Racing Class of Dams–Racetrack Results

As promised, listed below are the racetrack results for all sales foals of 2008-2111 by the racing class of their dams, from the highest (G1 winners) to the lowest (unplaced). APPPSW stands for average Performance Points per stakes winner, a measure of the quality of the stakes winners involved. The overall average Performance Points for all 1,467 stakes winners in this group was 662.

Racing Class of Dam      Foals           Stakes Winners          %          APPPSW          PPI (Result)

G1 Winners                        406                      29                      7.14           1,001                    3.35

G2 Winners                        444                      21                      4.73              821                    1.82

G3 Winners                        762                      34                      4.46             929                    1.94

All Other SWs                 5,047                    214                      4.24             789                    1.57

Graded Stakes Placed      920                      46                       5.00            732                    1.72

All Other SP                    4,312                     172                       3.99            570                    1.07

Winners                          16,704                    475                      2.84            603                    0.80

Unraced                           8,675                     243                      2.80           584                     0.77

Placed                              3,802                     109                      2.87            690                     0.93

Unplaced                         4,490                     124                      2.76            721                      0.93

Totals                             45,562                   1,467                     3.22            662                     1.00

These results are all pretty much as expected. G3 was better than G2 (1.94 to 1.82), which was somewhat surprising. That is because they had higher average Performance Points per stakes winner (929 to 821). Animal Kingdom (whose dam was a G3 winner in Germany) is mainly responsible for this result.

With 9,388 Performance Points, Animal Kingdom was rated the best of all these 1,467 stakes winners. Without Animal Kingdom, the average Performance Points per stakes winner for G3 decline from 929 to 673, and its PPI (result) declines from 1.94 to 1.37.

In my last post I expressed some surprise that graded placed sold for higher prices than nongraded stakes winners. The results justified those prices. Graded placed (1.72) was better than nongraded stakes winners (1.57). My bad.

Also note that the percentage of stakes winners from foals for winners (2.84), unraced (2.80), placed (2.87), and unplaced (2.76) are very close to identical (and well below the overall percentage of 3.22). Placed and unplaced fared better than winners and unraced because they had higher average Performance Points per stakes winner.

The table below combines the results above into more general categories. These results are all pretty much as expected.

Racing Class of Dam      Foals           Stakes Winners          %          APPPSW          PPI (Result)

Graded SWs                  1,612                         84                     5.21             927                     2.27

All SWs                          6,659                       298                    4.48            828                     1.74

All SP                              5,232                       218                    4.17             604                     1.18

All Black Type             11,891                        516                    4.34            733                      1.49

All Others                    33,671                        951                    2.82            623                     0.83

The table below compares prices (from my previous post) with results.

Racing Class of Dam      Foals           Price Index          PPI (Result)

G1 Winners                        406                  2.41                      3.35

G2 Winners                        444                  1.97                      1.82

G3 Winners                        762                  1.71                       1.94

All Other SWs                 5,047                 1.28                       1.57

Graded Stakes Placed      920                  1.58                      1.72

All Other SP                    4,312                  1.00                      1.07

Winners                          16,704                0.86                      0.80

Unraced                           8,675                 0.94                      0.77

Placed                              3,802                 0.92                      0.93

Unplaced                         4,490                0.92                       0.93

Totals                             45,562                1.00                       1.00

The first six categories (the black-type categories) all show higher results than prices (except for G2). And remember that the higher the Price Index, the more difficult it is for the PPI to exceed that number. G1 (price of 2.41 and result of 3.35) is particularly impressive.

Placed and unplaced had identical numbers (price of 0.92 and result of 0.93). They turned out just a hair better than expected. Winners were disappointing (price of 0.86 and result of 0.80). Unraced was even more disappointing (price of 0.94 and result of 0.77).

The table below combines the results above into more general categories.

Racing Class of Dam      Foals           Price Index          PPI (Result)

Graded SWs                  1,612                     1.96                      2.27

All SWs                          6,659                     1.45                      1.74

All SP                              5,232                    1.10                       1.18

All Black Type             11,891                     1.29                      1.49

All Others                    33,671                     0.90                     0.83

Again, remember that the higher the Price Index, the more difficult it is for the PPI to exceed that number. Graded stakes winners were particularly impressive (price of 1.96 and result of 2.27). All stakes winners were pretty good (price of 1.45 and result of 1.74). All black type was pretty good (price of 1.29 and result of 1.49). All stakes placed was slightly positive (price of 1.10 and result of 1.18). And since all black type was positive, by definition all others (not black type) were negative and disappointing (price of 0.90 and result of 0.83).

So all black type (about 26% of the population) had very good results (both absolutely and relative to their prices). All others (the remaining 74% of the population, not black type) had poor results (both absolutely and relative to their prices). The former (absolutely, above or below 1.00) is a given. The latter (relative to their prices) is the important part of the equation.

I am reluctant (although not reticent) to declare this dogma, something that is true in each and every marketplace. Remember that 2008-2111 were four pretty down years (especially 2009-2010). It could be that these results (black type versus all others, not black type) are not typical of normal marketplaces. I have often suspected that buyers pay too much money for black type, particularly in up markets. “Only my opinion; I could be right or wrong.”

Just last night I was reading that a panel of four pedigree “experts” all agreed that pedigree is by far the most important factor in broodmare selection. I respectfully disagree. It seems to me that racing class is at least as important as pedigree, if not more so.

Of course, ideally, you want both pedigree and racing class in a broodmare prospect. But most people find themselves having to choose one or the other due to budget constraints. Perhaps I will return to this topic of pedigree versus racing class sometime in the near future.

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11 Responses to Racing Class of Dams–Racetrack Results

  1. Byron Rogers says:

    Humans are generally bad at estimating risk. In terms of thoroughbred breeding, setting aside that the Pattern/Graded Stakes system is generally not a good reflection of genetic merit, we significantly underestimate the importance of race performance in selection of broodmares, and overestimate the alternative. Mares that perform on the racetrack generally have better production outcomes, when normalizing for stallion quality,than mares that did not. If you fix the stallion, say just take all offspring of Storm Cat, A.P Indy or any other top class sire, even though unplaced, placed and unraced mares may be significantly less in proportion to what you would see the average stallion bred to, the production of these groups of mares is significantly less when compared to the mares that could race.

    • ddink55 says:

      That is a good idea–look at Storm Cat and/or A.P. Indy and see what their results are like broken down by the racing class of the dams. I just might have to do that sometime in the near future.

  2. Allison Roulston says:

    Donald Lesh’s extensive study of top class race winners in England, Ireland, France and North America was published in 1978 as “A Treatise On Thoroughbred Selection”. In it he concluded that the only generalization that could be drawn “is that horses which have demonstrated extraordinary racing ability are favored by selection. That is to say, there is a positive correlation between success in breeding a top class winner and extraordinary racing ability of the immediate parents. Apart from this, no correlations exist, whether based on lesser racing ability, relatedness to horses of racing ability, or processes such as inbreeding or out-crossing.”

    “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”

    • ddink55 says:

      I particularly agree about inbreeding. Just once I would like to hear a pedigree pundit admit that 99+% of all “inbreeding” has no effect whatsoever on racing class or anything else,

  3. ned williams says:

    Aren’t we confirming what Papa Joe Estes postulated. Aren’t we confirming what Boojum has already tackled. The racetrack performance of the first dam is paramount until she builds a production record (given that we normalize for stallion selection as Byron suggests). Once a production record is established, it becomes the central piece of the equation. The conundrum exists because we cannot all own graded stake winning broodmares, and if we did it would be to no advantage because it would create a new mean or normal. Further, we cannot know when the genetic soup will come togeather to create a graded stake winning foal out of any mare. Consequently, Boojums anaysis is valuable, as it helps us look at “other catagories of mares” and their overall production numbers. Allison hits it right on the head: “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” It seems that Boojum has once again confirmed this.

    • ddink55 says:

      “Of course, ideally, you want both pedigree and racing class in a broodmare prospect. But most people find themselves having to choose one or the other due to budget constraints.”

      Ned, I was thinking of you when I wrote the above. Boojum

  4. jim culpepper says:

    Inbreeding unmasks recessive genes which may or may not be desirable; thus, individuals with undesirable traits are identified and deleted, so purging the population of poor specimens. The decrease in undesirable traits give individuals which are not handicapped by defects and thus, comparable offspring. The much touted super horse produced by inbreeding does not exist, except where two such unrelated “clean” individuals are crossed and the NON INBRED product so produced, happens by chance to have hybrid vigor, of which most hybrids generally have very little. Of course, defective specimens so produced by intense inbreeding would be sold to suckers as potential blue ribbon breeders.

  5. Pingback: How 'good' does a mare need to be as a race mare? - Performance Genetics

  6. Rob says:

    This is fantastic material!

    I have a few questions which I wonder if you have already pondered, and if not, any thoughts on how the data is likely to shake out.

    1. If you take the group of mares with limited or no racing class, but that have produced at least one high class foal, how would be forward looking (so excluding the first high performer) PPI and price index look? significantly better than G1 winners?
    2. If you took your G1 winners group above (or a superset if you needed more sample) and and cut into two groups, those that had produced at least one GS W foal (or metric to identify elite offspring) and compared it to those who had not, how much would the fact of being a producer effect the results… I often read that the only indicator better than breeding to high class parents is breeding to parents that have produced. But these need not be exclusive, so curious whether and to what extent there is a compounding effect.
    3. I’m quite convinced on your general refutation (or perhaps debunking) or close breeding generally. I do wonder if there is a case in which it might matter. Suppose you compare to individuals to have similarly elite racing class, one is an outcross and one is close inbreed. Do they differ in ability to produce foals of high class? This normalizes racing class and focuses on homogeneity. My hypothesis would be that the inbreeds outproduce but have no idea if that would be born out by the statistics.

    Again, thanks for such fantastic work. I have been engage in the long process of reading your posts bottom to top. Every insightful and illuminating.

    • ddink55 says:

      1. Once a mare has produced a stakes winner, she is roughly the equivalent of being a stakes winner herself. Once a mare has produced a G1 winner, she is roughly the equivalent of being a G1 SW herself (but not significantly better).

      2. If you are lucky enough to have a mare that is both a G1 winner herself and has produced a G1 winner, yes, her future results should be excellent. The prices for her progeny should be off the charts as well. No idea if results would be better than prices. I suspect not only because such mare are so obviously superior.

      3. See He Was Not Unique.

      3. Also see “Did You Ever Have a Dream?”

  7. Pingback: Should broodmares pass the racecourse test? – thebreedingshed

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