aptitude, audley farm, biomechanics, bob baffert, conformation, dosage, franco varola, herd dynamic, keeneland, kerry thomas, lemhi go, northern dancer, nw management, quiet american, raise a native, rare beauty, smarty jones, thomas herding technique, typology
In selecting broodmares and mating them to stallions, there are almost as many opinions as there are buyers. Really promising physiques attract my attention, especially when allied with good racing performance. I tend to evaluate this in terms of biomechanical quality. (There are several posts on this blog regarding biomechanics available to read from last month.)
Kerry Thomas, who has developed Thomas Herding Technique, uses equine psychology and behavior characteristics to evaluate prospects. Read more about Thomas and his approach here, which also includes a 10-minute video with trainer Bob Baffert.
Another line of evaluation is deep pedigree theory and study, such as that used by Franco Varola, developer of the typology of Thoroughbred aptitudes that he described using dosage. I wrote about Varola just a few days ago (here) and was thrilled to find that Varola, as consultant to breeder Audley Farm, was involved in the production of both a mare that I own and her half-sister, whom Thomas selected as an outstanding foundation mare at the recently concluded Keeneland November sale.
The primary attraction in my purchase of G2 winner Lemhi Go was her racing class, which was quite high, allied with her pedigree. She carries no Raise a Native, and her only Northern Dancer is through that stallion’s son Giboulee, sire of Lemhi Go’s dam Midnight Rapture. Not surprisingly for a high-class racemare, Lemhi Go is a scopey mare with quality and presence. She also has a smooth, lengthy walk that is lovely to watch.
In evaluating her half-sister Rare Beauty at Keeneland, Thomas noted that Rare Beauty “was in a class by herself” as a broodmare. Thomas makes his observations purely by eye, watching horses alone or in company with others. Using the horse’s own actions to gain insight about its attitudes, he said that Rare Beauty was “the most emotionally sound, mentally prepared, highest herd dynamic mare of the sale.”
Makes her sound like a crackerjack, right? Well, she was one impressive specimen. Standing 16.3 hands, Rare Beauty was typical of her sire, Quiet American. She was quite big all over, very ruggedly made with strong bone and tendons, and well-conformed.
She has a high wither, great length through the body, and a good eye. I suspect that her stature and commanding presence caught Thomas’s eye. His summation was that “Rare Beauty’s inner character and behavioral dynamics (both Group Herd Dynamic and Individual Herd Dynamic) far exceeded her peers.”
In foal to Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones, the mare sold for $20,000 to NW Management, agent.