Rasmussen Factor–Reines-de-Course

“The Reines-de-Course (“Queens of the Turf”) series was created by Ellen Parker in 1991 as a guide to influential female Thoroughbred families that could be utilized to improve the breed.  Now, some twenty years after its inception, the number of mares given the coveted designation of Reine-de-Course has grown to over 800.  More than a list of names, meticulous research and lengthy articles have surrounded the naming of each family, creating a historical documentation on female Thoroughbred families not found in any other singular location.”

The quote above is from the Reines-de-Course website. I am also adding a link to the list of Reines-de-Course.

Hereafter I am going to abbreviate Reines-de-Course as RDC. The RDCs are roughly equivalent to the designation of sires as chefs-de-race. The main difference is that the latter comes with a mathematical formula for determining distance capacity of each foal (supposedly anyway). RDCs do not come with any such mathematical formula, which is a point in their favor, at least in my opinion.

I have written extensively about the Rasmussen Factor (inbreeding to “superior” females) over the past 18 months or so. Here is a link to the first post in that series.

As I pointed out in that series, in terms of practicality it does not really matter what your definition of “superior” is in determining the efficacy (or lack thereof) of the Rasmussen Factor. Indeed, the definition of the Rasumssen Factor in Racehorse Breeding Theories (page 239) has completely dropped the word “superior.”

Nevertheless, I thought it might be interesting to see if inbreeding to RDCs (presumably “superior”) produced better results than inbreeding to mares who were NOT RDCs (presumably “not superior”).

In my original post (see link above) I listed 170 stakes winners among sales foals of 2003-2007 conforming to the Rasumssen Factor. I have updated since then and found two new stakes winners of the same description, bringing the total to 172. Of those 172 stakes winners, 144 were inbred to RDCs, and 28 were inbred to mares who were NOT RDCs.

Those 28 stakes winners inbred to mares who were NOT RDCs are listed below. Listed for each stakes winner are its name, number of Performance Points achieved, detail of the inbreeding, sire–dam, broodmare sire, and sales information. The stakes winners are listed in descending order by number of Performance Points achieved (best ones first). Discussion resumes at the end of this list.

Round Pond (3,399 Performance Points, 4×5 Victoria Regina, Awesome Again–Gift of Dance, Trempolino, sold for $105,000 as a yearling in 2003).

Notional (1,433, 4×4 La Morlaye, In Excess–Truly Blessed, French Deputy, sold for $77,000 as a yearling in 2005 and $235,000 as a two-year-old in 2006).

Smokey Stover (1,369, 5×5 Grand Splendor, Put It Back–Milady’s Halo, Jolie’s Halo, sold for $140,000 as a two-year-old in 2005).

Jazil (1,291, 5×5 Traffic Court, Seeking the Gold–Better Than Honour, Deputy Minister, sold for $725,000 as a yearling in 2004).

Teuflesberg (1,122, 5×4 State, Johannesburg–St. Michele, Devil’s Bag, sold for $9,000 as a two-year-old in 2005).

Soul Warrior (942, 5×5 Nothirdchance, Lion Heart–Urmia, Meadowlake, sold for $175,000 as a weanling in 2006, $95,000 as a yearling in 2007, and $290,000 as a two-year-old in 2008).

Keyed Entry (823, 4×5 Grand Splendor, Honour and Glory–Ava Knowsthecode, Cryptoclearance, sold for $145,000 as a yearling in 2004).

Golden Spikes (791, 4×5 Sequence, Seeking the Gold–A. P. Interest, A. P. Indy, sold for $250,000 as a yearling in 2006).

Woodlander (730, 5×5 Sequence, Forestry–Madam Lagonza, Kingmambo, sold for $350,000 as a yearling in 2003).

Saucey Evening (668, 3×3 Northern Sea, More Than Ready–Jeweled Lady, General Meeting, sold for $160,000 as a yearling in 2007).

Star Dabbler (620, 4×5 Nothirdchance, Saint Ballado–Meadow Silk, Meadowlake, sold for $180,000 as a yearling in 2004).

Thunder Touch (605, 4×4 Snow Flyer, Gulch–Highland Vixen, Highland Ruckus, sold for $95,000 as a two-year-old in 2003).

Mighty Mecke (472, 3×4 Biddy Big, Mecke–So Cheerful, Fortunate Prospect, sold for $5,200 as a yearling in 2003 and $130,000 as a two-year-old in 2004).

Mulcahy (449, 4×4 Victoria Regina, Tribunal–Briar de la Rose, Regal Companion, sold for $27,000 as a yearling in 2005).

La Traviata (429, 5×5 Grand Splendor, Johannesburg–Piedras Negras, Unbridled, sold for $75,000 as a weanling in 2004, $112,000 as a yearling in 2005, and $1,100,000 as a two-year-old in 2006).

