Sad state of breeding

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Gemini
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Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:29 pm

Retrospectiv wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:42 pm
swale1984 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:16 pm
I've been lurking for a while after taking a (several year) hiatus from posting, but this is a subject near and dear to my heart. I totally concur with the original assessment. I feel like we are seeing the effect of bad breeding practices. The American thoroughbred industry needs to enact some standards for breeding stock. It used to be "breed the best to the best and hope for the best". Now, it seems like it's "breed a precocious but probably unsound stallion to whoever can pay the stud fee".
Realistically, this is not a new issue.

Raise A Native in the early 1960's..... 4 starts, 4 wins. Didn't race past 2.....
True... but horses like Raise A Native and Danzig used to be the exception instead of the rule, and they still had to prove themselves with the quality of their offspring before they became popular influential sires. Nowadays it seems people START OFF by assuming that the less a stallion has raced, the more "brilliant" his offspring will be. Just look at Army Mule vs. Hoppertunity going to stud this year.
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Gemini
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Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:32 pm

Flanders wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:50 pm
Gemini wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:57 pm
I know the Jockey Club remains firmly against AI, but I'm beginning to think AI might be the only way to save some of these rare bloodlines.
AI would make the situation worse. The vast majority of owners aren't going to send a mare to a stallion simply because he has outcross or rare lines. He needs to prove himself as a stallion.

If the Jockey Club allowed AI the stud fees would drop. Thus resulting in more foals by stallions that already get 200+ mares a year. Let's use Into Mischief in this scenario. In 2018 he covered 235 mares, with AI you take those 235 covers and multiple by 6-8 and that is the number of mares he could AI. The Jockey Club can not put restrictions on the number of foals by a stallion either, its restricting free trade. Allowing AI then starts to open the can of worms in terms of embryo transfer and multiple foals out of a mare in year, etc, etc, etc.
I hadn't thought of that part. I suppose I'm just hoping that it'll be possible to at least preserve a stallion's semen so if a sireline did become extinct there'd be a way to revitalize it. As other posters have said, once a particular line is gone there's no turning back.
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Flanders
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Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:40 am

Gemini wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:29 pm
True... but horses like Raise A Native and Danzig used to be the exception instead of the rule, and they still had to prove themselves with the quality of their offspring before they became popular influential sires. Nowadays it seems people START OFF by assuming that the less a stallion has raced, the more "brilliant" his offspring will be. Just look at Army Mule vs. Hoppertunity going to stud this year.
Their starts have nothing to do with where they ended up or what their stud fees are. A horse deemed brilliant fast, a top 2yo/3yo, sprinter, or miler is always going to get a better stud deal than a horse who raced for years and got better with age and distance. Army Mule was viewed as brilliantly fast with an unknown factor because he was injured. Hoppertunity was viewed as a plodder, who grinded out his races.

The big breeders would rather take a risk on a stallion that was brilliantly fast because those horses have shown they have a better chance at being top sires and getting the types of foals that will be sales yearlings, fast 2yos.
That isn't saying there aren't exceptions because of course there are going to be some. IMO Hoppertunity will get a better chance to prove himself standing in a regional market. If his foals take a little while to get going a regional market is more likely to be forgiving than a stud farm in Kentucky would be. I hope he does well, I always liked him.
I mean some other recent examples are City of Light getting a higher stud fee than Accelerate. Caravaggio and US Navy Flag both started with higher stud fees than Highland Reel.
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Ridan_Remembered
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Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:41 pm

Once four mile races with two mile heats were common. Then 1 1/2 to 2 mile races were common. Once true handicapping was common and the best horses carried a lot of weight. Over time 1 1/2 mile races have become more rare, while sprints dominate racing calendars. True handicaps have almost become extinct, as have weights in the 127 to 130 range or above. Once leading owners were also leading breeders, and they enjoyed racing their homebreds. Once owners stood their own stallions and bred them to maybe 50 mares a year. Once trainers were employed by one stable. Now they are independent operators with multiple clients. Now commercial breeding and the sales market drive pretty much everything in the industry, at least at the top to mid level. What matters now is not soundness, durability and the ability to carry weight, but how fast can a stallion, mare or sales horse give me a nice return on investment.

