Dosage: Pedigree &
Evaluating Broodmare Sires
by Mike Moore
Introduction by Steve Roman: The following is a contribution by Mike Moore. Mike owns Newport Bloodstock Agency which advises owners, as its sole function, on the purchase of breeding stock. His company specializes in locating well-bred fillies and mares that are running for a claiming price and, in Newport Bloodstock Agency's opinion, below their value as broodmare prospects. Newport Bloodstock Agency's client list includes some of America's leading Thoroughbred breeding farms.
This article presents a rational approach to evaluating broodmare sires for the breeder unable to participate in the high end of the broodmare market. As a case study, Mike discusses the stallion Tunerup, a successful if not fashionable broodmare sire.
Selecting broodmares or broodmare prospects to purchase is a trickier proposition than most people realize. There are basically two market classifications of broodmares, those that are in the upper tier market, and everything else.
The broodmares in the upper tier market are those that either have solid families, are by chef-de-race sires, are graded stakes winners, graded stakes producers, or a combination thereof.
The upper tier market differentiates itself from "everything else" in two
ways. First, because mares that fit the above criteria for inclusion into that
market represent a small percentage of the overall horse population; the demand
for them is much more intense. There is certainly no shortage of buyers
with money in the horse business, and a lot of money chasing a limited quantity
of product leads to premium, if not inflated, prices.
The second factor unique to the upper tier market involves the motivations of buyers. While economics certainly play a role in the purchase of any mare, what is called the "work of art" effect enters into the decision making process for purchasing mares in the high end market segment. When a Picasso goes on the auction block, the future value of that work of art is certainly taken into consideration by prospective buyers, but the ego factor also plays a role in the purchase of the painting. Put another way, a multimillionaire buyer isn't going to quibble over an extra million or two to get the painting; he just wants to own a Picasso. You know, the "if you can count it you ain't rich" mentality! Likewise, how many times have you read that a wealthy equine buyer was prepared to go to a million to buy a particular horse, but went higher than planned in the bidding because he or she couldn't lose out because of a couple hundred grand?
If breeders can't operate in the upper tier market, they must get smart about what they buy, because hard core economics is what totally drives their decision making process. To make an informed investment decision, a breeder had better be prepared to do some homework by keeping abreast of developments in the racing world, and by really sifting through available statistical data.
As a case study, we have chosen to evaluate the stallion Tunerup. Why Tunerup? Because there are two recent developments on the international scene that should be of interest to breeders. First, on December 19, 1999, Tunerup's daughter, Hi Friend Code, won the G2 Hanshin Himba Tokubetsu in Japan, a win which boosted her earnings to over $1.5 million (that's American dollars, not yen). She navigated a mile on the turf in 1:33.6, which is just three ticks off the track record. She is certainly one of Tunerup's best runners to date. Were you aware of Hi Friend Code before reading this article? Remember, part of doing your homework is keeping abreast of what's happening on the international scene. There were no articles in any major U.S. publications that discussed Hi Friend Code's win or pedigree.
Do you know who the Horse of the Year was in Japan? Anything about his breeding? Did you know that there are Japanese websites that have valuable racing information in English? Racing has gone global, folks! Stallions are now covering mares in different hemispheres.
The second development involves Tunerup's daughter, Lady Aspasia, who has a son named Asidero that reeled off five G1 wins in Argentina over the span of May to December 1999. Asidero's victory streak included wins in the Gran Criterium, the Jockey Club Stakes and the Carlos Pellegrini. Were you aware of Asidero's accomplishments? Did you read any articles about him in any U.S. publications? There weren't any! South American stakes winners routinely come to the U.S. and achieve major racing success. Many are out of mares with U.S. bloodlines. There are also Argentine websites that are in English.
For Dosage buffs, Tunerup is by Herbager's son The Pruner, and out of the
mare Our Girl, by *Rocky Royale. Nearco does not appear in his four generation
pedigree, which probably plays a role in his success as a broodmare sire.
