Full of Sound and Fury

“Doc” seems to think that “selective” inbreeding as described above produces results that are even BETTER than the results of the same quality of matings without the inbreeding. That is his opinion, and he is perfectly entitled to it. The only problem is that he offered no scientific PROOF of that opinion. And it is virtually impossible to prove (or disprove) the validity of that opinion.


The paragraph above is from a few posts back, one entitled Purveyors of Pedigree Bullshit. One of the reasons that it is virtually impossible to prove (or disprove) the validity of the opinion that inbreeding to the most dominant ancestors using only the “best” sires and “best” dams produces results that are even BETTER than the results of the same quality of matings without the inbreeding is a matter of definitions. Who are the “most dominant” ancestors????? How do you define “best” sires and “best” dams????? Someone is bound to cavil with any definition you choose (especially when they find the results NOT to their liking). That is the main reason why my first impression was that this task was virtually impossible.

Some comments from readers encouraged me to reconsider. One proposal was to use only dams who were themselves graded winners (including group winners). Certainly this group qualified as “best” from a racing standpoint. And as such they were generally bred to only the “best” sires. Northern Dancer was easy to pick as a sire very few people would NOT describe as “most dominant.”

So I decided to give this little project a whirl. Fifty or sixty hours of hard labor later, and here are the results.

Of the 70,000+ sales foals of 2003-2007, 2,052 were out of mares who were graded winners. So I looked at those 2,052 foals and divided them into those inbred to ND and all the rest. If those inbred to ND produced BETTER results than all the rest, then maybe this opinion has some validity.

As usual before starting out on a project, I made a mental estimate to myself. About 23.7% of all 70,000+ sales foals were inbred to ND. That is not quite a quarter (25%) of the whole group. If not quite 25% of 2,052 foals were also inbred to ND, I would expect to find about 500 foals inbred to ND (and out of graded stakes winners). The precise number was 486. So I expected to find 450-500 such foals inbred to ND.

As it turned out, I found exactly 500. Here is how those 500 foals compared to the other 1,552 foals out of graded winners in terms of prices.

Group                     Foals          Gross                Average          Maverage          Price Index

Inbred to ND          500         $115,789,480    $231,579           350.31                   2.15

All the Rest           1,552        $319,523,396    $205,878          342.15                    2.10

Totals                     2,052       $435,312,876     $212,141          344.14                    2.11

As you can see, the 500 foals inbred to ND were indeed more expensive than the 1,552 other foals. The margin was more pronounced by average ($231,579 to $205,878) than by Price Index (2.15 to 2.10). The reason for that is that the ND group included yearlings sold for $9,700,000 and $8,200,000, which inflated their average.

Naturally I made a list of the stakes winners for both groups, the ND group first, then all the rest. Both groups are listed in descending order by number of Performance Points earned (best nags first). I trust the format is familiar to you by now. Discussion resumes after the lists below.

Stakes Winners out of Graded Stakes Winners (inbred to ND)

Hystericalady (4,591 Performance Points, Distorted Humor—Sacramentada, Northair), 03W100,000.

Native Ruler (1,712, Elusive Quality—Tajannub, Dixieland Band), 05Y75,000.

Bold Union (956, Dixie Union—Bold World, Fortunate Prospect), 07Y75,000.

Chattahoochee War (853, War Chant—Buffalo Berry, Sri Pekan), 03Y250,000.

Cat Junior (813, Storm Cat—Luna Wells, Sadler’s Wells), 06Y500,000.

West Ocean (756, Elusive Quality—Ocean Drive, Belong to Me), 07Y400,000.

Norman Invader (741, War Chant—Enthused, Seeking the Gold), 06Y190,000.

Distinctive Dixie (699, Fusaichi Pegasus—A Lady From Dixie, Dixieland Band), 06Y215,000.

Jalil (646, Storm Cat—Tranquility Lake, Rahy), 05Y9,700,000.

