Menow Versus Bull Lea

“What is the overall scope of influence of Menow on modern pedigrees?”

If you ask that question of the average devotee of pedigrees, the answer would be something like the following:

“Well, Menow sired Tom Fool. And Tom Fool sired Buckpasser. Buckpasser sired the second dam of A.P. Indy. And that is about the total extent of Menow’s influence.”

That answer would be only partially correct. Menow shows up through a bunch of different avenues as well.

Menow also sired Spring Run, dam of Red God, sire of Blushing Groom.

Menow also sired Flaring Top, dam of Flaming Page, dam of Nijinsky II.

Menow also sired First Rose, the fourth dam of Storm Cat.

Menow also figures in the pedigrees of sires such as Majestic Light, Conquistador Cielo, Royal Academy, The Minstrel, Irish Castle, etc.

Considering that Menow figures in the pedigrees of Blushing Groom, Nijinsky II, and Storm Cat as well as Tom Fool, Buckpasser, and A.P. Indy, you can see that he is more pervasive than you might have thought and hence worthy of some statistical consideration.

So I examined the 45,562 sales foals of 2008-2011 and noted down how many times the name of Menow appears. I categorized those appearances into the sources listed below. I categorized Tom Fool, Buckpasser, and A.P. Indy independently as separate entities. In other words, Buckpasser does NOT contain A.P. Indy. Tom Fool does NOT contain Buckpasser nor A.P. Indy.

Just as a reminder, I also counted every time Menow’s name showed up (every presence) as a foal. Some foals had zero Menow. Some had only one Menow. Some had two Menows. Some had three or more Menows.

Prices for the various sources of Menow are listed in the chart below.

Source                      Foals          Average          Maverage          Price Index

Tom Fool               27,798     $45,447       154.19             1.00

Buckpasser           27,778      $44,634       151.04             0.98

A.P. Indy                5,351       $74,919        200.61            1.30

Blushing Groom    9,207       $43,546       149.62             0.97

Nijinsky II           14,280       $50,454       167.04             1.08

Storm Cat             13,102      $52,412       164.59             1.07

All Others              7,534       $37,072        136.63            0.89

Totals                 105,050      $47,515        157.10             1.02

The first thing I notice is that Menow showed up 105,050 times in these 45,562 foals, or an average of 2.31 times per foal. That compares to 95,976 times for Bull Lea, or 2.11 times per foal. So Menow appears about 10% more often than Bull Lea among these sales foals of 2008-2011, which is somewhat surprising.

And there is no chronological bias at work. Both Menow and Bull Lea were foals of 1935 (and both ran in the 1938 Kentucky Derby, the former finishing fourth, the latter eighth of ten, both behind winner Lawrin).

The biggest difference between Menow and Bull Lea is in the all others category. Only about 7% of Menow’s foals (7,534 of 105,050) fall into this miscellaneous category. For Bull Lea it was the majority (53,139 of 95,976). So it is safe to say that Bull Lea was much more widely dispersed throughout pedigrees than Menow was. “Widely dispersed” could also mean “contains a lot more dross.”

The miscellaneous Bull Leas were cheap. So are the miscellaneous Menows (average of $37,072, maverage of 136.63, Price Index of 0.89). Not surprisingly, A.P. Indy was by far the most expensive of the Menows (average of $74,919, maverage of 200.61, Price Index of 1.30). The other sources were not too far from the norms (average of $46,418 and maverage of 154.0).

Listed below are the racetrack results for the various sources of Menow. APPPSW in the chart below stands for average Performance Points per stakes winner, the benchmark now being 701.

