With the massive Keeneland September yearling sale ready to be consumed by eager, if not picky, buyers (and anxious breeders), we note that as of Labor Day the 2-year-old racing season was approximately four months old, with another four months to go. In order to give some insight into what buyers might expect from how the freshmen sires of 2016 are doing, we’ve come up with some statistical compilations to project where they might be long-term.
We based this study on the leading first-crop sires standings by progeny earnings published on BloodHorse.com on the day after Labor Day...but we messed around with the internal statistics as well and threw in a wild card. Then we averaged each stallion out in four categories and came up with the strongest candidates based on racing results to date and biomechanical projections for the future. (This compilation has no relationship to the previous columns published that concentrated on the sire lines in play for freshmen sires at the 2-year-old sales.)
This effort introduces a statistical projection that involves two biomechanical programs. The first projects the percentage of probabilities that physical matches between individual stallions and a hypothetical book of biomechanically balanced mares that should produce efficient racehorses. The higher the score, the more likely the stallion will achieve some long-term success in the marketplace.
The other program compares a stallion’s biomechanical profile at a certain growth curve point to the corresponding profiles of more than 1,000 other stallions that have established an Average-Earnings Index (AEI) with at least 100 foals of racing age. This gives us an idea of whether the stallion’s inheritable qualities are likely to produce horses with some consistent racing class.
We then use a system that was developed to rank quarterbacks for the National Football League in the 1960s by Elias Sports Bureau. As were the quarterbacks, the stallions are ranked in a number of categories and then those rankings are added up and divided by the number of categories. The result is that the lowest average is the best quarterback. (It worked for Johnny Unitas.)
The programs and the ranking system have been part of our approach for a decade. Four of the five leading second-crop sires—Uncle Mo, Paddy O’Prado, Trappe Shot, and Gio Ponti—ranked among our top five picks when they retired to stud in 2012. As for the third-crop sires, seven of the top 10 sires were among our top 10 picks. Kantharos (fifth on the third-crop sire list) not only ranked first on our regional sire list but second on the overall list. It was announced Sept. 8 he is moving to Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms for 2017.
Here are the rankings of the top 16 freshmen sires—through Sept. 5—based on total earnings, percent of winners to starters, and percent of starters to foals (there are 16 because we have included Hansen even though he was exported because he ranked on top in our statistical analysis):
|Maclean’s Music||Mission Impazible|
|Union Rags||To Honor and Serve|
If we then add a fourth category, which is how these stallions were ranked on biomechanical projections, the list looks a bit different:
|Maclean’s Music||Stay Thirsty|
|Creative Cause||Dialed In|
|Dominus||To Honor and Serve|
|Union Rags||The Factor|
We think that the second list is the one likely to shake out as closest to reality, both at the end of 2016 and the end of 2017 and 2018.
Creative Cause's ranking improves when biomechanical projections are considered.
Photo: Courtesy Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos