Part of the reason for my discourse on Dark Star and Native Dancer has been that my thinking has turned to the direction that the tides of breeding are taking. As John Sparkman remarked and I elaborated on somewhat, Dark Star represented the classic nobility of the past, and Native Dancer represented the powerful classic weightlifter that has come to dominate much of racing.
In the words of bloodstock writer and commentator Bob Fierro, Native Dancer is the “type of the biomechanical shift toward power: horses with greater height, greater mass, longer hind cannons,” and so forth. The increasing shift toward power has grown in volume since the 1950s and has dominated racing and breeding from the 1980s to the present.
My thinking has been that something significant is changing within the breed, however. Part of my inclination to believe this is so lies in the ongoing collapse of some of the dominant power lines, but it also includes the type of young stallions who are beginning to succeed.
Nature abhors a vacuum, and when one develops, something will come along to fill the space.
In terms of breeding, consider, for instance, the success of the dandy young stallion Birdstone, who is an example of a “power horse line” (Native Dancer, Raise a Native, Mr. Prospector, Fappiano, Unbridled, Grindstone) who has shape-shifted into a racer and sire whose primary assets are excellent stride characteristics.
And the primary line poised to take advantage of the changing needs of the breed is Nasrullah – Bold Ruler, especially through AP Indy, Pulpit, and his sons.