Quality Winners as Broodmares

Listed below are 49 stakes winners from these sales foals of 2008-2111. Listed for each is its name, pedigree (sire–dam, broodmare sire), sales information, and number of Performance Points in descending order (best stakes winners first).

These 49 stakes winners all have one thing in common. Take a couple of minutes to peruse this list and see if you can finger out what the commonality is. I will give you one hint. It has nothing to do with names in pedigrees (and you can see that a wide range and variety of pedigrees are involved).

But do not rack your brain over this problem too intensely. I will tell you the answer shortly after this discussion resumes at the bottom of this list.

I’ll Have Another (Flower Alley–Arch’s Gal Edith, Arch), 10Y11,000, 4,194 Performance Points.

Union Rags (Dixie Union–Tempo, Gone West), 10Y145,000, 3,199.

Palace (City Zip–Receivership, End Sweep), 11T160,000, 2,850.

Belle Gallantey (After Market–Revealed, Old Trieste), 10Y10,000, 1,914.

Zazu (Tapit–Rhumb Line, Mr. Greeley), 08W100,000, 1,792.

Royal Currier (Red Bullet–Top of the League, Lite the Fuse), 10T5,500, 1,765.

Trappe Shot (Tapit–Shopping, Private Account), 09T850,000, 1,204.

Unbridled’s Note (Unbridled’s Song–Siberian Fur, Siberian Express), 10Y150,000, 1,175.

Pianist (More Than Ready–Red Piano, Red Ransom), 10Y100,000, 1,009.

Dr. Zic (Milwaukee Brew–Royal Corona, Holy Bull), 08T40,000, 866.

Traffic Light (Peace Rules–Lears and Limos, Hennessy), 10Y13,000, 803.

Blue Heart (Exchange Rate–Flawless Diamond, Saint Ballado), 10Y375,000, 787.

Black Hornet (Pioneering–Start Stinging, Siphon), 11Y4,515, 782.

Flashback (Tapit–Rhumb Line, Mr. Greeley), 10W260,000, 706.

Wando Woman (Wando–Navajo Rain, Marshua’s Dancer), 08Y12,210, 705.

Nereid (Rock Hard Ten–Dowry, Belong to Me), 09Y190,000, 704.

Longview Drive (Pulpit–Wild Vision, Wild Again), 10Y175,000, 637.

Dougs Buddy (Badge of Silver–Floral Park, Forest Wildcat), 10Y7,500, 613.

Colonial Flag (Pleasant Tap–Silk n’ Sapphire, Smart Strike), 10Y475,000, 612.

Miss Blakely (Smart Strike–A Bit Special, Rahy), 08T25,000, 602.

Bond James Bond (Old Topper–Excitations, Jolie’s Halo), 09Y3,196, 506.

Devil in Disguise (Smarty Jones–Bay Harbor, Forty Niner), 09W17,000, 502.

Awesome Act (Awesome Again–Houdini’s Honey, Mr. Prospector), 08Y240,000, 501.

Sweet Kitten (Kitten’s Joy–Sweet Kassidy, Saint Ballado), 08Y4,500, 483.

Miss Natalie (Fistfite–It’s the Berries, Slew the Slewor), 08Y10,000, 480.

Odysseus (Malibu Moon–Persimmon Hill, Conquistador Cielo), 08Y110,000, 424.

Who’s Big Daddy (Where’s the Ring–Cosa Rara, Tethra), 08Y56,424, 364.

So Elite (Pleasantly Perfect–Izana, Theatrical), 08Y80,000, 360.

Flash Forward (Curlin–Magical Flash, Miswaki), 11Y180,000, 360.

Rapport (Songandaprayer–Irene’s Talkin, At the Threshold), 08Y475,000, 347.

Flash Mash (Smarty Jones–Magical Flash, Miswaki), 09Y52,000, 332.

Delburnsky (Flatter–Deliciously, Distinctive Pro), 11T70,000, 329.

My Irish Girl (Closing Argument–Rich Assertion, Rizzi), 09T30,000, 322.

