An ENTIRELY Different Can of Worms

As promised, below are the results for the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale by nick ratings. APPPSW stands for average Performance Points per stakes winner, a measure of the quality of the stakes winners involved. Usually it is a little over 600. For this group it is 710, which is not too surprising, considering that Keeneland September is a pretty good sale in terms of quality of pedigrees and horseflesh offered (and in this case sold).

Nick Rating          Foals          Stakes Winners          %          APPPSW           PPI (Result)

A                            1,230                    58                    4.72             701                      0.94

B                               628                     29                    4.62            876                       1.15

C                               529                     25                    4.73            490                       0.66

D                               539                     29                    5.38            631                       0.96

Not rated                 133                     11                     8.27          1,021                     2.40

Totals                    3,059                  152                     4.97             710                     1.00

Over 4,800 yearlings were cataloged in this sale, but only 3,059 actually sold, and those 3,059 constitute the sample group. Almost 5% (152 of 3,059, 4.97%) of those sold became stakes winners. The A, B, and C nick groups are fell below that benchmark at 4.72%, 4.62%, and 4.73% respectively. Extremely interestingly, the D group was better than all of the above at 5.38%. And most interesting of all, the small not rated group was best of all at 8.27% (11 stakes winners from only 133 sold).

The not rated group was also best by APPPSW at 1,021. Included among their 11 stakes winners were Grace Hall (2,946 Performance Points), Judy the Beauty (2,312), Gypsy Robin (1,499), and Private Zone (1,317). The B group was next at 876. Included among their 29 stakes winners were champions I’ll Have Another (4,194) and My Miss Aurelia (4,147). I’ll Have Another was sold for only $11,000 near the end of the sale.

A, C, and D were below the 710 benchmark at 701, 490, and 631, respectively.

So overall, not rated was by far the best at 2.40, and B was also positive at 1.15. D actually nosed out A for third (0.96 to 0.94), and C was a distant last at 0.66.

These results would have been interesting if the prices for all five groups had been about the same. But as demonstrated in my last post, the prices were NOT nearly the same for all five groups. The chart below summarizes prices versus results.

Nick Rating          Foals          Price Index           PPI (Result)

A                            1,230               1.12                         0.94

B                               628                0.98                        1.15

C                               529                0.94                        0.66

D                               539                0.86                        0.96

Not rated                 133                0.79                        2.40

A was a big disappointment (price of 1.12 and result of 0.94). B was almost the opposite of A (price of 0.98 and result of 1.15). C was miserable (price of 0.94 and result of 0.66). D was not bad (price of 0.86 and result of 0.96). And not rated was too good to be true (price of 0.79 and result of 2.40).

You have probably heard the handicapping aphorisms: “A nag is usually not as good as his last good race. A nag is usually not as bad as his last bad race.” I throw that in here to concede that not rated is probably not as good as it appears to be here on paper. C is probably not as bad as it appears to be here on paper. A may just have thrown in a bad race in 2010 (a little skeptical about that). But since A was by far the most expensive group, the most important comparison to be made here is A versus all others. The next three charts summarize the data.

Nick Rating          Foals          Average          Maverage        Price Index

A                             1,230        $78,281              218.67                 1.12

All others               1,829        $55,783              180.14                 0.92

A was clearly a lot more expensive than all others.

Nick Rating          Foals          Stakes Winners          %          APPPSW           PPI (Result)

A                            1,230                    58                    4.72             701                      0.94

All others              1,829                    94                    5.14             715                      1.04

A was clearly not as successful on the track as all others.

Nick Rating          Foals          Price Index           PPI (Result)

A                            1,230               1.12                         0.94

All others              1,829               0.92                        1.04

Therefore, A is burdened with the dreaded double whammy. A cost more than average and produced racetrack results lower than average. All others collectively did the opposite.

Even conceding that not rated is probably not as good as it appears here on paper, its excellent performance cannot be ignored (especially since it was the CHEAPEST of the five groups). The 133 not rated foals were products of matings that had been tried so few times (if ever) that they literally could not be rated by a computer.

That they succeeded so well suggests that nicks are vastly overrated. After all, nick theory preaches that certain combinations of sires and dams exceed their opportunities by large margins. Therefore, knowing the correct nicks is important.

The success of the not rated group casts some extreme doubt on that. It suggests that the important thing is not so much the combination of sire and dam, but the overall quality of sire and dam. I will expand on this theme with relation to the not rated group in another post.

And a final observation. This is sheer speculation on my part. I have nothing concrete to back it up except my impressions as I mined the data. It seemed to me that the C group was mainly foals whose sire-dam combinations had been tried often enough without much (if any) success. The D group was mainly foals whose sire-dam combinations had not been tried very frequently at all.

The most important thing to take from this study is that A nicks cost more and produced less. It is possible that A nicks would fare better in a study of a different sales population. I have another such study in the works and hope to present it before the end of the year.

A nicks from the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale had very little predictive value of future racetrack success. That is about as politely as I can put it. As some of you know, I can be much more BLUNT than that if I feel like it. But I am feeling relatively mellow and polite this morning. Therefore, I will merely repeat that polite conclusion.

A nicks from the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale had very little predictive value of future racetrack success.

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2 Responses to An ENTIRELY Different Can of Worms

  1. Pingback: Between a Rock and a Hard Place | Boojum's Bonanza

  2. Pingback: Judy the Beauty | Boojum's Bonanza

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