Bloodlines: Founding Bulls and the Genetic Lottery - Horse Racing News |  Paulick Report

Bloodlines: Founding Bulls and the Genetic Lottery – Horse Racing News | Paulick Report


The Godolphin Arabian at seven years old, by John Wooten.

Most Thoroughbred information sources state that there are three founding fathers of the breed. These are the three lines that were still active when blood writing became prominent in the mid to late 19th century. There are in fact quite a few other stallions who played a role in the early formation of the breed, and many of them are still in pedigrees, very old and of little specific consequence for today’s horses. today.

As has become increasingly clear over the past century, the “three lines” are also a thing of the past. At least in the male line. This place is almost the preserve of the set of Darley Arabian – Eclipse – Bend Or – Phalaris horses which today represent about 90% of the thoroughbred male line.

Although the Godolphin Arabian is still around, the best lines have almost all fallen back into the confines of the pedigree, and Man o’ War’s lineage branch through In Reality – Relaunch – Tiznow seems destined for the history books at unless something quite unexpected happens. to resuscitate the line. Still.

The Byerly Turk line has been dragging on for a century, and it lost its last great chestnut hope when Precisionist, a champion sprinter who stayed 10 furlongs and was hard as a walnut, proved anything but barren at stud.

When it comes to paternal lines, however, the “influence” of these lines is still there. These three and all the others that have disappeared in the male line are still represented among the internal pedigree lines, as long as the performance of these strains continues to justify the people who use them. It’s all about probability and opportunity.

The harsh reality is that most stallions or future stallions do not have the genetic consistency to sire a reasonable proportion of good, high performing racers. It is the probability side that allows horses like Danzig, Mr. Prospector and Phalaris to find advantages when they are not world champions. Instead, they are very good racehorses but they are genetic champions.

Opportunity is the other side of the coin. Without a good number of reasonably good mares, a stallion cannot have consistent, high quality success. It was no obstacle that Phalaris had become a miracle father when he was based at Stanley House; holding in Claiborne did not prove an obstacle in Danzig either. Mr. P started in Florida, where he was widely appreciated for his speed and pedigree, and with immediate success Mr. P went to Kentucky to stand at Claiborne for the rest of his long career at stud.

Due to the chance association of genes and the general tendency towards regression to the mean, most stallion prospects fail; most male lines disappear. It’s not a popularity contest, at least not when runners come to the races.

Support our journalism

If you appreciate our work, you can support us by subscribing to our Patreon feed. Learn more.

Thus, the effect of the disappearance of the male lines is inevitable. The male line is the most competitive position in a pedigree. Only the most successful contemporaries continue in the male line. Breeders’ preference for higher performing stallions means that inferior bulls will not have sons, will die in the male line. The two lower male lines were tenuous more than a century ago. Then Hurry On in Europe and Fair Play in the United States ignited the Godolphin Arabian line again.

With a large representation of these three bloodlines among horses going to stud, as well as those that preceded them, the bloodlines would not be extinguished so easily. They would simply hang in the balance until the next genetically gifted bull comes into service. But in the practical world of horse breeding, the early lines died out quickly because so few stallions were actively important; nobody cared much about it back then, and they shouldn’t have. The majority of these ancient sires, and many more modern ones, still continue along internal bloodlines. However, the probability winnowed the population in the male line.

So a perceived lack of diversity is actually not that.

The three lines that survived did so by chance. They fathered good runners who fathered good runners, whose grandsons fathered a great runner, etc. The odds of chance decree that most will lose, but on the contrary, they decree that some will win. Someone will win the Derby every year, no matter how much they deserve it compared to Ormonde, Hyperion or Sea-Bird.

Paulick report icon

#Bloodlines #Founding #Bulls #Genetic #Lottery #Horse #Racing #News #Paulick #Report

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *