During my recent hiatus from blogging, I was clearing work right and left. Good thing too, but the effect was surprising because one reader sent in some fascinating statistical information with a request to post.
The Pedigree Perfessor (sic), who did the research for this study and prefers to remain anonymous for reasons unrelated to the numbers, undertook a study of Thoroughbreds inbred to broodmares. This mating pattern, known under the popular title of the Rasmussen Factor in honor of former Daily Racing Form columnist Leon Rasmussen, has had a considerable vogue among breeders and pedigree enthusiasts.
To evaluate the results of using inbreeding to broodmares, the Pedigree Perfessor chose to create some different statistical tools to assess pedigrees in terms of price ranges, and that process is described below, along with the details of how he conducted the study.
The Rasmussen Factor 201
“Evidence from these studies indicates that pedigrees should be judged
primarily upon the basis of the first and second generations and that
ancestors beyond the third generation may for all practical purposes
Anyone care to identify the source of this quote? It is a good one to
keep in mind as I begin today’s lecture on the Rasmussen Factor, named
for late DRF columnist Leon Rasumussen. Here is a definition of the
Rasmussen Factor (RF) from Racehorse Breeding Theories, page 239:
“The Rasmussen Factor (RF) occurs when there is a duplication of a female ancestor, between the individual’s sire and dam, within five generations (5×5 or closer).”
I decided it would be fun to identify all individual Thoroughbreds
from a large group who qualify as RF and evaluate their overall performance.
I settled upon all weanlings, yearlings, and 2-year-olds sold at public
auction in North America in 1999-2002 as that large group. These sales
foals are somewhat better in quality than all foals, and their prices give
an indication of how good they were perceived to be (including both pedigree and conformation) before they started racing.
I began with 1999 for the simple reason that the abode of all bliss
at which I slave for a living (which shall remain unnamed) has a
library of sorts, and the most current copy of Blood-Horse Auctions
of XXXX they had was 1999. So I started with 1999 and worked my way
forward, acquiring later copies of that valuable (and now discontinued)
reference work along the way. After four years, 1999-2002, I had
examined more than 54,000 pedigrees and had identified almost 4,000
RF qualifiers. I decided that was a sufficiently large group to evaluate.
Table 1 lists the RF qualifiers I found who were sold in 1999, Table 2
does the same for 2000, Table 3 for 2001, and Table 4 for 2002. The first column lists the name of the qualifier. If unnamed, a pedigree is listed on the line below (sex, sire-dam, broodmare sire). I originally intended to list pedigrees on all qualifiers, but the lists got to be quite lengthy as they are, and nowadays there are more free sources for looking up pedigrees than there were when I started this project several years ago.
So if you are really curious about the pedigrees involved, look them up.
Generally speaking, because I used the listings in Blood-Horse Auctions of XXXXX, which are alphabetical by sire, Tables 1-2-3-4 are the same,
alphabetical by sire.
The next column lists the price, with W for weanlings, Y for yearlings, and T for 2-year-olds (dollar signs omitted). I should point out that I looked up nags sold in North America ONLY. I ignored the nags listed as being sold in European countries because those listings were far from complete.
The next column lists the duplication(s) involved. If more than one,
the additional duplications are on additional lines.
The last column gives the racing class of the nag: UP for unplaced,
UR for unraced, PL for placed, W for winner, SP for stakes placed
(but not a winner), SPW for stakes-placed winner, and SW for stakes
winner. With a few exceptions, stakes winners will be listed separately
in part two of this lecture. The exceptions are those stakes winners
who sold in more than one year. Those stakes winners will be listed
in part two along with all the other stakes winners. They are also
listed in Tables 1-2-3-4 as SW(PH) (stakes winner pinhooked).
Obviously, many of these nags sold more than once. Within this study, a horse could have sold as a weanling, yearling, and 2-year-old. In that case, he is listed in three different tables and counted as three foals. If a
horse sold more than once in the same year, however, I took an average of its selling prices and listed it as only one foal.
I listed the race records of these nags for information only.
For purposes of evaluation, it does not matter if they are unplaced,
unraced, placed, a winner, or stakes placed. The only thing that
matters is whether or not they are a stakes winner (by black-type
rules; [N] winners need not apply). The actual method of evaluation
will be explained and discussed in part two.
OK. I think that explains Tables 1-2-3-4. If you examine them even
cursorily, you will see that most of the names of the females
duplicated are very familiar, led by Almahmoud and Somethingroyal.
Those two names combined account for a little more than 25% of all the RF qualifiers in Tables 1-2-3-4.
Somethingroyal appears to be gaining in popularity over Almahmoud.
