Reines-de-Course in the Female Line

A few months ago I posted on reines-de-course (hereafter to be referred to as RDCs), the female equivalent of chefs-de-race among sires. In that post I concentrated on inbreeding (Rasmussen Factor) to RDCs versus inbreeding to non-RDCs.  Somewhat surprisingly, the former were considerably worse than the latter.

Today I am going to concentrate on RDCs in the female line, specifically as the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth dam of the foals in question. Let us begin by listing the best stakes winners (those with 2,000+ Performance Points) who have an RDC in their female line (through the fifth dam).

Listed for each stakes winner is its number of Performance Points and the name of the RDC in its female line. The stakes winners are listed in descending order (best nags first).

First Dams–Zenyatta (13,705 Performance Points, Vertigineux), Rags to Riches (2,943, Better Than Honour), Balance (2,648, Vertigineux).

Second Dam–Court Vision (6,547, Weekend Surprise).

Third Dams–Awesome Gem (4,481, Royal Ties), Never Retreat (3,099, Gay Rig), Haynesfield (2,719, Cool Mood), Arson Squad (2,690, Beaver Street), Life At Ten (2,678, Belle o’ Reason), Dangerous Midge (2,390, Straight Deal), Pollard’s Vision (2,330, Nijinsky Star), Any Given Saturday (2,184, Hooplah), Red Giant 2,192, Konafa), Corinthian (2,067, Number).

Fourth Dams–David Junior (5,716, Sensibility), Forever Together (5,358, Take a Stand), Magna Graduate (4,183, Frederick Street), Good Ba Ba (3,686, Neriad), Jonesboro (3,051, Recess), Bourbon Bay (2,969, Bebopper), Surf Cat (2,845, Turn to Talent), Zanjero (2,521, Square Generation), Diabolical (2,467, Far Beyond), Kinsale King (2,404, Lady o’ War), Shadowbdancing (2,399, Portage), War Pass (2,383, Bayou), Master Command (2,337, Searching), Diamond Stripes (2,278, Queen Nasra), General Quarters (2,227, Matriarch).

Fifth Dams–Wait a While (5,382, Sleek Dancer), Kodiak Kowboy (4,063, Perception), Benny the Bull (3,953, Cequillo), In Summation (3,026, Bank Account), Ravalo (2,756, Jolie Deja), Shared Account (2,549, Bold Irish), Get Serious (2,523, Flaring Top), Swift Temper (2,397, Nangela), Game Face (2,399, High Voltage), Dakota Phone (2,083, Slapton Sands), Fatal Bullet (2,003, Gambetta).

The first thing that jumps out at me from these lists is that once you reach third dams, none of the RDCs repeat. There were ten 2,000+ stakes winners with an RDC third dam, 15 with an RDC fourth dam, and 11 with an RDC fifth dam. Those 36 stakes winners were represented by 36 different RDCs.

You can look at that at least two ways. You might look at that and conclude it shows the depth of the RDC pool, that so many different RDCs were represented. Or you might look at that and conclude it shows the weakness of the RDC pool, that no name is repeated.

Anyway, here are the prices by generation for the foals with an RDC in their female lines. Some first-generation foals are included in the numbers for the second generation.

Generation          Foals          Gross                 Average          Maverage          Price Index

Second                   480      $109,109,740       $227,312         332.83                       2.04

Third                   2,589      $307,522,471       $118,780         245.71                        1.51

Fourth                 5,568      $349,996,700       $62,859          184.96                        1.13

Fifth                     6,924      $429,383,508       $62,014          176.71                         1.08

Totals                 15,561    $1,196,012,419       $76,860          195.96                        1.20

So about 22% (15,561 of 70,714) of the whole population (sales foals of 2003-2007) has an RDC in its female line. As you can see from the prices above, they sold for prices well above average. The overall average for all 70,000+ foals was $54,140. All five groups were well above that. The overall maverage for all 70,000+ foals was 163.11. All five groups were above that.

I should probably explain that many of these 15,561 foals had more than one RDC in their female lines. They could have had a RDC for each of its first five dams. In those cases the foals were classified by the CLOSEST RDC so as to avoid overlaps.

