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Two New Chefs-de-Race
Contrary to a misconception held by many
critics of Dosage, the selection of a chef-de-race is not necessarily an
affirmation of a superior record at stud. That
chefs-de-race usually emerge from among prominent sires is generally true
because prominent sires are more likely to generate sufficient data for an
accurate analysis of their aptitudinal influence through one or two generations,
directly and through sons and daughters. Nevertheless, the overriding criterion for chef-de-race
selection remains the identification of a prepotent influence for type that has
a direct bearing on the correct aptitudinal interpretation of the pedigrees in
which the sire appears. In that
context, two recent stallions that qualify for chef-de-race status are
Buckaroo and Pleasant Colony; both now deceased but still important forces in
contemporary Thoroughbred breeding.
Buckaroo, a 1975 colt by Classic chef-de-race
Buckpasser and out of the No Robbery mare, Stepping High, was a multiple graded
stakes winner of $138,604 from an 18-5-5-1 race record. His major victories were in the 1978 Saranac Stakes (G2) and
Peter Pan Stakes (G3). He is best
known as the sire of classic winner and Horse-of-the-Year Spend a Buck, multiple
Grade 1 winner Roo Art and leading sire Montbrook. Spend a Buck, after a modest stud career in North America
spent the last part of his life in Brazil where he became one of that
country’s foremost stallions, getting among his many top class performers the
internationally successful Hard Buck (BRZ) which was competitive at the Grade 1
level on three continents over a route of ground on the turf.
In addition, he sired the brilliant Pico Central (BRZ), a Grade 1 winning
sprinter/miler in South America and in the United States, and a leading
candidate for Eclipse champion sprinter in 2004.
Montbrook has developed into an outstanding sire of sprinter/milers with
over half of his runners’ major stakes wins being at less than a mile and with
only one major winner beyond a mile and a sixteenth. Runners by Buckaroo
himself won 46% of their major stakes races in sprints despite their sire's own
racing preference for races up to a mile and an eighth.
An evaluation at stud of Buckaroo, his
sons and his daughters generated data from 152 North American open stakes races.
The average winning distance of these races is 7.57 furlongs with an
average Dosage Profile (DP) of 4.15-4.32-13.10-0.44-0.49, average Dosage Index
(DI) of 2.18 and average Center of Distribution (CD) of 0.49.
Based on control data derived from well over 20,000 races since 1983, the
predicted averages for the DI and CD at an average distance of 7.57 furlongs are
4.02 and 0.82, respectively. Quite
clearly there is a speed influence not being accounted for in the pedigrees in
which Buckaroo appears as a common link. In
terms of type, this speed shows up repeatedly in Buckaroo’s descendants.
Spend a Buck, for all of his classic credentials, was a brilliant speed
horse and perhaps one of the greatest we’ve seen in North America, especially
over a distance of ground. Both he
and Montbrook have shown the ability to get the highest-class sprinter/miler
types as well.
By assigning Buckaroo as a
Brilliant/Intermediate chef-de-race, most of the anomalies are resolved.
The average Dosage figures become DP 9.16-9.33-13.10-0.44-0.49, DP 3.59
and CD 0.81. The CD value is almost
exactly that predicted from the distribution of aptitudes throughout the
Thoroughbred population and the DI, while a bit low, is acceptable within the
limitations of the methodology. This
represents a major improvement in the aptitudinal interpretation of pedigrees in
which Buckaroo appears.
We can observe the effects of Buckaroo’s
assignment most dramatically in horses like world-class sprinter/miler Pico
Central whose figures change from DI 3.00 and CD 0.68 to DI 4.45 and CD 0.90,
and in pure six-furlong sprinter Shake You Down whose DI 1.86 and CD 0.50 become
DI 4.14 and CD 0.94.
A consequence of Buckaroo’s
Brilliant/Intermediate assignment is the change in his contribution to the DP of
his foals from 0-2-14-0-0 (equivalent to DI 1.29 and CD 0.13) to 8-10-14-0-0
(equivalent to DI 3.57 and CD 0.82). This
is far more realistic for a sire whose runners have an average winning distance
well below a mile.
Another sire whose descendants’ Dosage
figures fail to adequately capture his total aptitudinal contribution is
champion and dual classic winner Pleasant Colony.
By Classic chef-de-race His Majesty and out of Sun Colony by
Sunrise Flight, Pleasant Colony, a foal of 1978, earned $965,383 en route to a
14-6-3-1 record with four Grade 1 wins including the Kentucky Derby and
Preakness Stakes. He became a
world-class sire of runners including, in North America, classic winner Colonial
Affair, champions Pleasant Stage and Pleasant Tap and Grade 1 winners Behrens
Cherokee Colony, Colonial Waters, Denon, Forbidden Apple Pleasant Variety,
Pleasantly Perfect, Roanoke, Shared Interest and Sir Beaufort, as well as
European champion St. Jovite. Pleasant
Colony’s daughters have produced North American Grade 1 winners Cash Run,
Changeintheweather, Farda Amiga, Forestry, Summer Colony and Urbane. Pleasant Tap and Forestry are successful sires with many
graded stakes winners among them.
Using an analysis similar to that for Buckaroo, 224 races reveal an average DP 5.63-2.57-14.79-1.73-2.14, DI 1.51 and CD 0.29 at an average winning distance of 8.77 furlongs. The DI and CD numbers vary greatly from the predicted values of 2.56 and 0.57 at that distance. In other words, Pleasant Colony appears to be compensating for the abundance of stamina in his own pedigree with a moderate degree of speed infused into his foals. It may be remembered that Pleasant Tap, despite a nominally very stout pedigree, won more races at sprint distances than he did in routes and finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). Furthermore, it is critical to understand that although descendants of Pleasant Colony on average stay a route of ground, that doesn't mean he is the sole, or even primary source of stamina. There are significant stamina influences close up in his pedigree that include His Majesty, Ribot and Alibhai. The Intermediate designation for Pleasant Colony therefore aligns his total four-generation contribution to aptitudinal type with that of the general population of Thoroughbreds.
If Pleasant Colony is designated an
Intermediate chef-de-race, the revised figures are DP
5.63-14.58-14.79-1.73-2.14, DI 2.63 and CD 0.51.
This is an excellent fit to the Thoroughbred population profile at the
average distance and accounts for the overall distance capabilities of Pleasant
His DP contribution changes from a perfectly symmetrical 2-0-12-0-2 (equivalent to DI 1.00 and CD 0.00) to 2-16-12-0-0 (equivalent to DI 3.00 and CD 0.50), consistent with a sire that gets runners on the longer end of middle distances.
These two cases are excellent examples of the fundamental driving force behind chef-de-race selection – the identification of previously unacknowledged aptitudinal prepotence. The statistical arguments on behalf of both sires are equally compelling and outweigh any perception in some critics’ mind that a chef-de-race candidate must meet some arbitrary standard of success at stud.