in 2003).

Jambalaya (3,043, Langfuhr–Muskrat Suzie, Vice Regent, 3x3x5 through Danzig, Vice Regent, and Nijinsky II, sold for $2,500 as a yearling in 2003).

Haynesfield (2,719, Speightstown–Nothing Special, Tejabo, 5x5x4 through Storm Bird, Vice Regent, and Cool Mood, sold for $100,000 as a yearling in 2007 and for $20,000 as a two-year-old in 2008).

Tizway (2,459, Tiznow–Bethany, Dayjur, 5x5x4x5 through Lyphard, Nice Dancer, Danzig, and Lauries Dancer, sold for $140,000 as a yearling in 2006).

Pollard’s Vision (2,330, Carson City–Etats Unis, Dixieland Band, 5x3x5 through Nijinsky II twice and Dixieland Band, sold for $70,000 as a two-year-old in 2003).

Red Giant (2,192, Giant’s Causeway–Beyond the Sun, Kingmambo, 4x5x5 through Storm Bird, Nureyev, and Royal Statute, sold for $350,000 as a yearling in 2005).

I also have some numbers on multiple inbreeding to Mr. Prospector, Secretariat, and Hail to Reason among North American sales foals of 2003-2007. They were somewhat harder to find than foals with multiple inbreeding to ND. I found 618 such foals (278 to Mr. Prospector, 208 to Hail to Reason, and 132 to Secretariat).

Combining their results, these 618 foals sold for a gross of $37,436,242, an average of $60,576 (above the overall average of $54,140), a maverage of 181.59 (above the overall maverage of 63.11), and a Price Index of 1.13.

Included among these 611 foals were 26 stakes winners (4.21%, well above the overall figure of 3.4%). These 26 stakes winners averaged 636 Performance Points apiece, above the overall average of 610. So these 611 foals had a PPI (result) of 1.29, which compares quite favorably with their Price Index of 1.13.

So these 618 foals sold for prices about 13% above average and achieved results about 29% above average. In terms of a letter grade, I would have to give that at least an “A–.”

Only one of these 26 stakes winners earned 2,000+ Performance Points. Dangerous Midge  sold for $120,000 as a yearling in 2007 and earned 2,390 Performance Points. By Lion Heart out of Adored Slew, by Seattle Slew, he is 4x5x4 to Hail Reason through Mr. Leader, Reason to Earn, and Straight Deal.

I should caution that Mr. Prospector had the least impressive results of these four sires. He had a Price Index of 1.20 and a PPI (result) of 1.07. So his 278 foals sold for prices about 20% above average and achieved results only about 7% above average. In terms of a letter grade, that deserves only a “C.”

But overall, multiple inbreeding appears to be a pretty good pattern. If you must inbreed, you could do a lot worse.

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5 Responses to Multiple Inbreeding to Northern Dancer

  1. jim culpepper says:

    Whoops! Back to “incest is best” again. Inbreeding seems not to work because it unmasks defective inheritance, which is ubiquitous in the very best of breeding lines. This apparent burgeoning of culls enables the elimination of all but the pick of the litter so to speak. Given the mind boggling number of culls indicated by the bell curve, a number of replications of best to their best relative is to required to identify anything useful. Interesting how nature uses outcrossing to acheive adequate functionality by averaging genetic mediocrity across a population, diluting the far more numerous undesirable traits as effectively as the good ones are diluted.

  2. jim culpepper says:

    I was remiss in failing to mention the use of line breeding to increase the probability of compatible types; see Frank Mitchells blog, 13 Nov 2009.

  3. Pingback: Gold Is Where You Find It | Boojum's Bonanza

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