Strike Oil (Forest Wildcat–Acadia, Silver Deputy), 09Y52,919, 320.

Professor’s Ride (Silent Name–Cosa Rara, Tethra), 11Y75,728, 304.

Really Mr Greeley (Horse Greeley–Mattie Camp, Forest Camp), 11Y13,000, 290.

Doc Hay (Elusive Quality–Coherent, Danzig), 08Y165,000, 288.

Short Round (Pass Rush–Cacophony, Dixieland Band), 11Y23,000, 281.

Grittani (Bold n’ Flashy–Miss Independence, Regal Search), 08Y32,795, 265.

Supreme (Empire Maker–Mon Belle, Maria’s Mon), 08Y80,000, 263.

Saint Arthur (Invasor–Miss Winning Sweep, End Sweep), 11Y34,000, 255.

American Lady (Stormy Atlantic–Comfort Zone, Rubiano), 09Y230,000, 252.

Omar (Bertrando–Perfect Doll, Beau Genius), 10Y22,250, 237.

Private Tutor (Student Council–Senorita Swinger, El Prado), 11Y7,000, 222.

Floral Sky (Sky Mesa–Floral Park, Forest Wildcat), 11Y230,000, 214.

King and Crusader (Lion Heart–Sugarloaf, Regal Intention), 10Y8,000, 207.

Jubliant Girl (Henrythenavigator–Gamely Girl, Arch), 11Y270,000, 207.

Saint Prado (Kitten’s Joy–Sweet Kassidy, Saint Ballado), 11Y50,000, 191.

Corinthian’s Jewel (Corinthian–Rhumb Line, Mr. Greeley), 10Y130,000, 170.

“The third result (exception) that surprised me is that winners were the lowest classification of all. Its average of $34,717 was below unraced ($43,294), placed ($40,322), and unplaced ($38,925). Its maverage of 132.36 was below unraced (144.97), placed (142.24), and unplaced (141.99).

“It is not surprising that the prices for these four categories were grouped so closely together. These are the only four categories that are not black type. And if a mare is not black type, the market tends to treat them all equally, ignoring whatever gradations of racing class might actually exist. I will return to this theme later in a separate post.”

The two paragraphs above are from two posts ago, on prices by racing class of mares. I was surprised that winners (not black type) had such low prices (lower than unraced, placed, and unplaced) and such poor results (lower than placed and unplaced but a bit higher than unraced).

Part of the problem is that that winners represent a wide variety of racing class. Most of them are pretty cheap. Some of them are actually pretty good though. The trick is to separate the latter from the former, the wheat from the chaff.

One statistical measure that helps you to do so is SSI (Standard Starts Index). It measures average earnings per start for each crop, for each racing year, and for males versus females. An SSI of 1.00 is theoretically the average. Below 1.00 is below average. Above 1.00 is above average.

An SSI of 4.00+ is considered to be the equivalent of a stakes winner. Not many winners qualify at that high level. Therefore, I decided to determine the prices and results for foals out of mares who were winners (but not black type) with an SSI of 4.00+.

Unfortunately, it is not always easy to find the career SSI of a given broodmare. You can look up her race record on BRIS’s free five-cross pedigrees (product 105E). But BRIS will not list an SSI on a runner unless that runner has made at least three starts in the same country. For example, if a runner started twice in England, twice in France, and twice in the US, BRIS will not list any SSI for that runner at all.

There are other complicating factors as well, but I will try not to bore you with them. Suffice it to say that I had to invent some way around this problem.

In the course of mining the data I noticed that for some mares (the youngest ones) an SSI of 1.00 might have average earning per start as high as $3,500. For other mares (the oldest ones) an SSI of 1.00 might have average earnings per start as low as $1,500. The overall average seemed to be around $2,500.

So if the overall average earning per start for recent females (dams of sales foals of 2008-2111) is about $2,500 and that corresponds to an SSI of 1.00, an SSI of 4.0 roughly corresponds to average earnings per start of $10,000 for that same group.