Eagle Poise (640, Empire Maker—Reams of Verse, Nureyev), 06W65,000.

Public Speaker (553, Distorted Humor—Gouache, Southern Halo), 06W300,000.

Untouched Talent (544, Storm Cat—Parade Queen, A.P. Indy), 05Y310,000.

Flashing Numbers (530, Polish Numbers—Tanwi, Vision), 04Y22,000.

Potosina (483, Cactus Ridge—Cristalline, Northair), 07W85,000.

Got the Last Laugh (449, Distorted Humor—Theresa’s Tizzy, Cee’s Tizzy), 05Y190,000.

Kentucky Dynamite (444, Kingmambo—Chelsey Flower, His Majesty), 04Y250,000.

Sly Storm (436, Storm Cat—Brushed Halory, Broad Brush), 06Y500,000.

Head to Toe (381, Storm Boot—Crown Jewel, Regal Search), 05Y14,500.

Ravel (381, Fusaichi Peasus—Let, A.P. Indy), 05Y950,000.

Sleepless Knight (378, War Chant—Dream About, Cherokee Run), 07Y60,000.

Elusive Bluff (327, Elusive Quality—Megans Bluff, Pine Bluff), 06W275,000.

Winning Season (291, Lemon Drop Kid—Topicount, Private Account), 03Y500,000.

Willsboro Point (267, Point Given—Petrouchka, Red Ransom), 06Y47,000.

French Dip (241, Speightstown—Mayo On the Side, French Deputy), 07Y270,000.

Total Bull (232, Fusaichi Pegasus—Pattern Step, Nurevey), 07T550,000.

Ballet Pacifica (220, Minardi—Kostroma, Caerleon), 04Y70,000.

Harborage (218, Monarchos—Get Lucky, Mr. Prospector), 04Y100,000.

Dancing Abbie (217, Theatrical—Sicy d’Alsace, Sicyos), 06Y200,000.

Elusive Heat (217, Elusive Quality—Xtra Heat, Dixieland Heat), 07Y425,000.

Glorification (203, Buddha—Victory Chime, Polish Numbers), 06T70,000.

Sugar Mom (202, Monarchos—Plenty of Sugar, Ascot Knight), 07Y11,000.

Khateeb (193, King’s Best—Choc Ice, Kahyasi), 05W360,000.

Amazing Tale (174, Tale of the Cat—Svea Dahl, Honor Grades), 06Y72,000.

Indigo Cat (165, Storm Cat—Bluemamba, Kingmambo), 03Y2,600,000.

Stakes Winners out of Graded Stakes Winners (not inbred to ND)

Jonesboro (3,051 Performance Points, Sefapiano—Mom’s Command, Top Command), 03Y27,000.

Rags to Riches (2,943, A.P. Indy—Better Than Honour, Deputy Minister), 05Y1,900,000.

Unrivaled Belle (2,855, Unbridled’s Song—Queenie Belle, Bertrando), 07Y260,000.

Pussycat Doll (2,297, Real Quiet—Hookedonthefeelin, Citidancer), 03Y100,000.

Ad Valorem (1,700, Danzig—Classic Women, Relaunch), 03Y450,000.

In the Gold (1,446, Golden Missile—Incinerate, Groovy), 03Y250,000.

Consolidator (1,362, Storm Cat—Good Example, Crystal Glitters), 03Y1,250,000.

Ariege (1,337, Doneraile Court—Kostroma, Caerleon), 06Y75,000.

Jazil (1,291, Seeking the Gold—Better Than Honour, Deputy Minister), 04Y725,000.

Icon Project (1,261, Empire Maker—La Gueriere, Lord At War), 06Y775,000.

Ready Set (1,208, Touch Gold—Party Cited, Alleged), 06Y800,000.

Mr. Sidney (1,187, Storm Cat—Tomisue’s Delight, A.P. Indy), 05Y3,900,000.