Meadow Blue (423, 5×5 Nothirdchance, Meadow Monster–Arboresque, Cure the Blues, sold for $10,000 as a yearling in 2004).

Catch My Fancy (348, 3×2 Monique Rene, Yes It’s True–Walk Away Rene, Gold Alert, sold for $50,000 as a yearling in 2004 and $150,000 as a two-year-old in 2005).

Uno Mas (324, 4×4 Ta Wee, Macho Uno–Queen Majesty, Regal Classic, sold for $150,000 as a yearling in 2007).

Sparkling Pink (306, 4×5 Victoria Regina, Marquetry–Ribbons, Beau Genius, sold for $45,000 as a yearling in 2004 and $130,000 as a two-year-old in 2005).

Noisy Feet (302, 5×5 Killaloe, Tapit–Victory Road, Ikari, sold for $55,000 as a yearling in 2007).

Howsitgoinghotshot (256, 3×5 Victoria Regina, Regal Remark–La Belle Bleu, Beau Genius, sold for $33,016 as a yearling in 2005).

Ten Churros (244, 3×4 Rose Bower, High Brite–Grana, Miswaki, sold for $10,000 as a yearling in 2007).

Smokin Forest (238, 5×5 Sequence, Forestry–Oxford Scholar, Seeking the Gold, sold for $210,000 as a two-year-old in 2004).

Forest Huntress (228, 5×5 Sequence, Forestry–Chasseresse, Jade Hunter, sold for $110,000 as a yearling in 2005).

Prenuptial (220, 4×4 Charedi, Broken Vow–Global Finance, End Sweep, sold for $150,000 as a two-year-old in 2006).

Snowbound Halo (197, 5×5 Nothirdchance, Snowbound–Sunny Sunset, Sonny’s Solo Halo, sold for $3,000 as a yearling in 2004).

Eldon’s Effort (170, 3×4 Drumtop, Storm Boot–Sandpiper, Rahy, sold for $35,000 as a yearling in 2005).

Sue’s Sweet Girl (169, 4×5 Blue Moon, Meadow Monster–Climb Any Mountain, In Case, sold for $50,000 as a two-year-old in 2006).

The first thing that jumps out at me from this list is that Round Pond (3,399 Performance Points) was by far the best of all 172 stakes winners, not just these 28 stakes winners. Round Pond was 4×5 to Victoria Regina, who was NOT a RDC.

The second thing that jumps out at me is that most of these mares duplicated require little introduction. Victoria Regina, Nothirdchance, and Sequence are tied with four stakes winners each among these 28 stakes winners. Victoria Regina is best known as the dam of the full brothers Vice Regent and Viceregal. Nothirdchance is best known as the dam of Hail to Reason. Sequence produced three stakes winners, including Gold Digger (the dam of Mr. Prospector).

The three most obscure names among the mares duplicated above were La Morlaye, Snow Flyer, and Monique Rene. La Morlaye was the second dam of Siberian Express and the fourth dam of Notional, the stakes winner in question above, who was by In Excess, by Siberian Express. La Morlaye produced two stakes winners.

Snow Flyer was the third dam of both Gulch and Highland Vixen, the parents of Thunder Touch, the stakes winner in question above. Gulch requires no introduction. Highland Vixen posted a record of 12-5-2-1, earned $171,104, and won three stakes. Snow Flyer herself produced the stakes winner Sarah Percy.

Monique Rene was the second dam of both Yes It’s True and Walk Away Rene, the sire and dam of Catch My Fancy, the stakes winner in question above. Monique Rene herself posted a record of 45-29-6-2, earned $456,250, and won 15 stakes.

So even the most obscure of the mares duplicated above had some claim to being “superior.” They were either stakes winners themselves or produced stakes winners.

Now let us begin to compare the two groups, foals inbred to RDCs and foals inbred to mares who were NOT RDCs, beginning with prices.

Inbred to           Foals           Gross                 Average          Maverage          Price Index

RDCs                  4,316        $265,085,738     $61,419             170.59                    1.05

NOT RDCs            794        $49,691,855       $62,584             185.69                    1.14

Totals                 5,110        $314,777,593      $61,600             172.93                    1.06

For all 70,714 foals, the overall average was $54,140, and the overall maverage was 163.11 (with the Price Index being 1.00 by definition). Note that all three groups were higher than those norms in all three categories. Indeed, NOT RDCs were highest in all three categories. So there there was no advantage to inbreeding to a RDC in terms of sales prices. But all three groups were pretty close in all three categories. Price was not much of a factor.

Now lets us compare the racetrack results for all three groups. APPPSW stands for average Performance Points per stakes winner, a measure of the quality of the stakes winners involved in each group.

