“Breed Shapers”????

La Troienne (LT) is a lot more pervasive in modern pedigrees than you probably think. I took a simple survey of sales foals of 2008-2111 and classified them by the total numbers of crosses (presences) of LT anywhere in their pedigrees. Here are the raw results.

LT Presences          Foals

0                                2,388

1                                5,808

2                                7,885

3                                8,527

4                                7,339

5                                5,789

6                                3,577

7                                2,368

8+                              1,881

The average is 3.02 presences of LT per foal. The median is three. The mode (number which appears most often) is also three.

Only 5.2% of the population (2,388 foals) has no LT at all. Which means that 94.8% of the population has at least one cross of LT in its pedigrees.

Of the 45,562 total foals, 37,366 (82%) have at least two LTs; 29,481 (64.7%) have at least three LTs; 20,954 (45.9%) have at least four LTs. And that is for sales foals of 2008-2111. For more current pedigrees, the numbers are even higher.

No wonder you see such babble that horse X is a good horse because it has four crosses of LT. Four crosses of LT is only slightly above the norm. Of the entire population, 45.9% has at least four crosses of LT.

How did we reach this level of saturation? Mainly through some of the most popular sires in modern pedigrees. The three main sources of this buildup of LT are Seattle Slew, Buckpasser, and Dr. Fager.

Seattle Slew is not inbred to LT. Neither is his dam, My Charmer. But My Charmer is inbred 4×4 to Baby League, a daughter of LT. So Seattle Slew carries two crosses of LT whenever and wherever he appears in pedigrees.

Buckpasser is the most closely related of the three. LT is his third dam.

The connection to Dr. Fager is a bit more convoluted. LT is the dam of Bimelech (her only sire son of any note). Bimelech sired Better Self, who in turn sired Aspidistra, the dam of Dr. Fager.

A.P. Indy is by Seattle Slew out of a second dam by Buckpasser. Hence A.P. Indy carries three crosses of LT wherever and whenever he appears in pedigrees (and he appears a lot).

Unbridled is inbred 4×4 to Aspidistra (on the bottom through Magic, a daughter of Buckpasser). Hence Unbridled carries three crosses of LT wherever and whenever he appears in pedigrees (and he appears a lot).

The two grandsires of Tapit are A.P. Indy and Unbridled. That is six crosses of LT right there. And there is a seventh cross elsewhere in his pedigree (which you can find for yourself if you are so inclined). So Tapit carries seven crosses of LT wherever and whenever he appears in pedigrees (and he is appearing more and more frequently as time goes by).

Bernardini is by A.P. Indy out of a mare by Quiet American (who is inbred 4×3 to Dr. Fager). That is five crosses of LT right there. And there are two other crosses elsewhere in his pedigree ((which you can find for yourself if you are so inclined). So Bernardini carries seven crosses of LT wherever and whenever he appears in pedigrees (and he is appearing more and more frequently as time goes by).

Empire Maker is by Unbridled out of mare by El Gran Senor. The latter has two crosses of LT through Buckpasser and Best in Show (a renowned and familiar name in female lines). So Empire Maker carries five crosses of LT wherever and whenever he appears in pedigrees.

You get the general idea. Deputy Minister has one cross of LT ((which you can find for yourself if you are so inclined). El Prado/Sadler’s Wells/Never Bend all have the same cross of LT. The list goes on and on.

Many of the most popular names in pedigrees have at least one cross of LT. Combine them in any fashion, and the number of LT crosses grows and grows over time. Since no limitations have been placed on how far back LT appears in a pedigree, the number of crosses just keeps growing and growing. It never gets smaller.

Listed below are the prices for sales foals of 2008-2111 by number of LT crosses (presences). I have classified them only three ways: 0, 1-7, and 8+.

LT Presences          Foals          Average          Maverage          Price Index

0                                2,388         $33,367             131.55                    0.86

1-7                           41,293         $48,609            153.30                    1.00

8+                              1,881          $64,835            198.03                    1.29

I will not belabor these numbers. They clearly show that the higher the number of crosses of LT, the higher the prices.

Listed below are the racetrack results for these same three categories. APPPSW stands for average Performance Points per stakes winner, a measure of the quality of stakes winners involved, the benchmark now being 694.