Old Fashioned (1,083, Unbridled’s Song—Collect Call, Meadowlake), 07Y800,000.

Expansion (1,082, Maria’s Mon—La Sylphide, Barathea), 06Y150,000.

Lemons Forever (1,049, Lemon Drop Kid—Critikola, Tough Critic), 04Y140,000.

Nite Light (1,047, Thunder Gulch—Lite Light, Majestic Light), 04W190,000.

You Go West Girl (1,037, Mr. Greeley—Careless Heiress, Runaway Groom), 05Y62,000.

More Than Regal (987, More Than Ready—Reina Victoriosa, Interprete), 04Y300,000.

Melhor Ainda (983, Pulpit—Potrinner, Potrillazo), 03Y125,000.

Carolyn’s Cat (907, Forestry—People’s Princess, Meadowlake), 06Y650,000.

El Roblar (890, War Chant—Screamer, Roanoke), 03Y250,000.

Honest Man (888, Unbridled’s Song—Oath, Known Fact), 05Y700,000.

Mi Sueno (888, Pulpit—Madcap Escapade, Hennessy), 07W1,700,000.

Mr Gruff (852, Mr. Greeley—Ruff, Clever Trick), 05Y110,000.

Free Flying Soul (823, Quiet American—Ruby Surprise, Farma Way), 06Y85,000.

Soapy Danger (787, Danzig—On a Soapbox, Mi Cielo), 04Y270,000.

Union Avenue (704, Gone West—Miss Union Avenue, Steinlen), 04Y300,000.

Harlington (670, Unbridled—Serena’s Song, Rahy), 03Y2,800,000.

Lemon Maid (663, Lemon Drop Kid—Meter Maid, Geiger Counter), 03Y390,000.

Rock Lobster (659, Mt. Livermore—Tadwiga, Fairy King), 05T49,000.

She’s Indy Money (642, A.P. Indy—Nany’s Sweep, End Sweep), 04Y210,000.

Silver Bird (639, Lit de Justice—Family Enterprize, Tri Jet), 03T40,000.

Cat by the Tale (637, Tale of the Cat—St Clair Ridge, Indian Ridge), 06Y75,000.

Z Fortune (633, Siphon—Fortunate Faith, Fortunate Prospect), 06Y80,000.

Casino Drive (602, Mineshaft—Better Than Honour, Deputy Minister), 06Y950,000.

Silky Smooth (602, Mr. Greeley—Sapphire n’ Silk, Pleasant Tap), 05Y70,000.

Point Determined (599, Point Given—Merengue, Broad Brush), 04Y290,000.

Classy Charm (596, Silver Charm—Classy Cara, General Meeting), 04T310,000.

Knights Templar (578, Exploit—Religiosity, Irish Tower), 04Y80,000.

Boss Lafitte (562, Dynaformer—War Thief, Lord At War), 07T325,000.

Bear’s Kid (550, Lemon Drop Kid—Tap to Music, Pleasant Tap), 05T60,000.

Kiss With a Twist (541, Lemon Drop Kid—Gimmeakissee, Doc’s Leader), 05Y9,000.

Bastille (505, Quiet American—Bezelle, Dominion), 03Y42,000.

Beethoven (482, Sky Mesa—Moonlight Sonata, Carson City), 06W235,000.

Silver Edition (478, Silver Deputy—Sincerely, Meadowlake), 06Y270,000.

Kadira (477, Kafwain—Raw Gold, Rahy), 05W75,000.

Burmilla (470, Storm Cat—Nannerl, Valid Appeal), 04Y850,000.

Flying Apple (444, Rahy—Roza Robata, Fire Maker), 04W225,000.

More Happy (433, Vindication—Apelia, Cool Victor), 07T1,000,000.

Quetsche (431, Gone West—Que Belle, Seattle Dancer), 07Y450,000.