The latter showed up more often than the former overall, but the former showed up more often than the latter in 2001-02. Perhaps a better way to state this is that Almahmoud is receding more quickly than Somethingroyal is (which is a function of Northern Dancer receding beyond the third generation).
Some of the names of the females duplicated in Tables 1-2-3-4 are NOT nearly as familiar. I thought it might be fun to go through some of the more obscure names and explain who they were and what claims to “superiority,” if any, they possess.
Who the heck was First Rose, for example? First Rose was a 1946 filly by Menow — Rare Bloom, by Sir Gallahad III. She won two of seven starts and earned $6,750. She produced one stakes winner, the Bolero filly Bolero Rose. If you do not know the stakes winner Bolero Rose produced and where that leads in modern pedigrees, you probably need to go back to Names in Pedigrees 101 (a prerequisite for this course) and take that class over again.
“Was Amber Dancer the dam of Amberoid (1966 Belmont Stakes winner)?” one scribe asked me over lunch not too long ago.
No, Amberoid was by Count Amber — Spencerian, by Destino. Amber Dancer was a 1963 unraced daughter of Native Dancer — Occasionally, by Ambiorix. She produced one stakes winner, Schuylerville S.-G2 winner Our Dancing Girl, and is the second dam of Island Whirl (a G1 winner and earner of $1,144,010).
Yang was an unraced daughter of Turn-to — Mrs. Moss, by Mr. Music.
She produced two stakes winners, including the Drum Fire colt Knights Choice. For extra credit, can anyone tell me (preferably without consulting any computers or reference books) what G1 winner was sired by Knights Choice?
Cory Road is listed in Table 1 as a $2,200 2-year-old. A filly by Naevus Star — Reyadance, by Dance in Time, she is the most closely inbred nag in Tables 1-2-3-4, being 2×2 to Spanish Speed, a daughter of El Pitirre who was unplaced in two starts. Naevus Star was a stakes winner, however. So Spanish Speed does have some claim to “superiority.” Cory Road, the product of this 2×2 mating, won six of 31 starts and earned $31,827, which is not too bad for a $2,200 sales animal.
Challedella was a 1946 filly by Challedon — Lawler, by Chicle. She won one of 16 starts and earned $2,740. She produced Golden Rod Stakes winner Sequent and is the fourth dam of Travers Stakes-G1 winner Thunder Rumble, the sire of the foal in question (Winters Thunder) in Tables 1-2-3.
Klinchit was a 1954 filly by War Dog — Whosis, by Raphael II. She won nine of 92 starts and earned $15,021. Klinchit produced two stakes winners, Mr. Clinch ($253,763) and Bill and I ($111,920). The latter is the third dam of Dehere.
Radio Time was a 1945 filly by Eight Thirty — Lull, by Bull Dog. She won three of 15 starts and earned $11,050. Radio Time produced two stakes winners, including Li’l Fella ($283,845 and a moderate sire). Radio Time is the fourth dam of Devil His Due.
New Love was a 1963 filly by Pardal — Stavroula, by Nasrullah. She won one of seven starts and earned $3,605. New Love produced American Derby-G1 winner Determined King ($218,840) and is the third dam of Louis Quatorze. For extra credit, can anyone tell me (preferably without consulting any computers or reference books) what earner
of more than $1 million was sired by Determined King?
Lester’s Pride was a 1957 filly by Model Cadet — Meadow Flower, by Bull Lea. She won three of 19 starts and earned $9,670. Lester’s Pride produced three stakes winners, including champion sprinter Shecky Greene. Her name might seem obscure now because Shecky Greene is not often seen in modern pedigrees.
Broomflight was a 1947 filly by Deil — Air Post, by Ariel. She won three of 17 starts and earned $3,340. Broomflight produced three stakes winners, including Bunty’s Flight, the broodmare sire of Deputy Minister.
Red Sunset was a 1941 filly by Solario — Dulce, by Asterus. She was a winner in England and produced the stakes winner Sunny Way. Red Sunset was also the dam of Rasper II, not a stakes winner but a pretty good sire who appears in the pedigree of Gulch. A daughter of Red Sunset, Crepuscule, produced four stakes winners, including Crepello, a classic winner, leading sire, and leading broodmare sire in England.
Magnificent was a 1950 filly by Migoli — Isle of Capri, by Fair Trial. She was a winner in England and produced stakes winner Right of Way, who appears in the pedigree of Chilean champion and contemporary sire Memo.
Fair Freedom was a 1945 unraced filly by Fair Trial — Democratie, by Epinard. She produced the stakes winners Marshal Ney II, Liberal Lady, and Be Careful II. Fair Freedom is the third dam of classic winners Julio Mariner, Juliette Marny, and Scintillate. Additionally, she is the second dam of Christmas Wind, who produced Winter’s Tale (a G1 winner and earner of $888,900) and is the second dam of Red Ransom.