LT Presences          Foals          Stakes Winners          %          APPPSW          PPI (Result)

0                                2,388                   76                     3.18             881                    1.19

1-7                            41,293                1,387                  3.36            678                    0.97

8+                               1,881                   80                    4.25             787                    1.42

The first thing you notice in the chart above is that the zero group actually performed quite well, especially relative to its low prices. Included among the stakes winners in the zero group was Animal Kingdom (9,388 Performance Points). Without Animal Kingdom that PPI falls to 1.03, still above average.

Also among the stakes winners in the zero group was Blind Luck (6,880). Without Animal Kingdom and Blind Luck that PPI falls to 0.90, but 0.90 is still higher than the Price Index for that group of 0.86. From which I conclude that a total lack of LT in a pedigree does NOT make it a BAD pedigree.

The relationship between prices and results is the most important thing and is summarized in the chart below.

LT Presences          Foals          Price Index          PPI (Result)          Difference

0                               2,388                0.86                      1.19                        +0.33

1-7                           41,293               1.00                      0.97                       –0.03

8+                              1,881                1.29                      1.42                        +0.13

Yes, the 8+ group did have a positive relationship (price of 1.29, result of 1.42, difference of +0.13). Those who claim that the more LT you have in a pedigree, the better that pedigree is are slightly vindicated.

I say “slightly” because the converse is NOT true. The zero group had a much more positive relationship (price of 0.86, result of 1.19, difference of +0.33) than the 8+ group.

What is most interesting, however, is the vast middle group (1-7), which is why I classified these groups the way I did. This group had a price of 1.00 (actually just over 0.995), a result of 0.97, and a difference of –0.03.

That difference of –0.03 might not seem like much, but is is based on 41,293 foals (more than 90% of the entire population). For the vast middle (90+%) of the population, the number of crosses of LT seems to have no effect at all (or perhaps a slightly negative effect). The zero and 8+ groups were both positive, with the former more positive than the latter.

Add it all up, and it is not exactly a ringing endorsement of the notion that the more LT you have in a pedigree, the better that pedigree is. That appears to be true only for the top 4% of all foals (the 1,881 foals in the 8+ group), while the lowest 5% of all foals (the 2,388 foals in the zero group) actually outperformed the top 4% in terms of prices versus results.

I thought that a comparison of Phalaris and LT would be pertinent at this time. Accordingly, I repeat below my final chart on Phalaris from my previous post.


Presences          Foals            Price Index           PPI (Result)           Difference

1-4                        422                   0.83                       0.64                       –0.19

5-8                     14,524                 0.91                       0.77                       –0.14

9-10                   16,465                0.99                       0.92                       –0.07

11-16                  14,151                 1.11                       1.35                        +0.24

Note that in the case of Phalaris the lowest three groups had negative differences (1-4 at –0.19, 5-8 at –0.14, and 9-10 at –0.07). In other words, a low number of Phalaris in pedigrees did correspond with poor racetrack results. Not so with LT. The lack of LT did not hinder the zero group at all.

The highest groups for both LT and Phalaris had positive differences. The 8+ group for LT had a price of 1,29, a result of 1.42, and a difference of +0.13. The 11-16 group for Phalaris had a price of 1.11, a result of 1.35, and a difference of +0.24.

So the highest group for Phalaris (11-16) was better than the highest group for LT (8+) by a margin of +0.24 to +0.13.

Furthermore, those results for LT applied only to the top 4% of the population (1,881 foals). The top group for Phalaris (11-16) consisted of 14,151 foals (the top 31% of the population). That makes Phalaris’s performance all the more impressive than LT’s. The larger the number of foals, the more difficult it is to achieve results better than average.

You probably have heard the term “breed shaper” bandied about, usually in an advertising (total BS) context. The number of actual “breed shapers” in the history of the breed is extremely low. Phalaris might just be one of them. La Troienne is NOT.

This entry was posted in Bimelech, La Troienne, Seattle Slew and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to “Breed Shapers”????

  1. Timothy Baker says:

    Great post, always enjoy your in depth analysis and insights into breeding truths

  2. AJ Heidelberg says:

    You should also do Lady Josephine and Pilgrimage. Phalaris would be nowhere without them.

    I enjoy reading your posts but would like to see more emphasis on G1 winners because the horses at that levels are the true breed shapers.

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