All of that taken together explains the sad state of breeding in our time.
flaracer
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Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:45 pm

WildAgainFan74 wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:32 am
Izvestia wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:44 pm
Northport wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:44 am
In what world do Ghostzappers not run long and mature slow....? I kind of get your argument but he's a pretty terrible example. He's kind of the definition of being unpopular at the sales and having late bloomers. His top progeny are Shaman Ghost (broke his maiden March of his 3 y/o year, won Graded Stakes until he was 5), Moreno (broke maiden June of his 3 y/o year, won Graded Stakes until he was 5), Judy the Beauty (broke maiden in July of 2 y/o year, raced until she was 6, won Graded stakes until she was 5), Holy Helena (broke maiden April of 3 y/o year, is currently winning Graded Stakes as a 5 year old), Paulassilverlining (broke maiden in August of 3 y/o year, won Graded Stakes as a 5 year old), Better Lucky (broke maiden in December of 3/o year, won Graded Stakes as a 4 year old, GSP as a 5 year old).

But, go off I guess.
Ghostzapper is a terrible example. Agreed.
I stand by my Ghostzapper statement. I was talking about when he first entered stud. I'm not sure your ages or if you remember but there was a lot of debate at the time. Is a stallion that can only make 4 starts or less in an ENTIRE year a stallion that should go to stud? Should short lived brilliance be enough? That was the question. It was a question of soundness. The fact he became as popular as he did based on his horrific soundness and feet shows the problem. Yes, you might get winners but at what cost to the breed?
They said the very same thing about Danzig. What has he cost the breed? Ghostzapper has become as popular as he has because he has proven he is a terrific sire. If he hadnt have, he would have been shipped off a long time ago. In fact it took him a while to get rolling because his foals seemed to be late starters. And he's from one of those rare sire lines you speak of, as I cant think of many other Deputy Minister sire lines doing as well as Ghostzapper.
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Treve
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Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:56 am

Gemini wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:32 pm
Flanders wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:50 pm
Gemini wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:57 pm
I know the Jockey Club remains firmly against AI, but I'm beginning to think AI might be the only way to save some of these rare bloodlines.
AI would make the situation worse. The vast majority of owners aren't going to send a mare to a stallion simply because he has outcross or rare lines. He needs to prove himself as a stallion.

If the Jockey Club allowed AI the stud fees would drop. Thus resulting in more foals by stallions that already get 200+ mares a year. Let's use Into Mischief in this scenario. In 2018 he covered 235 mares, with AI you take those 235 covers and multiple by 6-8 and that is the number of mares he could AI. The Jockey Club can not put restrictions on the number of foals by a stallion either, its restricting free trade. Allowing AI then starts to open the can of worms in terms of embryo transfer and multiple foals out of a mare in year, etc, etc, etc.
I hadn't thought of that part. I suppose I'm just hoping that it'll be possible to at least preserve a stallion's semen so if a sireline did become extinct there'd be a way to revitalize it. As other posters have said, once a particular line is gone there's no turning back.
I suppose there'd be no harm in collecting certain stallions and storing them for later. I too am with Flanders though, I think if AI were introduced it would have to be tightly controlled and regulated, because the results could be disastrous. (For example a rule could state the stallion has to be deceased for his semen to be approved for use via AI. Or you'd have to prove the stallion is not easily accessible to the mare.) And as she said it opens the door to embryo transfer... and down the line eventually cloning. I keep in mind that judge's ruling that favoured the plaintif against the AQHA and forced the registry to accept clones. For AI to be beneficial to the breed it'd have to be thoughtfully planned out and the exception rather than the norm.
A filly named Ruffian...

Eine Stute namens Danedream...

Une pouliche se nommant Trêve...

Kincsem nevű kanca...