So I decided to make average earnings per start of $10,000 my secondary yardstick for inclusion in this group. I looked at SSI first (looking for 4.0 or higher). If SSI was not available from BRIS (usually because of too few starts), I looked at overall average earnings per start and included any mare who earned $10,000+ per start.

That is what the 49 stakes winners listed above all have in common. They were all out of mares who were “quality winners” on the racetrack. A “quality winner” is defined as a winner (not black type) with an SSI of 4.0+ if that number is available or average earnings per start of $10,000+ if SSI is not available.

The 49 stakes winners above appear to be a pretty good group, including classic winners I’ll Have Another and Union Rags. If these 49 stakes winners were derived from 1,500 foals, their results would be pretty close to average.

In fact, though, these 49 stakes winners were derived from only 832 foals, which makes their results pretty !@#$%^&*&^%$#@!!!!! impressive.

These 832 foals sold for prices a little above average. Their prices compare with those of the 5,047 foals out of mares who were nongraded stakes winners.

Category                                Foals          Average          Maverage          Price Index

Quality Winners                    832           $66,572             190.06                   1.24

Nongraded SWs                  5,047          $65,944             197.48                    1.28

Overall Totals                     45,562         $46,418              154.00                   1.00

The prices are pretty close. Quality winners had a slightly higher average than nongraded stakes winners but a slightly lower maverage and Price Index.

Since their prices were pretty close, their results should be pretty close as well. The table below shows the actual results. APPPSW stands for average Performance Points per stakes winner, a measure of the quality of the stakes winners involved, with 662 being the overall average.

Category                            Foals          SWs          %          APPSW          PPI (Result)

Quality Winners                832            49           5.89          739                   2.04

Nongraded SWs               5,047          214         4.24           789                   1.57

So the quality winners were indeed better than the nongraded stakes winners. Now let us look at the prices versus the results.

Category                                 Price Index             PPI (Result)

Quality Winners                         1.24                          2.04

Nongraded SWs                          1.28                          1.57

Nongraded stakes winners performed very well relative to their prices. They sold for prices about 28% above average and achieved results about 57% above average. Quality winners were even better, selling for lower prices and achieving better results. They sold for prices about 24% above average and achieved results about 104% above average.

Quality winners had 5.89% stakes winners from foals. That is higher than any other group in my previous post except G1 winners (7.14%). Higher than G2 winners (4.73%). Higher than G3 winners (4.46%).

Quality winners had a PPI (result) of 2.04. That is higher than any other group in my previous post except G1 winners (3.35). Higher than G2 winners (1.82). Higher than G3 winners (1.94). And needless to say, G1-G2-G3 winners have much higher prices than quality winners.

Granted, I’ll Have Another and Union Rags were two of the reasons why quality winners performed so well, and classic winners do not come along every day of the week. Without I’ll Have Another and Union Rags, quality winners still have a PPI (result) of 1.62. That is still well above their Price Index of 1.24. That is still above nongraded stakes winners (1.57). So they held up pretty well even without their two classic winners. That encourages me to think that this group is for real and not just a statistical fluke.

As I have stated before, I have often been criticized for being too negative, for never offering any POSITIVE angles for breeding or selecting a better racehorse. This angle (quality winners) is by far the most positive one I have ever seen. Particularly for selecting a better racehorse, since its prices are quite reasonable relative to its results.

Finally, note that this angle has nothing to do with names in pedigrees. It is strictly about the racing class of the mare.

Compare that to theories which are strictly about names in pedigrees (with no reference to racing class at all). Inbreeding to “superior” females, inbreeding in general, nicking, etc. The list goes on and on. Not one of them holds up to close scrutiny.

Which reinforces my statement that racing class is at least as important as pedigree, if not more so, in broodmare selection.


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6 Responses to Quality Winners as Broodmares

  1. Byron Rogers says:

    SSI’s, like the Jockey Club’s CPI’s are abnormally distributed. That is, in a population of racing stock, there are significantly more horses with low SSI’s than normal. A more effective description of relative performance would be to transform the SSI via establishing the natural log of this number and then perform a Z-Score to establish at what SSI numbers are the horses one standard deviation above and one standard deviation below the average. A description of subsequent foal performance of the four groups (less than -1.00 SD, -0.99 to 0.00 SD, 0.01 to 0.99 SD and 1.00 or greater SD) would provide greater insight as the SSI would then be relative to the total population of mares in the population, not some arbitrary cutoff which 4.00 looks to be.