Source                      Foals          Stakes Winners          %          APPPSW          PPI (Result)

Tom Fool               27,798            965               3.47         722               1.05

Buckpasser           27,778             923               3.32         661               0.92

A.P. Indy                5,351              254               4.75        699               1.39

Blushing Groom    9,207              392               4.26        739                1.32

Nijinsky II           14,280              589               4.12        752                1.30

Storm Cat             13,102             444               3.39        702                1.00

All Others              7,534              247               3.28         610                0.84

Totals                 105,050           3,814              3.63         702               1.07

As you can see, A.P. Indy (PPI of 1.39), Blushing Groom (1.32), and Nijinsky II (1.30) were by far the most successful of the Menows. Buckpasser was a drag at 0.92. All others were even worse at 0.84.

The chart below summarizes the all-important relationship between prices and results.

Source                      Foals          Price Index          PPI (Result)          Difference

Tom Fool               27,798         1.00                  1.05                +0.05

Buckpasser           27,778          0.98                  0.92                –0.06

A.P. Indy                5,351           1.30                 1.39                 +0.09

Blushing Groom    9,207           0.97                  1.32                 +0.35

Nijinsky II           14,280           1.08                 1.30                 +0.22

Storm Cat             13,102          1.07                  1.00                 –0.07

All Others              7,534           0.89                  0.84                –0.05

Totals                 105,050          1.02                  1.07                +0.05

Blushing Groom was the big winner at +0.35. Nijinsky II was also very good at +0.22. Storm Cat (–0.07), Buckpasser (–0.06), and all others (–0.05) were the worst. A.P. Indy (+0.09) and Tom Fool (+0.05) were slightly positive.

Stir it all together, and the 105,050 foals of Menow posted a price of 1.02 and a result of 1.07. They sold for prices about 2% above average and achieved results about 7% above average. Not bad at all for that volume of foals. Better, in fact, than Bull Lea, whose descendants sold for a price of 1.00 and achieved a result of 1.01.

Tom Fool was the only son of Menow to have survived into modern pedigrees. I thought it might be interesting to divide these results by sex of the source. The descendants of Menow through a male source all come through Tom Fool (including Buckpasser and A.P. Indy). All other descendants of Menow come through a female source (Blushing Groom, Nijinsky II, Storm Cat, and miscellaneous). Prices are summarized below.

Source                           Foals          Average          Maverage          Price Index

Male (Tom Fool)        60,927        $47,665              156.83                   1.02

Female (all others)    44,123        $47,309              157.49                    1.02

As you can see, prices for the two groups are virtually identical.

Source                           Foals          Stakes Winners          %          APPPSW          PPI (Result)

Male (Tom Fool)        60,927                  2,142                3.52             693                    1.02

Female (all others)    44,123                  1,672                 3.79              715                    1.13

As you can see, the female group is significantly better than the male group. Since both groups had the same Price Index of 1.02, it is easy to see that the male group was right on the money (price of 1.02, result of 1.02). The female group outperformed (price of 1.02, result of 1.13, difference of +0.11).

Blushing Groom and Nijinsky II were the reasons the female group outperformed its prices. Storm Cat and all others were a drag on this group.

To recapitulate, Menow shows up about 10% more often than Bull Lea among these sales foals of 2008-2111. Menow is also better than Bull Lea. The former has a difference of +0.05, the latter +0.01 (due to rounding; actually closer to +0.0024).

The descendants of Menow through a female source (especially through Blushing Groom and Nijinsky II) are better than the descendants of Menow through a male source. This is somewhat amusing because most people are not even aware of all the descendants of Menow through a female source. Their familiarity extends only to the male sources.

I must admit that I undertook these two projects on Bull Lea and Menow more for the intellectual challenge of it than for any other reason.

All of this has little to do with breeding/buying/developing/racing a better horse (and that is the whole point of the exercise). Sires and dams (first generation) are much more important than any other names in pedigrees, especially names many generations back.

Having said that, however, in order to have some fun with pedigrees, sometimes you have to go back many generations to make your point. Both Bull Lea and Menow illustrate that point (the former better than the latter). What inevitably happens to names in pedigrees is that sooner or later (sometimes a long time later, sometimes a short time later) both their overall prices and overall results converge on the average of 1.00.

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