And a Queen named Beholder
Somnambulist
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Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:08 am

WildAgainFan74 wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:26 pm
The downside is that they want a return on their investment and they want it fast. it is all about money. It is not about the love of the horse and the love of the sport. It's not about personal pride of breeding a top winner and passion and dedication. It's about breeding a sales topper. It's about how quickly can they get a return on their investment. Until we make the shift back to breeding to race, the breed will continue to suffer.
I am not sure it was ever about the love the horse and more exceptionally wealthy people who had nothing else to do with their money, or at least had the money to invest in something that might interest them. When you think of American racing and all those big names a lot of them got their money before much of the financial industry was overhauled with laws aimed to protect us peons; it literally didn't matter if they pissed money away over time because they had it in spades. It was an entirely different legal and cultural landscape.

I think it is very easy to look at the past through rose-colored glasses. Both Marshall Field III and August Belmont have their former Long Island homes turned into State Parks. The former never fails to amaze me; it is massive and you feel poor walking around it. You're happy for the people who used their money to further along something you care about but there is no doubt to me that ego played a role as well.

The world changes and thoroughbred racing is really just a simulacrum of capitalism; adapt or die. I don't really think "bad breeding" is a thing.. I guess poor and sickly people shouldn't have kids either. Conditioning is everything.
"Life's no piece of cake, mind you, but the recipe's my own to fool with."
WildAgainFan74
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Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:09 pm

Somnambulist. I had to laugh at your comments. Yes, bad breeding is a thing. How many racehorses have you bred and raced?

Someone mentioned Danzing. He had to prove himself the hard way. He was not handed s book of 100 mates. Big difference.
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Flanders
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Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:54 pm

WildAgainFan74 wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:09 pm
Somnambulist. I had to laugh at your comments. Yes, bad breeding is a thing. How many racehorses have you bred and raced?

Someone mentioned Danzing. He had to prove himself the hard way. He was not handed s book of 100 mates. Big difference.
Yes he had to prove himself but he started at a $20,000 stud fee which is really high for a horse that never won anything beside Maiden and Allowance races. That would be equivalent to a horse going to stud for $55,000 today. Do you not think that is high? Of course he didn't breed 100+ mares, most stallions were not breed like that during his career, my guess would be in the 65-75 range.
Tessablue
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Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:15 pm

I agree that the present is completely terrible and only the past is good. The further back the better. Therefore, I propose that we return to the early 1900's, when 2yo racing dominated and you could breed to legendary stallions like The Tetrarch. It truly is terrible how you can never find AP Indy, Rahy, or Dynaformer in today's pedigrees, and it's such a shame how injuries are always 100% due to genetics and are thus 100% inherited because that's how simple biology is. And how can we even compare modern sires like Ghostzapper and Curlin and Candy Ride, who all excelled at age 4, to horses like Northern Dancer, who didn't even race at 4? And the extremely recent emphasis on sales is crazy. Like, can you imagine someone paying $10 million in the 80's for a son of Northern Dancer? Madness!

I'm so tired.
Somnambulist
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Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:47 pm

WildAgainFan74 wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:09 pm
Somnambulist. I had to laugh at your comments. Yes, bad breeding is a thing. How many racehorses have you bred and raced?

Someone mentioned Danzing. He had to prove himself the hard way. He was not handed s book of 100 mates. Big difference.
0. I figured you'd gather that I'm poor from the post.. How many have you bred? There are people in this thread who aren't 100% fully agreeing with who that have bred dozens. I don't believe that Treve, Flanders or Northport breed but their knowledge of the breeding aspect far surpasses some people I know personally not on this forum who have bred their own horses.

The past is never as rosy as it looks and the present is rarely ever as dire as it looks. If you'd like to argue that the breeding/sales aspect of the game is NOT capitalism at it's finest I'm all ears. Remember how racing wasn't going to last until 2020 because Storm Cat and Mr. Prospector were everywhere? I've seen a lot of falling sky's but rarely are they ever caused by one thing.

The way I see it is that breeding to sell is more profitable than racing and possibly with less risk; there are trends for what sells well and you never know how a horse will perform on the track. If they even make it there. The industry should probably be tasked with making racing more appealing and maybe spreading the risk around a bit. But alas, all the money goes to purses in the first half of a horse's 3yo year.

