If You Look Hard Enough–Examples of Quality Winners

Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner I’ll Have Another is by Flower Alley out of Arch’s Gal Edith, by Arch. Arch’s Gal Edith started only once in her career, at age three, winning a maiden special weight race on September 30, 2005, at Belmont Park. The longest shot in the field of seven that day at 27-1, Arch’s Gal Edith contested the pace all the way and prevailed by three-quarters of a length 1:11.58 for six furlongs.

I’ll Have Another sold for only $11,000 as a yearling (and $35,000 as a two-year-old). Buyers evidently were not impressed that his dam was undefeated in one start. I suspect that most buyers looked at the $25,800 his dam earned and neglected to realize it was earned in only one start.

No SSI is available for Arch’s Gal Edith (a foal of 2002), but she easily qualified as a quality winner under the $10,000 rule. Just out of curiosity, I looked at some other filly foals of 2002 who raced only in 2005 and ascertained that an SSI of 1.00 corresponds to average earning per start of about $3,400 for that group. Therefore, I estimate the SSI of Arch’s Gal Edith at about 7.59 ($25,800 divided by $3,400). She easily qualified as a quality winner by either SSI or the $10,000 rule.

I’ll Have Another was retired before he could bid for the Triple Crown in the 2012 Belmont Stakes, won by Union Rags (Dixie Union out of Tempo, by Gone West). Tempo started three times at age three and five (winning both years) and posted a record of 3-2-1-0 for earnings of $34,400 and an SSI of 7.61.

Tempo was a foal of 1992. She had average earnings per start of $11,467. Divide that by 7.61, and for Tempo and her contemporaries an SSI of 1.00 corresponds to average earnings per start of about $1,507. This confirms something I said in my last post, that an SSI of 1.00 corresponds to average earnings per start ranging from about $1,500 for the oldest mares (Tempo being an example) to about $3,500 for the youngest mares (Arch’s Gal Edith being an example). At any rate, Tempo easily qualified as a quality winner.

The only other stakes winner among my list of 49 with 2,000+ Performance Points was Palace (a dual G1 winner with 2,850 Performance Points, by City Zip out of Receivership, by End Sweep). Receivership started 16 times at ages two, three, and four. She was a winner all three years and posted a record of 16-7-3-1 for earnings of $198,300 and an SSI of 4.61. She easily qualified as a quality winner.

Another Kentucky Derby winner out of  quality winner was Street Sense (also a champion two-year-old, by Monarchos out of Bedazzle, by Dixieland Band). Bedazzle started 22 times from age two to five. She was a winner at three and five and posted an overall record of 22-4-4-3 for earnings of $197,455 and an SSI of 4.13. She qualified as a quality winner, albeit not by much.

Horse of the Year (in 2000) Tiznow is out of a quality winner. He is by Cee’s Tizzy out of Cee’s Song, by Seattle Song. Cee’s Song started 18 times at age two, three, and four. She won only once, at age four, but posted an overall record of 18-1-8-3 for earnings of $82,225 and an SSI of 4.38. I could see how some buyers might be put off by a broodmare who won only one of 18 starts, but that is not the important thing. Cee’s Song “had game,” that was the important thing, and she qualified as a quality winner.

Some of you might remember a very nice stakes winner by the name of Bourbon Bay (he won six G2 races). He was by Sligo Bay out of Coral Necklace, by Conquistador Cielo. Sligo Bay was not exactly the height of fashion, and Bourbon Bay sold for $1,700 as a yearling, then went on to earn $969,466. Coral Necklace started twice as a three-year-old, finished first and third, and earned $36,048. She qualified under the $10,000 rule as a quality winner.

I am going to mention two more examples, despite the fact that these mares did not quite make it as quality winners. One is 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb (Malibu Moon out of Lady Liberty, by Unbridled). Lady Liberty started 23 times at three, four, and five and won all three years. She posted a record of 23-4-4-4 for earnings of $202,045 and an SSI of 3.72. Not quite good enough to be a quality winner, but Lady Liberty obviously “had some game.”

The last example is the great Zenyatta (Street Cry out of Vertigineux, by Kris S.). Vertigineux started seven times at three and four. She posted a record of 7-2-0-0 (both wins coming at four) for earnings of $60,480 and an SSI of 3.96. Not quite good enough to be a quality winner, but Vertigineux obviously “had some game.” She was Broodmare of the year in 2008, two years before Zenyatta became Horse of the Year.

I have made a point of mentioning the ages at which these mares won their races. Some people believe that a winner at two is better than a winner at three, which is better than a winner at four, etc., in evaluating broodmare prospects (putting a premium on precocity).

Only one of these eight broodmares (Receivership) was a winner at two. Cee’s Song and Vertigineux did not win a race until the age of four. The other five mares all won their first races at the age of three. Take that with as many grains of salt as you desire.

Actually, you may take this whole post with as many grains of salt as you desire. It is all anecdotal evidence and scientifically useless. It does not prove anything. Nevertheless, I thought my readers might find these examples interesting. These examples illustrate that quality winners come in many varieties and can be found if you look hard enough.

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