Victory Tetsuni (424, Gone West—Radu Cool, Carnivalay), 05Y325,000.

Fathayer (403, Volponi—Bright Generation, Rainbow Quest), 06Y7,000.

Scipion (394, A.P. Indy—Strawberry Reason, Strawberry Road), 03Y1,900,000.

Unification (389, Dixie Union—Devil’s Orchid, Devil’s Bag), 04Y125,000.

Sahara Gold (371, A.P. Indy—Sahara Gold, Seeking the Gold), 05Y3,400,000.

Fantastic Shirl (352, Fantastic Light—Lady Shirl, That’s a Nice), 04Y170,000.

One Union (352, Dixie Union—Onceinabluemamoon, Al Mamoon), 04Y135,000.

Peace Chant (348, War Chant—Safely Kept, Horatius), 94Y900,000.

Inspiring (347, Goldem Missile—Arches of Gold, Strike Gold), 03Y450,000.

Derive (345, Cozzene—Fluttery Danseur, Wavering Monarch), 07Y225,000.

Gradepoint (344, A.P. Indy—Class Kris, Kris S.), 03T77,000.

Precious Kiss (327, Kissin Kris—Gold n Delicious, Gold Alert), 04W32,000.

Evil Monister (326, Deputy Minister—Evil’s Pic, Piccolino), 03Y500,000.

Alice Belle (318, Street Cry—Camporese, Sadler’s Wells), 05Y18,000.

Avie’s Tale (310, Tale of the Cat—Fly for Avie, Lord Avie), 06Y110,000.

Thundering Emilia (307, Thunder Gulch—Saint Emilia, Saint Ballado), 07Y15,000.

Ballad of Bertie (299, Saint Ballado—Thunder Bertie, Thunder Gulch), 04Y110,000.

Pelham Bay (298, Smart Strike—Brazen, Artichoke), 03Y75,000.

Brushed Bayou (289, Broad Brush—Omi, Wild Again), 04Y400,000.

Keep Laughing (283, Distorted Humor—It’s Personal, Personal Flag), 06Y65,000.

Abuela (277, Giant’s Causeway—Omi, Wild Again), 07Y400,000.

Danon Go Go (272, Aldebaran—Portinner, Potrillazo), 07T400,000.

I’ll Show Them (268, Smarty Jones—Top Rung, Seattle Slew), 07Y600,000.

Grat (260, A.P. Indy—Likeable Style, Nijinsky II), 03Y500,000.

Stage Luck (255, Unbridled’s Song—Golden Ballet, Moscow Ballet), 05Y1,600,000.

Lindelaan (246, Rahy—Crystal Symphony, Red Ransom), 07T500,000.

Willow Rush (245, Wild Rush—Reet Petite, Maudlin), 03T60,000.

Super Image (243, High Brite—To B. Super, To B. Or Not), 05Y35,000.

Amansara (241, War Chant—Marianna’s Girl, Dewan), 04Y150,000.

Olympic (239, Danzig—Queena, Mr. Prospector), 03Y3,600,000.

Scooter Girl (239, Impeachment—Si Si Sezyou, Sezyou), 05Y6,500.

King Gulch (237, Gulch—Parade Queen, A.P. Indy), 07Y45,000.

Vegas Play (236, Exploit—Power Play, Fast Play), 04Y40,000.

Moonee Ponds (235, Mizzen Mast—Lotka, Danzig), 05Y45,000.

Fashion Girl (230, Tactical Cat—Ransomed Captive, Mr. Leader), 03Y500,000.

Miss Goodnight (230, Johannesburg—Night Fax, Known Fact), 05Y56,000.

Win With a Wink (226, Dixieland Band—With a Wink, Clever Trick), 05Y400,000.

Mi Chiamano Mimi (224, Came Home—Fantasy Angel, Saint Ballado), 07Y7,000.

Forest Blue (220, Forest Wildcat—Stormy Blues, Cure the Blues), 04Y180,000.