Getting back to the prices, they afforded no surprises. The closer the RDC, the higher the price, and reality worked out exactly to that expectation (for a change!!!!!). Second dams (including a few first dams) averaged $227,312, third dams $118,780, fourth dams $62,859, and fifth dams $62,014. The overall average was $76,860. The only surprise at all was how close fourth and fifth dams were by average.

Ditto for the maverages. No surprises. They declined from 332.83 for second dams (including a few first dams) to 245.71 for third dams to 184.96 for fourth dams and to 176.71 for fifth dams. The overall maverage was 195.96.

So now let us see if results followed the same general pattern. APPPSW below stands for average Performance Points per stakes winner, a measure of the quality of stakes winners involved, the average being 616.

Generation          Foals          Stakes Winners          %          APPPSW          PPI (Result)

Second                   480                     33                      6.88          1,413             4.63

Third                    2,589                    96                      3.71             811              1.43

Fourth                  5,568                   175                     3.14             717              1.07

Fifth                      6,924                   242                    3.50             648             1.08

Totals                   15,561                  546                    3.51              745             1.25

The results did follow the prices pretty much, with a few glitches. The benchmark for all 70,000+ foals was 3.41% stakes winners from foals. All five groups exceeded that mark except for fourth dams. All five groups exceeded the benchmark of 616 average Performance Points per stakes winner. The totals for all 15,561 foals were 3.51% stakes winners from foals, and those 546 stakes winners averaged 745 Performance Points apiece.  The former (3.51%) barely exceeded the benchmark of 3.41%. The latter (745) exceeded the benchmark (616) by a wide margin.

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

Generation           Price Index          PPI (Result)

Second                         2.04                      4.63

Third                           1.51                       1.43

Fourth                         1.13                       1.07

Fifth                            1.08                        1.08

Totals                         1.20                         1.25

So all 15,561 foals sold for a Price Index of 1.20 and posted a PPI (result) of 1.25. They sold for prices about 20% above average and achieved results about 25% above average, a slightly positive result.

Second dams were responsible for most of those good results. They sold for a Price Index of 2.04 and posted a PPI (result) of 4.63. The other three groups did not exceed their prices. Third dams were slightly negative at 1.51 (price) and 1.43 (result). Fourth dams were slightly negative at 1.13 (price) and 1.07 (result). Fifth dams were right on the money (1.08 apiece).

Much of the credit for these positive results goes to Vertigineux (dam of Zenyatta and Balance in the lists above) and Better Than Honour (dam of Rags to Riches in the lists above). Vertigineux also produced stakes winner Where’s Bailey among these 546 stakes winners. Better Than  Honour also produced stakes winners Jazil and Casino Drive within this group. Oatsee was the dam of stakes winner Baghdaria within this group.

So at least seven of the 33 stakes winners listed for second dams were actually first dams. Those seven stakes winners collectively accounted for 22,830 of the 46,636 Performance Points amassed by the 33 stakes winners listed under second dams. So if you estimate that about 50 of the 480 foals listed under second dams were actually first dams and subtract those seven stakes winners, second dams would have a PPI (result) of 2.63.

That is down considerably from the 4.63 listed above. It is still better than their Price Index of 2.04. So second dams were still good compared to their prices, just not as good as the chart above makes them out to be. First dams accounted for a major chunk of the success attributed to second dams above.

It should be pointed out that Better Than Honour was not named a RDC until 2007, AFTER her progeny Jazil and Rags to Riches had won back-to-back Belmont Stakes. RDCS are named in HINDSIGHT, not as acts of PRESCIENCE, and that is as it should be. Ditto for Vertigineux, who was not named a RDC until 2012, after Zenyatta was retired. So the numbers for second dams are a little bit skewed by the hindsight of naming Better Than Honour, Vertigineux, etc. as RDCs.

Having said, that, however, I repeat that second dams were slightly better than their prices. The same cannot be said for third, fourth, or fifth dams. Fourth and fifth dams in particular were very close to average in both their prices and results. So I would have to say that having an RDC as a fourth or fifth dam is only slightly better than par for the course in terms of overall pedigree quality.

You can make all the lists you want. You can call all the members of those lists by some fancy French name. But in the final analysis RDCs are only names in pedigrees, and they are subject to the same forces of regression as any other names in pedigrees.

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