Kitten's Joy was handed a big book by a wealthy owner who believed in him. He still had to prove himself the hard way.
"Life's no piece of cake, mind you, but the recipe's my own to fool with."
WildAgainFan74
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Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:05 pm

That’s what I thought. I’m not trying to be condescending but to try to get you to appreciate the perspective from a breeder who has been involved in racing as an owner or breeder level for decades. The urgency we feel and the passion we feel regarding bloodlines is well justified. It’s one thing to be a racing fan from the outside. It’s another to invest your blood, sweat and tears in dedicating your life to this breed. It’s another thing to pool every cent you have to move and buy a farm and work your ass off because you love the breed and the sport. To marginalize the effect bloodlines play in the sport is wrong. When you follow generations of breeding, you see that bloodlines matter.

From being sound in wind and sound in limb, to having great feet, to having a big heart, strong metabolic and the temperament to withstand training.

It’s too bad the public isn’t made aware of the genetic problems with breeding animals. They never publish the stallions and mares that need tie back surgeries before they become stakes winners because they don’t have too. Or, the animals that bleed. Or the ones that have horrific feet. Or have horrible metabolics that cause them to colic constantly and not adapt to a racetrack lifestyle. All hidden. None of that is advertised in flashy stallion guides. And...most never makes it out to the public unless it happens in the middle of a triple crown trail or the like.

Breeding and bloodlines matter. I appreciate your passion for the sport as I’m a fan first as well. But, bloodlines matter.
Somnambulist
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Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:17 pm

You did mean to be condescending but that's ok. It's the internet and it's hard to take it personally.

You have no concrete examples of how the breed has been cheapened. What stallions exactly should not have contributed to the gene pool? I feel like I read this a lot and have listened to a lot of convo about it but I never hear anything other than Unbridled.
"Life's no piece of cake, mind you, but the recipe's my own to fool with."
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Sparrow Castle
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Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:39 pm

Tessablue wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:15 pm
I agree that the present is completely terrible and only the past is good. The further back the better. Therefore, I propose that we return to the early 1900's, when 2yo racing dominated and you could breed to legendary stallions like The Tetrarch. It truly is terrible how you can never find AP Indy, Rahy, or Dynaformer in today's pedigrees, and it's such a shame how injuries are always 100% due to genetics and are thus 100% inherited because that's how simple biology is. And how can we even compare modern sires like Ghostzapper and Curlin and Candy Ride, who all excelled at age 4, to horses like Northern Dancer, who didn't even race at 4? And the extremely recent emphasis on sales is crazy. Like, can you imagine someone paying $10 million in the 80's for a son of Northern Dancer? Madness!

I'm so tired.
LOL. I'm so tired too I'm not going to weigh in on this thread...but I love your post.
prides2259
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Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:53 pm

Ok In Reading thru the Post s And Im Not a Breeder I did Work as a Broody Manager Years Ago And
Have Been a Student of TB Pedigree Since 1969
But IMHO I Feel Like TB s Should Take Lesson s From the Warmblood Folks and not Permit Breeding
From Horse s Who are Not Sound Raced on Medication s /Did not Make X amount of Starts
You Get The idea Just Because You Have the Various Parts to Breed Does Not Mean You Should
Those of Us With More Experience and Understand Bloodline s Know Dam Right Which Line s are a Potential Problem with soundness or possibly Suffering a Catastrophic BD A Lot of The Issues Facing the Industry Today Could be Solved By More Careful Choices of Sire and Dam s


Just My 2 Cent s
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Falinadin
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Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:13 pm

Genuine question here. Are horses today actually breaking down more than in the past?

I ask because there is this assumption that the "good ol' days" are gone and now horses are precocious but weak. The only thing that could MAYBE indicate this are the reduced start numbers in today's horses, but that can be caused by a multitude of factors other than injury.
I did a little research but I couldn't find injury rates prior to 1980. This study done in Japan shows reduced bone fracture rates since 1980 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5048355/. The Jockey Club's injury database shows a general decline over the past decade http://www.jockeyclub.com/default.asp?s ... cy&area=10.

Everything I can personally find seems to indicate that we actually have FEWER catastrophic breakdowns than in the past. I'm just not convinced that modern breeding is a problem. I think that the reason horses are making fewer starts is due to other issues.

I'll edit to add that Tessablue is correct. We should absolutely go back to the days when horses made 50 starts a year on cocaine. They were so well-bred and tough back then.
BaroqueAgain1
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Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:32 am

Are horses today actually breaking down more than in the past?

