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This is part 3 of the in-depth analysis of the effect that the age of mares and birth rank have on foals’ success.

Results

Table 4 shows results by birth rank, and Table 5 does the same for age of mares. Listed are the number of foals for each group, the number of stakes winners, the percentage of stakes winners from foals, the average number of Performance Points per stakes winner, and the Performance Points Index (PPI, or overall result, with 1.00 being average, below 1.00 being negative [not good], and above 1.00 being positive [good]). See accompanying sidebar for further discussion of PPI (overall result).

The overall percentage of stakes winners from foals is 3.78%, and the 2,045 stakes winners earned an average of 627 Performance Points. Since 11th-14th foals had the highest average and maverage in Table 2, they should have the best results as well. Did they? Not by a longshot. The quality of their stakes winners was pretty good at 637 (thanks to the likes of Xtra Heat and Roses in May), but their percentage of stakes winners from foals was only 2.93%, giving them an overall result (PPI) of 0.79. Only first foals (0.75), ninth foals (0.73), tenth foals (0.71), and 15th+ foals (0.36) had worse results than 11th-14th foals.

That first foals had poor results is no surprise, given their low prices in Table 2. All the other results are positive except sixth foals (0.89). Third foals (average below, maverage above) are best at 1.29, followed by second foals at 1.19, fifth foals at 1.12, eighth foals at 1.08 (0.93 without Pleasantly Perfect), and fourth and seventh foals at 1.04.

Table 5 shows results by age of mare. Since seven had the highest average and maverage in Table 3, they should have had the best results as well. Did they? They did indeed, at 1.26, followed by nine at 1.19, ten at 1.14, 11 at 1.10, eight at 1.07, six at 1.03, and 13 at 1.02 (0.975 without Honey Ryder). The three oldest groups were the three worst: 20+ at 0.65, 15-19 at 0.78, and 14 at 0.80. Also negative were three-four at 0.82, five at 0.87, and 12 at 0.96.

The averages jumped from $32,906 for three-four to $44,632 for five, and the maverages did the same from 127 to 145. Buyers expected foals out of five-year-old mares to be much better than foals out of mares any younger than that. The former did improve somewhat over the latter, but only 0.87 to 0.82.

I have not elaborated very much on these results, perhaps because I do not wish to be too microscopic. Tables 6 (birth rank) and 7 (age of mare) attempt to show a bigger picture by grouping similar groups together. First foals are cheap and have poor results. That is one group. Second through fifth foals are just a hair below the overall average and maverage but have pretty good results. That is another group. Sixth through tenth foals have higher prices but poor results. That is another group. Foals from birth ranks 11 and up have the highest prices and the worst results. That is the final group.

Tables 6 and 7 show the average, maverage, Price Index (see accompanying sidebar), and PPI (overall result) for each of these four groups.  As stated above, first foals are cheap (Price Index of 0.92) and have poor results (0.75). Second through fifth foals are very close to the norms (Price Index of 1.00) and have good results (1.17). Sixth through tenth foals are more expensive (Price Index of 1.03) and have poor results (0.92). Foals from birth ranks 11 and up have the highest prices (Price Index of 1.06) and the worst results (0.74). Prices go up as birth rank ascends. After first foals, results do the opposite.

Table 7 shows a slightly different result for age of mares. Foals out of mares aged three to five are cheap (Price Index of 0.93) and have poor results (0.85). Foals out of mares aged six to 11 are somewhat expensive (Price Index of 1.02) and have good results (1.09). Foals out of mares aged 12 to 14 are somewhat cheap (Price Index of 0.99) and have poor results (0.93). Foals out of mares 15 or older are somewhat cheap (Price Index of 0.98) and have the worst results (0.76).

It might seem somewhat odd that the highest birth ranks have the highest prices in Table 6, but the oldest ages have prices slightly below average in Table 7. Keep in mind that the two factors do not march in lockstep.  There are 7,881 foals out of mares aged 15 to 19 that have an average of $48,114 and a maverage of 149, but only 3,375 foals out of birth ranks 11th through 14th that have an average of $56,370 and a maverage 162. There is undoubtedly some overlap between these two groups, but the one with the higher prices (11th-14th foals) is much smaller (less than half) than the other.

Put it another way. The seventh foal of a mare aged 20 is not treated the same by the marketplace as the 14th foal of a mare aged 19. Buyers seem to like the latter type of foal and dislike the former type of foal. Buyers seem to like mares that have had a lot of foals, but they seem to dislike mares that have had proportionately few foals for their age. In other words, a mare with lots of foals does not faze them in the least, but age (especially accompanied by a proportionately small number of foals) does.

So which of these two factors is more important? Age seems to yield a more confused picture than birth rank does, which is a point for the latter. The cheapest group in Table 3 (three-four at $32,906 and 127) is cheaper than the cheapest group in Table 2 (first foals at $43,046 and 139). On the other hand, the most expensive group in Table 2 (11th-14th foals at $56,370 and 156) is more expensive than the most expensive group in Table 3 (seven at $54,496 and 157). That is a wash.

As for results, though, the best group in Table 4 (third foals at 1.29) is better than the best group in Table 5 (seven at 1.26). And the worst group in Table 4 (15th+ foals at 0.36) is far worse than the worst group in Table 5 (20+ at 0.65) (and both are the highest groups in their respective tables). That 0.36 PPI is based on only 462 foals, though, while the 0.65 PPI is based on 2,102 foals. The former is at a more extreme end of the spectrum, which probably accounts for its lower PPI.

Compare the cheapest group in Table 2 to the cheapest group in Table 3. First foals had an average of $43,046, a maverage of 139, and a result of 0.75. Foals out of mares aged three or four had an average of $32,906, a maverage of 127, and a result of 0.82. The latter were a lot cheaper than the former but actually had better results (Commentator helps both groups, but he helps the latter more than the former because the latter had only 1,705 foals, while the former had 9,348 foals).

It appears to me that buyers pay more attention to age of mare than to birth rank.

Perhaps they should be doing the opposite (if they wish to consider either factor at all).

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