Inbred to           Foals          Stakes Winners          %          APPPSW          PPI

RDCs                  4,316                   144                    3.34            542              0.86

NOT RDCs           794                      28                    3.53            663              1.12

Totals                 5,110                    172                   3.37            562               0.90

The norm for all 70,714 foals is 3.41% stakes winners from foals. NOT RDCs are slighly above that at 3.53%. The other two groups are slightly below it at 3.34% and 3.37%.

The norm for all 2,409 stakes winners is 615 Performance Points per stakes winner. NOT RDCs are well above that at 663. The other two groups are well below it at 542 and 562.

Taking both quantity and quality of stakes winners into account, NOT RDCs had a PPI (result) of 1.12, compared to 0.86 for RDCs and 0.90 for all 5,110 foals with the Rasumssen Factor. Round Pond helped the NOT RDCs  significantly. But even without Round Pond’s 3,399 Performance Points, NOT RDCs still had a PPI (result) of 0.91, still better than the other two groups.

Now let us compare prices to results for the three groups.

Inbred to             Foals          Price Index          PPI

RDCS                   4,316                 1.05               0.86

NOT RDCs             794                 1.14                1.12

Totals                   5,110                1.06                0.90

NOT RDCs were clearly the best group. They sold for prices about 14% above average and achieved results about 12% above average. RDCs were clearly the worst group. They sold for prices about 5% ABOVE average and achieved results about 14% BELOW average. All 5,110 RF foals sold for prices about 6% ABOVE average and achieved results about 10% BELOW average.

So contrary to logical expectations, the foals inbred to RDCs were actually a lot WORSE than the foals inbred to mares who were NOT RDCs. A number of explanations for this phenomenon come to mind.

If you concede that RDCs have any validity at all, you might simply point out that the keepers of the RDC list have not done a very good job with it. They have included way too many names to start with. They have included way too many obscure names. They have NOT included many deserving names (Nothirdchance, Ta Wee, Terlingua, et al).

Or, you could simply say that RDCs have no validity at all (ditto for chefs-de-race, by the way). I incline toward the latter option.

The problem with singling out names (both dams and sires) and arbitrarily declaring them to be “superior” or “prepotent” or whatever is that, in a nutshell, it is all a bunch of “hooey” (to quote my distinguished colleague).

Singling out such names causes people to attach way more importance to them than they actually deserve. And that does not lead to “improvement of the breed” at all. In fact, it does the opposite.

In each and every pedigree there are only two important names, that of the sire and that of the dam. Anything other than that, to repeat myself, is a lot of “hooey.”

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5 Responses to Rasmussen Factor–Reines-de-Course

  1. Stéphanie says:

    I take great pleasure reading your articles; I appreciate the research and the insight that you put into them. Many of your recent post have elaborated on the subject of inbreeding and I thought this article might interest you http://fmitchell07.wordpress.com/2012/12/25/have-a-very-inbred-christmas/ It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on it!

    • ddink55 says:

      Thank you. I will comment briefly.

      “Unfortunately, most of the inbreeding that actually takes place today is either accidental (fortuitous or inadvertent) or planned by those that do not have access to top-class stallions and mares, and they inbreed using less than first-class animals, with less than first-class results. . . . ”

      I agree 100% with this statement. It probably explains why if you examine ALL inbreeding (or ALL inbreeding to a certain sire or mare), the results are rarely more than a little above average (and frequently well BELOW average).

      “For today, inbreeding to Mr. Prospector through Woodman, Conquistador Cielo, Forty Niner, and Majestic Light would provide an excellent possibility to concentrate speed, acceleration, and class while minimizing the problems of unsoundness and front leg confirmation defects.”

      Inbreeding to Mr. Prospector does seem to work better than to most other sires. Majestic Light was by Majestic Prince out of a Ribot mare and thus had no Mr. Prospector at all. This is a serious factual mistake. Serious factual mistakes such as this tend to undermine the overall validity of a treatise such as this. If you can’t get the FACTS right, your opinions lose all credibility. I am far from overwhelmingly convinced by this treatise.

      I would agree that if you inbreed ONLY to DOMINANT individuals and exercise selectivity in doing so, you will probably get better results. I simply question how many DOMINANT individuals there really are and WHO they really are. Take Northern Dancer, considered by almost everyone to be a DOMINANT sire, for example. The net result of ALL inbreeding to Northern Dancer among sales foals of 2003-2007 was a Price Index of 1.087 and a PPI (result) of 1.085. I rest my case.

  2. Pingback: High Voltage–1954 | Boojum's Bonanza

  3. Stéphanie says:

    Thank you for your informative reply! I was interested in getting your point of view because I do think the statistics you use in your articles offer a more objective analysis of the subject.

  4. Pingback: Reines-de-Course in the Female Line | Boojum's Bonanza

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