Old Bess was a 1948 filly by Vincentive — Movie Lass, by Kai-Finn. She was unplaced in two starts and produced two stakes winners, including the moderate sire O’Calaway. She is the third dam of Montbrook, sire of Super Derby-G1 winner Outofthebox, who is 4×3 to Old Bess.
Fanciful Miss was a 1954 filly by King Dorsett — Hianne, by Jack High. She won 11 of 61 starts, including the Honeymoon Stakes, earned $68,195, and placed in three stakes. She produced stakes winner Decider and mutiple stakes producer Soft as Satin, dam of Rose’s Cantina (a G1 winner and earner of $723,139), among others.
Golden Way was a 1970 filly by Diplomat Way — M’lle Ceil, by Crafty Skipper. She placed twice in nine starts and earned $745. Golden Way produced four stakes winners, including Explosive Bid, a G3 winner and earner of $488,147.
Egyptian was a 1953 filly by Heliopolis — Evening Mist, by Eight Thirty. She won five of 26 starts, earned $18,650, and produced stakes winner Mongolia. Perhaps she is better known as the third dam of Dixieland Band.
Remiss was a 1949 filly by Revoked — Forgetmenow, by Menow. She won two of five starts and earned $4,125. Remiss produced five stakes winners from 11 foals, including moderate sire Neke. I had to scrounge pretty hard to find some modern connection for Remiss. The best I could come up with is that she is the fourth dam of Inevitable Leader, a G3 winner and earner of $843,484.
Dr. Mary Lou was a 1974 filly by Dr Fager — Farm, by Idle Hour. She won four of 31 starts, earned $61,480, produced stakes winner Eskimo, and is the second dam of stakes winner and sire Toolighttoquit.
Captivator was a 1960 filly by Princequillo — All My Eye, by My Babu. She won one of 19 starts and earned $5,120. Captivator produced stakes winners Variety Queen, Variety Sis, and Treasure Trail. Variety Queen is the dam of G1 stakes winner Variety Road ($964,540) and G3 stakes winner Variety Baby ($449,570).
Strings Attached was an unraced 1968 filly by Tudor Minstrel — Timalin, by Court Martial. She produced stakes winners Raise Your Skirts and Cold Buns.
All of the mares discussed above produced at least one stakes winner and had at least some claim to “superiority.” The following mares were not stakes winners and did not produce any stakes winners.
Most recognizable of these is Mixed Marriage, who is considered a “star” mare (the female equivalent of a chef-de-race), for whatever that is worth. Mixed Marriage was a 1952 filly by Tudor Minstrel — Persian Maid, by Tehran. A winner in Ireland, she produced stakes-placed Croatan as well as Atan, a winner in 1 start and the sire of Sharpen Up. Mixed Marriage is also the ancestress of Gone West, Known Fact, Tentam, etc., and as such is well represented in modern pedigrees.
Bebop II was a 1957 filly by Prince Bio — Cappellina, by Le Capucin. She was a stakes-placed winner in England and produced three stakes-placed runners, including Stepping High, the dam of leading sire Buckaroo. She is also the ancestress of Stop the Music, Hatchet Man, et al.
Good Example was a 1994 filly by Pilate — Parade Girl, by Display. She won two of 15 starts, was stakes placed, and earned $11,600. Good Example produced two stakes-placed nags but is better known as the dam of Exclusive and Grass Shack, both major stakes producers and
continuing influences on the breed through the likes of Deputy Minister, Exclusive Native, and many others.
Princesse Comnene was a 1961 filly by Beau Prince II — Commemoration II, by Vandale. Unplaced in three starts in France, she is best known as the second dam of Pharly (among the leading sires in France and broodmare sire of Jade Hunter) and Melyno (broodmare sire of champion Jewel Princess).
Boola Brook was a 1937 filly by Bull Dog — Brookdale, by Peter Pan. She won two of 11 starts and earned $1,880. Boola Brook produced two stakes-placed nags and Spring Run, an unraced filly by Menow who is the dam of Red God (the sire of Blushing Groom). Boola Brook is also the
second dam of Crafty Admiral, the broodmare sire of Affirmed.
Scarlet Ribbon was a 1957 filly by Volcanic — Native Valor, by Mahmoud. She won five of 26 starts and earned $13,970. Scarlet Ribbon produced eight winners from eight foals. More importantly, she is renowned as the second dam of Affirmed.
Subterranean was a 1947 unraced filly by By Jimminy — U-Boat, by Man o’ War. She produced one stakes-placed horse but is better remembered as the third dam of Seattle Song and the fifth dam of Unbridled’s Song.