Falinadin, I'm glad you asked that question. Fifty or more years ago, I suspect if an ordinary horse broke down, no one would hear about it. It would be sent off with the "knacker" for dog food.
Today we have more medication rules and testing, more vet exams before races, better animal welfare laws and, of course, camera phones everywhere. Hard to keep a horse's breakdown a secret anymore. IMHO, race horses are much better off than they were in Man 'o War's or even Citation's time.
I'm going to be following the bisphosphonate story very carefully. If it turns out that these drugs have been used on young horses for years, it may turn out that it's not the bad breeding: It's the bad drug, stupid. :shock:
Last edited by BaroqueAgain1 on Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
prides2259
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Sat Mar 23, 2019 11:13 am

Remember Also A lot of Horse s Who Break Down are " Vanned Off "
They just Put The Horse Down at the Barn as Opposed to On Track in Front of the Fan s
No One Wants To see a Horse BD Esp a Catastrophic Situation When they Fall in a Heap

Its always Sad no Matter Who it is
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Gemini
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Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:38 am

Somnambulist wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:08 am
WildAgainFan74 wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:26 pm
The downside is that they want a return on their investment and they want it fast. it is all about money. It is not about the love of the horse and the love of the sport. It's not about personal pride of breeding a top winner and passion and dedication. It's about breeding a sales topper. It's about how quickly can they get a return on their investment. Until we make the shift back to breeding to race, the breed will continue to suffer.
I am not sure it was ever about the love the horse and more exceptionally wealthy people who had nothing else to do with their money, or at least had the money to invest in something that might interest them. When you think of American racing and all those big names a lot of them got their money before much of the financial industry was overhauled with laws aimed to protect us peons; it literally didn't matter if they pissed money away over time because they had it in spades. It was an entirely different legal and cultural landscape.

I think it is very easy to look at the past through rose-colored glasses. Both Marshall Field III and August Belmont have their former Long Island homes turned into State Parks. The former never fails to amaze me; it is massive and you feel poor walking around it. You're happy for the people who used their money to further along something you care about but there is no doubt to me that ego played a role as well.

The world changes and thoroughbred racing is really just a simulacrum of capitalism; adapt or die. I don't really think "bad breeding" is a thing.. I guess poor and sickly people shouldn't have kids either. Conditioning is everything.
"Bad breeding" is definitely a thing. Maybe not so much in the Thoroughbred world but take a look at bulldogs. This breed went from being quite useful for sporting/hunting/etc. and now females can't whelp without human intervention, plus UGA has to replace its famous mascot every 2 to 4 years due to premature deaths.

Or take a look at certain strains of Arab showhorses. They got bred for the extreme "dish face" and now you'll see some grotesque examples who are hardly fit to carry a rider.

After that you have Quarter Horses, who have to be tested for HYPP and some of the yearling halter class individuals are so muscle-bound that you wouldn't recognize them as such.

Yes, the examples I mentioned are pretty extreme, but they're all results of human decision for the sake of whatever fad or expedient return on investment that got dreamed up. No domestic animal breed is exempt from the possibility.
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Starine
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Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:18 pm

Flanders wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:14 pm
If the stallion line survives somewhere in the world there is always the possibility it could make a comeback in the US. I mean look at the Halo line. His line is surviving in the US, because Southern Halo was reverse shuttled to the US for a few seasons and sired More Than Ready while he stood here. Plus I would imagine WinStar plans to stand Yoshida so the Sunday Silence line should get another chance in the US.
WinStar president and CEO Elliott Walden on Yoshida:
Looking ahead, Walden noted that being bred in Japan could draw added interest for Yoshida. Walden said WinStar was searching for Sunday Silence bloodlines when it landed Yoshida at the 2015 Japan Racing Horse Association Sale of Yearlings and Weanlings for about $765,000.

"I think he'll be received well," Walden said. "I think that he brings something back to the breed, and with all that's going on in America right now with Lasix and all that, bringing back some international bloodlines—after they've been going away for 30 years—I think makes some sense."
https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing ... nstar-farm
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