Purely a Figment

Perhaps some of you are wondering about that noun/adjective combination “prepotency/prepotent.” Dosage attempts to use this concept in its genetic sense.

The dictionary defines “prepotency” in its genetic sense thusly: “the ability of one parent to impress its hereditary characters on its progeny because it possesses more homozygous, dominant, or epistatic genes.”

Dosage evidently believes that all of the sires it names as chefs are “prepotent” in that sense, in that these sires are “dominant” for some characteristics relating to distance abilities. Conversely, they would probably say that the reason they have not named Storm Cat as a chef is because Storm Cat is NOT dominant for some specific characteristic relating to distance ability.

That might all sound perfectly plausible in theory, but remember a theory is all that it is, and reality has a way of blowing such theories to smithereens.

First of all, what evidence does dosage offer that certain sires are “prepotent” and certain sires are not????? Where is their “proof” that certain sires are “prepotent” and certain sires are not?????? Yes, dosage offers reams and reams of statistics. But all of those statistics are based on stakes winners only, and much of it is retroactive. That combination renders most of their statistics virtually meaningless.

The only real evidence that I can see is that certain sires do stand the test of time and populate pedigrees of the future. That has nothing to do with a specific distance ability, however. It has to do with overall quality. The sires that have overall quality stand the test of time. Those that do not fall by the wayside.

What it all boils down to is that dosage “gurus” seem to think that if we say so, that makes it a reality. They wave some kind of magic wand over a sire’s head and proclaim that sire X is “prepotent” for characteristic Y. They have truly come to believe their own bullshit, in other words.

Let us return to the case of Apalachee from my previous post. Actually, I do not disagree too much with the assessment that Apalachee was an influence for speed (although he did sire Up the Apalachee, winner of the Alabama Stakes at ten furlongs).

If dosage stopped there and said that Apalachee is an influence for speed, I would have no argument with it. But dosage takes it a critical step further and says that Apalachee is a DOMINANT influence for speed. That is where it gets into trouble, where reality starts impinging on theory.

Another problem is the generational thing. If dosage said that Apalachee is an influence for speed in the first generation, I would have no argument with it. But dosage takes it yet another critical step further and says that not only is Apalachee a DOMINANT influence for speed, but Apalachee is also a DOMINANT influence for speed THROUGH FOUR GENERATIONS.

It is that FOUR GENERATIONS part that I find impossible to swallow. True, dosage does allow that influence decreases by half with each generation. But if you have read this blog, especially over the past winter, you know that 50% “rule” does not really correspond with reality. It is more theoretical than accurately descriptive.

So even if Apalachee were a DOMINANT influence for speed as a sire (which I do NOT accept as reality), that does not necessarily mean that Apalachee would continue to be a DOMINANT influence for speed in the second, third, and fourth generations. In order to believe that Apalachee’s positive “influence” continues beyond the first generation, you need a huge capacity for swallowing bullshit.

I chose Apalachee for this example for a reason, which is that his name is already fading swiftly out of current pedigrees. It is pretty hard to find. He is the broodmare sire of Artax, and that is about it. It is pretty hard to be ANY kind of influence if your name does not even survive in pedigrees. The same can be said for most of the ten sires (BS chefs) I mentioned in my last post.

And does anyone really think that Apalachee is a positive “influence” for ANYTHING after four generations, even if you can find him that far back in pedigrees????? If you do, I have for sale some oceanfront property in Arizona.

Dosage “gurus” like to bandy the words “prepotent” and “prepotency” around quite freely, as if they know what the XXXX they are actually talking about. If I were charitable, I would say that dosage greatly exaggerates the “prepotency” of the sires it considers chefs. If I were not so charitable, I would say that “prepotency” as it relates to such chefs is purely a figment of their own fervid imagination.

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3 Responses to Purely a Figment

  1. Byron Rogers says:

    As far as distance aptitude is concerned, there is no such term as prepotent. It is, as you point out, a myth of the dosage believers. While it is complex (more complex than just one variation within one gene which it is being made out to be), if mated with the right mares a “miler” can get both sprinters and distance runners. Equally, within two generations you can have a stallion like Galileo, considered a distance/classic influence be the grandsire of a horse like Dawn Approach whose best distance seems somewhere between 7f to a mile.

    • ddink55 says:

      Or how about full siblings who have strikingly different distance abilities. The example that comes to my mind is from about 50 years ago: Bold Lad and Successor (both by Bold Ruler out of Misty Morn, by Princequillo). The former never won beyond a mile, his best win being the 1966 Metropolitan H. under 132. The latter won up to 13 furlongs (Lawrence Realization S.). And Secretariat, also by Bold Ruler out of a Princequillo mare, also won up to 13 furlongs. Needless to say, both Bold Ruler and Princequillo were chefs.

  2. Jim Culpepper says:

    Prepotency does exist in species that are bred with pragmatic methods, but not often in thoroughbreds. Why use prediction and control in breeding when you already control the market and the mystique.

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