  2. ned williams says:

    That explanation is way above my pay grade. Could you please dumb it down for me. My thinking is this and please correct me if I am wrong. Since we are trying to put some relative value or assign some quantitative measure to non-stake winning broodmares, the best way to do this is using racetrack performance through money earned, unless we are willing to dive into the incredibly gooey swampland of allowance/optional claiming/condition races and assign them some value. If we are going use money earned, than the SSI index is a good way to approach it. This index, along with earnings per start, helps us to quantify the value of the money earned.
    It seems perfectly reasonable for Boojum to use the 4.00 cutoff because this is a reasonable approximation for the SSI number of stake winning mares.

    As to your premise that SSI accounts for too many low numbers as far as earnings per start, you are probably correct. However we are not in the least concerned with the number of inferior earners. Even though the number is large it really has no bearing on my thinking, we are looking at the other side of the coin. If we are using this metric to look at superior earners and set a fairly rigorous standard of 4.00, then we should be able to quantify the performance of these mares.

    A look at the winner of the first race at Laurel yesterday may help illustrate the large number of inferior earners in 2014. In 2014 Bret’s at Caddies won about 56,000 dollars. However, it took him 11 starts: 0 wins, 6 seconds, 2 thirds for earnings per start of roughly $5,000.While the 56,000 is nothing to laugh at, and 5000 in earnings per start is certainly better than average, we can see that he is ranked 4,916 out of 56,323 horses in terms of earnings and 10,043 in the rankings for earnings per start. He is not a good horse, yet there are about 46,000 that are inferior to him as far as earnings per start and 51,000 that are inferior through earnings. However, (for arguments sake) even if we lop off the bottom 10,000 horses from each list to account for the “…significantly more horses with low SSI’s than normal”. We are still looking at the vast majority of horses as inferior earners. This is the case, is it not?

    • ddink55 says:

      Ned, I think the nexus of Byron’s argument is that the cutoff number of 4 has not been determined with sufficient science (statistics). I should have mentioned the justification for that number. About 3% of all foals become stakes winners. They can be considered the top 3% of the population. The top 3% of all runners in the SSI distribution begins at about 4.

      “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” The fact that the sales numbers (averages and maverages) for both quality winners and nongraded stakes winners are so similar confirms for me that 4 is indeed very close to the correct number to use.

    • Byron Rogers says:


      The SSI isn’t normally distributed so if you are going to make some assumptions then you need to make some transformations/operations on the data to do this properly.

      The first operation to do would be a transformation of the SSI to convert each SSI into the Natural Log of that number. This would more accurately ‘space’ the datapoints so rather than having a high proportion of the SSI figures approaching 0.00, there would be a better spread of the data.

      The second operation would be to perform a Z-Score/Standard Score on each of the data points (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_score). From that you would have a more sound basis of the ‘groups’ of horses as they would be almost normally distributed (via the natural log transformation). This would then give you some sounder ‘groups’ of SSI scores to make assumptions on. You would then know what the average SSI is across the population and also what the standard deviation was on the population which would allow you to group the SSI’s by their standard deviations.

      The 4.00 may well be the cutoff but it might be less than that. If you do the same on the Jockey Club’s CPI, horses that are greater than 1 standard deviation away from the average have a CPI of 2.43 or better. They are good enough to be considered elite in my book.

      • ned williams says:

        Thanks for helping me to understand your anlaysis. It sounds like the 4.00 is a rigorous standard and may possibly be too rigorous. That said, I would rather err on the side of “over rigor” than the reverse. I think I recently read some your research that pointed in the same direction as Boojum as far as the imporance of racetrack performance in selecting brood mares. Thanks for all your work.

  3. Pingback: Racing Class of Dams by SSI Ranges–Prices | Boojum's Bonanza

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