Tropa de Elite (217, Street Cry—Cincinnatti, Midnight Tiger), 07Y25,000.

Ibn Battuta (198, Seeking the Gold—Sulk, Selkirk), 06Y900,000.

Brazilian (194, Stravinsky—Golden Pond, Don’t Forget Me), 04T500,000.

Winsome (188, War Chant—Blushing Heiress, Blushing John), 03Y100,000.

Golden Life (186, Coronado’s Quest–Gouache, Southern Halo), 04W120,000.

Keystone Gulch (181, Gulch—Antoniette, Nicholas), 04Y40,000.

Belong Again (144, Belong to Me—Go Again Valid, Valid Appeal), 07Y11,000.

Our Table Mountain (138, Fusaichi Pegasus—Hidden Light, Majestic Light), 04Y250,000.

Emma’s Touch (131, Touch Gold—Freeport Flight, Conquistador Cielo), 05Y35,000.

Remember Carina (116, Grand Slam—Verinha, Baronius), 06Y80,000.

A total of 133 stakes winners are listed above, 34 of them inbred to ND, 99 of them not. To recapitulate, foals inbred to ND were 23.7% of all 70,000+ foals, 24.4% of all 2,052 foals out of graded winners, 25.6% of all 133 stakes winners out of graded winners. That would seem to indicate a slight advantage to foals inbred to ND. Let us see how it works out in the chart below. APPPSW in the chart below stands for average Performance Points per stakes winner, a measure of the quality of the stakes winners involved.

Group                     Foals          Stakes Winners      %           APPPSW          PPI

Inbred to ND           500                    34                 6.80             593               1.92

All the Rest             1,552                   99                6.38              626               1.91

Totals                      2,052                 133                6.48              618               1.91

The norms from all 70,000+ foals for comparative purposes are 3.41% stakes winners from foals and 615 average Performance Points per stakes winner. The results for all 2,052 foals were not particularly good. Yes, 6.48% stakes winners from foals is considerably better than 3.41%, but considering the prices involved, I thought it might have been even higher. All 2,052 foals had a Price Index of 2.11 and a PPI (result) of 1.91. You would rather see the latter number higher than the former than vice versa.

The ND group did beat all others by percentage of stakes winners from foals (6.80% to 6.38%). But in terms of quality of stakes winners, the ND group lost out to all others (626 to 593 APPPSW). Taking both quantity and quality of stakes winners into account, the ND group eked out the narrowest of victories over all others, 1.92 to 1.91. It should have won by a larger margin based on the Price Indexes, 2.15 and 2.10 respectively.

I am thoroughly unimpressed and decline to confirm the validity of the original opinion expressed based on these numbers. I do not see that inbreeding to ND improved results. I do not see that inbreeding to ND made any difference at all.

One of the reasons the ND group did as well as it did was Hystericalady, the best of the 133 stakes winners with 4,591 Performance Points. But the next-best stakes winner for the ND  group had only 1,712 Performance Points. In contrast, four of the 99 stakes winners among all others had 2,000+ Performance Points: Jonesboro (3,051), Rags to Riches (2,943), Unrivaled Belle (2,855), and Pussycat Doll (2,297). (And I add that Rags to Riches is underestimated by this methodology because she had an abbreviated career of only seven starts.)

If you remove Hystericalady from the ND group and Jonesboro, Rags to Riches, and Unrivaled Belle from all others, a better idea of the overall merits of the two groups emerges. That is fair because three of 99 is one of 33, compared to one of 34 for the ND group.

If you remove Hystericalady from the ND group, its resultant PPI is 1.49. If you remove Jonesboro, Rags to Riches, and Unrivaled Belle from all others, its resultant PPI is 1.63. So you could argue from these numbers that the ND group is actually worse than all others.