Tunerup has a Dosage Profile of 1-0-7-4-4, a Dosage Index of 0.39, and a Center
of Distribution of -0.63. Those numbers certainly contribute to Asidero's
success at the classic distances.
A reasonably successful runner, Tunerup won $610,216 and three G2 races, including the Meadowlands Cup Handicap, the Paterson Handicap, and the Hawthorne Gold Cup. He was good enough to place in the G1 Widener Handicap, and he set a new track record at the Meadowlands, getting 1 1/4 miles on the dirt in 2:00.2.
Nevertheless, Tunerup's breeding certainly isn't "fashionable," and that fact had to effect the quality of mares bred to him when he went to stud. He did sire some good runners, the notable ones being Fara's Team (who won the G1 Test Stakes), Ifyoucouldseemenow (a multiple G2 SW), Changed Tune (a Listed SW of $315,920), Justfortherecord (a Listed SW in Canada) and Hi Friend Code (the above referenced G2 SW in Japan). According to the Brisnet Stallion Report, Tunerup has sired 368 runners, 300 winners, and 14 stakes winners from 449 foals to date.
While those statistics on Tunerup's runners aren't stellar, they do highlight a critical issue that breeders must consider. Never assume a stallion's record as a sire is a predictor of his potential as a broodmare sire. Breeders must constantly evaluate available data and performance, and by doing so, may find a diamond in the rough.
Tunerup's success as a broodmare sire far exceeds his success as a sire of runners. Mares by Tunerup have produced the following stakes winners:
Concern (by Broad Brush): A Breeders' Cup Classic-G1 winner of $3,100,000.
Asidero (by Fadeyev): Five time G1 stakes winner in Argentina in 1999.
Parisian Flight (by Concorde Bound): A G2 SW of $535,833.
Love for Life (by Robin des Bois): A G2 SW in Argentina.
Tennis Lady (by Broad Brush): A G3 SW of $283,000.
Can On Tour (by Tour D' Or): A G3 stakes winner of 4 of 5 races at 2 and $125,000.
Concorde's Tune (by Concorde Bound): A SW of $243,000.
In March of 2000, Pickupspeed (1997 by Broad Brush-Wakerup by Tunerup) won the $75,000 Private Terms Stakes at Laurel.
If you turn to page B10 of the Broodmare Sires appendix in the Blood Horse Stallion Register for 2000, you will note that Tunerup mares have produced 11 stakes winners from 129 runners. It is the quality of those stakes winners that is as important as the percentage of stakes winners from starters. The AEI and CI are supposed to point to that distinction. As a broodmare sire, Tunerup has an AEI of 2.12 and a CI of 1.52. That is an impressive spread. If you drop down two lines, you will notice that Turn-To, who is perceived to be a successful broodmare sire, has an AEI of 1.63 and a CI of 1.68.
However, Tunerup's broodmare sire numbers also raise an issue about evaluating statistical data. Not included in the compilation of the AEI and CI numbers for Tunerup are the earnings of the Argentina runners Asidero and Love for Life, or the Japanese runner Hi Friend Code. Imagine the spread between the AEI and CI of Tunerup as a broodmare sire if the earnings of those runners had been included in the compilation of those indexes.
When evaluating nicking potential, all of the stakes winners out of Tunerup mares that are referenced above, with the exception of Concern and Tennis Lady, are by Nearco line stallions. Furthermore, the multiple G1 winner Asidero and G2 winner Love for Life are by sons of Nureyev. How many Tunerup mares do you think have been bred to sons of Nureyev? Count them on one hand, maybe?
In summary, unless you can afford to lay out $3+ million for an 18 year old daughter of Northern Dancer, you had better roll up your sleeves and do some homework. The answers are available, but they don't go looking for you. The payoff may be breeding a runner like Concern or Asidero.