Quit Me Not was a 1973 filly by Bold Reason — Aspidistra, by Better Self, and hence a half-sister to Dr. Fager and Ta Wee. She was unplaced in two starts. Her main claim to fame in her own right is as the second dam of Judge T C.
Bleebok was a 1941 filly by Blue Larkspur — Forteresse, by Sardanapale, and hence a half-sister to 1933 Kentucky Derby winner Brokers Tip. She won one of three starts and earned $700. Bleebok produced two stakes-placed nags, including Delta Queen (the dam of Advocator). She is far more renowned as the dam of 1962 CCA Oaks winner Bramalea
(the dam of Roberto).
Never Hula was a 1969 filly by Never Bend — Hula Hula, by Polynesian (her third dam was La Troienne). She won seven of 35 starts, placed in three stakes, and earned $88,564. She produced She Might Hula (G3 placed in New Zealand) and is the second dam of Pleasant Tap and Go for Gin.
Close Control was a 1968 filly by Dunce — Self Control, by Better Self. She won one of three starts and earned $6,625. Close Control produced G1-placed Fair Advantage and Sophisticated Girl, the latter the dam of Doneraile Court and second dam of Souvenir Copy. Close Control is also the second dam of Excellent Meeting.
Forest Song was a 1958 filly by Mr. Music — Sylvanaise, by Meridien. She won three of ten starts and earned $11,895. Forest Song is the second dam of numerous stakes winners, most notably Slewpy.
Tammy’s Turn was a 1965 filly by Turn-to — Tammy Twist, by Tim Tam. She won one of 25 starts and earned $5,892. Tammy’s Turn produced G3-placed K D Princess (dam of Conquistador Cielo).
Hard and Fast was a 1968 filly by Etonian — We Try Harder, by Blue Prince. She won six of 36 starts, earned $67,202, and finished second in the Falls City Handicap and Post-Deb Stakes. Hard and Fast produced G3-placed Hard Up and G1-placed Hardship (the dam of Wild Rush).
Snow Bower was a 1969 filly by Nearctic — Sulenan, by Tompion. She won one of 26 starts and earned $9,054. Snow Bower is the second dam of English champion Digression and a few other stakes winners. Sulenan
is the fourth dam of Tiznow.
Louisa’s Pleasure was a 1978 filly by Quadrangle — Twice the Pleasure, by What a Pleasure. She won one of 24 starts and earned $11,140. Her main claim to “superiority” is as the second dam of stakes winners B. A. Valentine (G3, $640,327) and Bert’s Bubbleator ($465,577).
Suffisante was a 1966 filly by Snob — Suffragette, by Free Man. She was placed in her native France. Suffisante produced stakes-placed Sinope and Ste Nitouche. The former is her main claim to “superiority,” being the second dam of Sandpit.
The 17 mares discussed above are the only ones in Tables 1-2-3-4 who were not a stakes winner and did not produce any stakes winners. Nevertheless, they all had some claim to “superiority,” as did all of the obscure mares discussed above. Most of these mares have some link to modern pedigrees as well. Otherwise, they would not even appear in modern pedigrees and have a chance to be duplicated there, correct?
“Inbreeding to Superior Females Through Different Individuals”
was the title of the address Rasmussen gave at an important breeding symposium in Sydney, Australia, in 1993. He also coauthored the book Inbreeding to Superior Females, which was published in 1999. Note that the word “superior” has been dropped from the definition of RF published in Racehorse Breeding Theories in 2004.
It really does not matter one way or the other. The 17 mares discussed above account for about 50 foals (and one stakes winner) in Tables 1-2-3-4. If they were to be declared not “superior” and dropped from the results, it would make very little difference.
When I first started looking at pedigrees for this pattern, eventually to be named RF, 20-plus years ago, I was looking at all foals, not just sales foals. Hence I found quite a few nags inbred 2×2 or so to the likes of Reno Gal, by Reno Boy, to use fictional names — inbred to mares of no claim to superiority whatsoever, in other words.
Why would anyone do that, inbreed to mares of absolutely no distinction? Probably because Rasmussen and others had been preaching for years that inbreeding to mares is good, regardless of superiority or the lack thereof. Among these sales foals, the pedigrees are somewhat better, and I did not find any examples of inbreeding to a mare of no distinction whatsoever. Even Spanish Speed (mentioned above) was a stakes producer. Ergo, “superiority” is a moot point. If a female ancestor is duplicated through different individuals, it qualifies as RF, just like the definition quoted says. Obviously some of these duplicated mares are better than others, but I am more interested in the overall results for all qualifiers than results for individual mares.
In part two of this lecture I will list the stakes winners among the RF qualifiers, evaluate the group as a whole, and explain my methods of evaluation. I will also delve into results for duplicating second, third, fourth, and fifth dams, a subset of the RF group.
Part 2 coming soon.