Now if I really wanted to stir up some shit, I might suggest that Hystericalady be totally disqualified. She is 4×3 to ND through Danzig and Northair. “Doc” calls for using only the “best” sons of ND as sources of inbreeding. Danzig certainly qualifies. Northair was not even a stakes winner and was not much of a sire either, as far as I can tell.

But I am not going to do that. That is what cavilers do. They want you to make all kinds of exceptions to the rules (always to THEIR advantage, needless to say). I am the opposite. The rules say graded stakes winners. Sacramentada (the dam of Hystericalady) was a G1 winner. Therefore, Hystericalady stays, Northair or not.

Other cavilers will undoubtedly point out that the 99 stakes winners from 1,552 all other foals undoubtedly included many inbred to “dominant” sires other than ND. So what????? Do your own XXXXing research if you feel like that has anything to do with the price of tea in China.

Pussycat Doll was 4×4 to Mr. Prospector. Considering that her pedigree was not all that great (she sold for only $100,000 as a yearling), the fact that she was 4×4 to Mr. Prospector might have a smidgen to do with her success. Not nearly as much as the fact that she was by a sire who came within inches of winning the Triple Crown and was out of a G1 winner, I would suggest.

Unrivaled Belle was 5×5 to In Reality. Do you really think that had anything at all to do with her success???? She was by a good sire (Unbridled’s Song) out of a G2 winner.

Jonesboro was 5×4 to Nasrullah. Do you really think that had anything at all to do with his success???? A more pertinent fact might be that he was out of a champion three-year-old filly (much to the chagrin of the fans of Lady’s Secret) and a winner of the Filly Triple Crown.

Rags to Riches was 5×5 to Nasrullah. Do you really think that had anything at all to do with her success???? She was by one of the best sires of recent memory (A.P. Indy)  out of one of the best mares so far in the 21st century (Better Than Honour).

Ever heard of Occam’s Razor????? “The simplest of two or more competing theories is preferable.” The simplest explanation for all the facts above is that inbreeding to ND (or the lack thereof) had no effect whatsoever (for better or worse) on the racing results of these 2,052 foals.

Proponents of inbreeding seem to “think” that inbreeding explains everything. From all that I have seen, inbreeding explains nothing. It is just something that too many people make too much of an ado about for no good factual reasons. All the crap that so many Purveyors of Pedigree Bullshit write about inbreeding is just so much bombast. It is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

So let the caviling begin if you feel BRAVE enough to do so.

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4 Responses to Full of Sound and Fury

  1. Ned Williams says:

    This is soooo good. I am a long time reader but have never ventured into the line of fire. However, the more I read and understand, the more convinced I have become of a very simple conclusion. Anyone can back into a reason (pedigree-wise) as to why a horse is fast. We see it all the time on True Nicks and other pedigree “wizard’s” musings. Yet this simple fact remains: The best predictor of racing performance comes from only two places…the racing ability of the horse’s sire and first dam. Going ever deeper into the pedigree is genetically irrelevant and is a waist of time.

    Let the games begin

    • ddink55 says:

      Thank you very much. I did not expect POSITIVE feedback. Maybe I don’t say it often enough out of fear of BORING people. But you are absolutely correct that the sire and the dam together account for 100% of a nag’s genetic inheritance. The rest is all BOMBAST.

  2. Michael Martin says:

    Thanks for the number crunching, and for the unsettling conclusion; gratefully, the word “affinity” appeared nowhere in your post! At first reading, the inbreeding advantage to ND appeared real, and only the number crunching proves it is at best nebulous. Again, thanks. Performance matters more than pedigree.

    • ddink55 says:

      You are welcome. “Performance matters more than pedigree.” That is certainly true if by pedigree you mean NAMES in pedigrees three or four or five or more generations back (as I think you do). On the other hand, if you define pedigree as sire and dam, then pedigree IS performance and vice versa. “Spectacular Bid has the best pedigree in the world. He is by the sire of Spectacular Bid out of the dam of Spectacular Bid.”

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